It’s that time again.
Yup, a time of endings and beginnings.
Time to reflect upon the past year and look forward to the bright, untarnished new year burgeoning on the horizon.
Last year – for the first time ever – I did a Year End Review.
[A most excellent way to remind yourself that, yes, you actually have been productive and you do not suck and the feeling of Nothing Ever Happens Around Here Anyway is completely unjustified because just look at all the stuff you did and you are, in fact, awesome.]
2012 was a banner year for me on many levels and I had looked forward to reflecting upon my accomplishments and listing and sharing them on the Interwebs. In contrast, 2013 seems much less momentous. This niggling comparison had me putting off and putting off doing this year’s review. I didn’t want to be reminded of how “beige” my year had felt.
After whinging and whining for a month I finally sucked it up and got down to it (mainly because there’s nothing quite as lame as doing your year end review in May of the following year).
It was a bit of a rough start; I opened up my Goals for 2013 Word doc and found I couldn’t check much off of the list. For a list maker, it is a bit soul-crushing going down a list and having to mentally tally “no” after “no” after “no”. I sighed and carried on, determined to finish up as soon as possible so I could abandon myself fully to the self-loathing that was setting in.
But then something unexpected happened.
When I finished accounting for all I had NOT done, I started to browse through my accumulated to-do lists. As I did this I started feeling less deflated about the year. I realized I HAD accomplished things. Much more than I initially gave myself credit for. In fact, I discovered achievements in my work log that weren’t even on my list.
[NB: this is why it’s important to log your work hours and what you work on, people. There’s no way you can remember all that $#!t otherwise.]
Feeling marginally better, I cut myself some slack and took a break from the self-loathing to consider how and why I had fallen short of my expectations for the year:
- My Goals for 2013 was an insanely ambitious list. I’m all for striving beyond one’s abilities – I can only assume that I was feeling invincible when I wrote this list.
- With the exception of a few sneak peeks earlier in 2013, I neglected to refer to my list, which existed only as an electronic file on my computer. Because the list was “out of sight, out of mind” I lost focus and forgot entirely about certain items.
- I kept most of my goals to myself. I didn’t talk about them or share them with folks who might have held me accountable.
Reflecting in this way made the whole process rosier, as it led me to think about the ways in which I might handle future goals lists more successfully:
- Make reasonable goals.
- Print out and post list in a prominent place so I can be continually focused towards my goals.
- Tell everyone. The more folks who know your plans, the more accountable you will be.
In the end, instead of leaving me feeling underwhelmed about 2013, completing my Year End Review left me feeling empowered and motivated.
I didn’t see that coming.
In this month of gifts, oh, what a gift.
How about you – do you perform an annual review?