Return of the Annual Review! Let’s Do This! (I mean, if you want.)
Over the past eight nine ten! years, nothing has helped me to accomplish big goals and stay on track more than a single exercise I complete each December: the Annual Review.
Last year I got a little off track and didn’t finish for the first time in a decade. It wasn’t pretty. Good news: just like Britney, I’m back.
For much of the next week I’ll be working only half-time while I consider some of my successes, failures, and lessons learned from 2018.
But Wait, You Can Do This Too!
My favorite part about the review is that it brings a degree of order to my multi-faceted life and career, which consists of many different projects and roles. My second favorite part is seeing what everyone else comes up with.
Over the years, many of our readers have conducted their own Annual Reviews, frequently sharing their lessons with others on blogs, social media, or just with friends and families. A whole cottage industry of other review outlines, resources, and manifestos has sprung up, which is great to see.
Here’s my approach:
2. Download this free tool (more about this in a moment)
3. Before doing anything else, make two lists consisting of a) what went well and b) what didn’t go well this year
4. You can skip ahead to the goal-setting part of the review if you want—but it’s also good to space it out a little. That’s why I do mine over the course of about four or five days, working on it a couple hours each day
Revised Spreadsheet Template (Download for Free)
For the whole eight nine ten! years I’ve used the same simple spreadsheet to set goals in various life categories. It’s a very basic tool. It won’t win any design awards, but it will help you to think more clearly about your life, which is probably more important.
We’ve recently tweaked the formatting and added a few more data points, so be sure you have the current version:
—>Download the Updated Annual Review Template
You might wonder whether a spreadsheet is sufficient to truly devise what matters to you and plan your life accordingly. This is a valid concern—we first need to ensure that our goals match up with our values and overall vision.
No amount of goal-setting will help if you’re pursuing the wrong goals. However, I do believe (strongly!) that being specific about our intentions and tying them to measurable milestones is good for us.
If you haven’t done it before, give it a try. And if the template structure doesn’t work for you, don’t hesitate to modify it however it serves you best.