Archive for January, 2016


Year-end Review: Your Personal & Professional Self-Evaluation

For me personally, I find the end of the year is a great time to take stock of the past year, the ups and downs, as well as the key learnings. It’s an opportunity to look back to see how far I’ve come and what I’ve accomplished and discovered along the way. It’s also an opportunity to reflect upon the year’s challenges and pitfalls and how I dealt with them. I use all these insights and reflections to help me plan my objectives and goals for the following year.
Let’s take a look at where you’ve you come from and what you’ve accomplished – and use that to help plan where you want to go next year – just by completing this short, 20 minute exercise.

Getting Started
• Get ready to make some lists – I like to get three or four sheets of paper, and divide them into 3 x 4 grids – one block per month.

• Get out your business and personal calendars – this will help jog your memory of what and how you spent your time.

• Get out your journal or diary if you keep one. This will help you reflect on how you were feeling and reacting to events going on around you.

• When you answer the questions think about the whole year – start in January, and consider month by month.

1st Topic: Your Accomplishments

Ask yourself: What obstacles or challenges did you overcome? How did the results impact your life positively or negatively? Was the time and effort worth it?

(I find that it helps to use the obstacles I have overcome, as indicators of what I am capable of – great reminder and good for the soul.)

The reason I ask you to consider all these questions together is because frequently you may not realize how significant your accomplishments really are. And it’s not just about remembering everything you’ve tackled in the previous year, it’s just as important to consider how you got there – what skills and abilities you used to navigate your way.  (Here’s something we forget – you deserve to recognize, acknowledge and give yourself credit for everything you have accomplished and created. That’s tough to do for many so make sure you take the time to do it!)

Now, also consider and reflect upon the following:
• What is the most important thing/item on this list?
• What were the top 3?
• How would you sum up your year?

Section 2: What You Learned

Ask yourself: What did you learn about yourself? What new skills or abilities did you acquire? How did your understanding of other people change? How have these learnings changed or reinforced your thought processes and behaviours?  Again, go back to January and work forward.

The answer to this question is a surprise to me every year – might surprise you too. We all feel as if time has gone by so quickly, and perhaps we haven’t changed all. But, when you reflect on it, you realize you have learned and grown in ways you could never have imagined when the year began.

Be it personally or professionally, I would be very surprised if you haven’t made some significant shift this year. Think back to the small interactions you’ve had, the small changes and tweaks you have made in your life based on ‘aha moments’, or little lessons you have learned over time. Those are the experiences that make us who we are and give us the wisdom and insight to make better, well informed choices as we move forward.

Next, look over your list, and consider:
• What’s the most important or significant thing on this list?
• What are the top 3?
• What really sums up your year?

Section 3: How You Feel

Review and reflect upon your answers to the previous questions and ask yourself: how satisfied or content do you feel overall? How do you feel about this year relative to other years? What areas do you feel the best and least satisfied about? Are there any factors or patterns related to feeling your best or worst?
Focus on all the accomplishments – no matter the scope or size. For your personal growth it is very important to consider the totality of what you overcame, what you accomplished and contributed, and what you learned along the way.

How satisfied or content you are will help you to answer the last question…

Section 4: What’s Next for You?

Ask yourself: What’s missing, and what’s next in my life?

You’ve thought about what you’ve overcome, accomplished, learned and how you may have changed. And with that you can now plan to go forward.

• Do you feel there’s something missing in your list of accomplishments?
• What would you like to spend more or less time on?
• What goals or dreams would you like to achieve this time around?

Section 5: Planning for a new year

The end of one year comes with the beginning of another – and the promise of a fresh start, filled with more opportunities and growth. Let go of past baggage, tie up loose ends, tidy up your feelings and get ready for what’s ahead.

Here’s to making this your best year yet!

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end”
–Semisonic, Closing Time