Value of Looking Back

look back imgs_wordpress

Recently, I was asked to participate in an interview about year-end reviews. One of the questions asked was why is a year end-review so important. Although, I am a huge proponent of conducting yearly reviews, I often skip over the explanation of why a review is important and assume others already know. I do recall my skepticism of reviews long ago though, so I am sharing my thoughts on why you should take the time to complete a review of your past year and how you can get started.

The close of a year seems to be a natural reset for many of us. Our year ends with a celebration of the past and a mindset to welcome in a fresh start. We tend to move so quickly through daily life sometimes we don’t slow down to realize what is actually happening in the present moment. A review allows us to capture what we may have forgotten, whether intentional or not.

I believe much of our growth is formed from a combination of our actual experiences and the acceptance of those experiences. When we pause to acknowledge what occurred in the past (good or bad) we are really letting go and making room for new experiences, connections and opportunities in the future.

Year-end reviews are as much about planning for the future as they are reflecting on the past. When we know what we want to do, we feel in control of our life and ultimately we can make better choices because of it. There is less of a chance you will feel indecisive or stuck if you already know the direction you want to go in.

Although, I find Visual Reviews to be most effective – because of the accountability, guidance and of course the visual maps – the important thing is that you give yourself the space to review and learn so you can plan for future growth.

Here are some tips if you want to conduct your own year-end review:

  1. Collect reference materials. If you haven’t given your year much thought yet, you probably have forgotten what you actually did. Start by reviewing your calendars (electronic or paper) which hopefully has meetings, appointments, and events captured. If you use social media, many create a mini review of the year for you around this time – reference these to help trigger your memory.
  1. Document Chronologically. Once you have the reference materials handy, start documenting what happened. The easiest way is to move through the calendar from January to December. Write down appointments, events and milestones for each month.
  1. Find a lesson. Documenting your year is only the first step in the process. Once you know what happened, think about the successes and challenges faced during each month. Note how you feel and what you learned from each.
  1. Create a Plan. The lessons your learned hopefully helped to identify some things you want to do again and others you want to steer clear of. Start creating a plan for your new year with actions you can take to keep doing what worked and to stop what didn’t work for you.

Wishing you a Happy New Year full of Clarity, Control and Direction!

Interested in participating in a visual review of your past year? I offer individual sessions, business review workshops and a new interactive online program to review 2015.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Interested in receiving special promotions and tips. Sign up for the Passionate Do-Gooder e-newsletter.

2015: Ready. Set. Action!

Happy New Year!
Yes – I know it is February already. Technically, it is a new year the whole year, right!? Although I may be slow to start on-line, I have been super busy off-line.

Essential to beginning my new year was the matter of choosing a theme. So 2015 is designated as “The Year of Action.” Specifically, Action that is purposeful – meaning my actions align with my values and support my goals – personal and professional.

Action

I created some serious to-do lists in January. A good bit of my energy was expended on reviewing the last year so I could “define my work”, which is the behind-the-scenes goodness that seems so easy until you dig into it, such as:

  • What am I most passionate about? (so many things)
  • How can I best help “others”? (With some new services I just posted!)
  • Who exactly are these “others”? (I call them Passionate Do-Gooders!)
  • Why do I do this work? (To make the world better)

Those are some BIG questions and I placed a check mark next to each one! <Insert pat on the back here>

Now that I have a good foundation set, I am working to translate that into….yes you guessed it – Action!
I know where I can be derailed sometimes so I am taking extra steps to address some of my more challenging attributes in all areas of my life.

  • This post is a way to add accountability for my to-do lists and this year’s theme.
  • I also just pre-ordered Gretchen Rubin’s new book Better Than Before and completed the free assessment to determine how I meet expectations and how I can improve some of my habits.
  • I even added a 35 day Jazzercise challenge and Creativity Retreat to my calendar.

How is your 2015 going so far?

Have you designated a theme for this year?

What kind of tactics do you use to keep yourself accountable?

Want to hear more from me — Subscribe to the Passionate Do-Gooder mailing list.
Interested in participating in a new session – now scheduling for individual Year-End Visual Reviews and Define Your Work Sessions.