This past December I noticed that all of my favorite podcasters were doing a year end review on their shows. A year end review is when you would take a moment to reflect on what went well and what didn’t over the past year. The pod casters would go over what they accomplished and where they failed so they could learn from it.
At first I really wasn’t into the episode because I didn’t feel like it was something I could benefit or learn from. But, by the end of that first episode I realized just how wrong I was. The whole concept of what they were doing was such a GREAT tool for improvement. Taking a minute to stop and reflect on the past year to get a better “birds eye view” of what ACTUALLY happened, rather than evaluating it while your in the middle of it.
I am not kidding when I say this, every single December I eat too much, I party a lot, and then January comes and I’m NOT happy and at that point I’m already starting to think about the year to come. Not once have I ever taken a minute to stop and evaluate the year that just happened. It sounds bizarre, but I truly never take time for reflection. I am always too focused on how to fix everything I just screwed up in December and am looking forward to next years goals.
Also, a year is a long ass time and I can confidently say I forget most of it. I can barely remember my social security number and that never changes, let alone my weekly and monthly accomplishments over a year. When an obstacle comes up I will figure out how to overcome it or just trudge my way through it. Whether I fail or succeed, in the end it is over and I move on. I don’t really dwell on things too much, that’s how I have learned to survive. I never take the time to stop and reflect on what just happened, unless there was a major blow up or something really bad happened.
But seriously, how often do we all do this? How often do we not take the time to stop and reflect on what just happened in our life and just keep soldiering on? Sometimes that is completely necessary, even vital, but I think once in a while it’s good to force yourself to stop and think about what REALLY just happened. Taking the time to pat ourselves on the back or figure out how we can do better is essential
As I mentioned before, a year is a really freaking long time and because I really do so easily forget everything I do, I thought it would make sense for me to try to do this quarterly. The reason I thought of this was because in February/March I started noticing how “off course” I was in some of my goals and how “on course” I was in other areas of my life, and I started to change my ways a bit. That’s when I started thinking that we should all being doing this quarterly review, so give ourselves credit where credit is due towards accomplishing our goals and then getting ourselves back on track in the area’s we were lacking.
Today, I am going to go through what I did for my quarterly review and will share the steps with you so that you could do the same.
With all of these steps you are welcome to be as specific and detailed and vague and general as you like. I always say to my students in barre class, your workout is what you make of it, how far you push yourself, that’s the same with life and your quarterly review. =]
For this exercise you will need:
- Your yearly goals handy. If you don’t have any, refer back to my “Goal Setting” blog
- Sheets of paper or a computer to type it out.I personally prefer writing things out because I can doodle =]
Step 1: Brainstorm and write down what ACTUALLY happened to you this past quarter
Write down all the somewhat major things that happened. It may even help to go through your planner or calendar to jog your memory on what you did on a week to week basis. I would guarantee there is stuff in there that you totally forgot happened.
As I mentioned before, it doesn’t HAVE to be work or goal related. I am a very social person and seeing my friends and family is very important to me and always a top priority. I actually have a goal to see or do something with family and/or friends once every weekend. Yes, I make seeing people I love a goal… Call me crazy, but I know how easily life can get in the way and how tempting my couch and pj’s are, then POOF you haven’t seen anyone in a month.
Go in your calendar and write it all down. Don’t categorize it as good or bad, just write down all the major events, accomplishments, action steps or lack thereof… If you are finding you didn’t take many action steps toward your goal, write that down too. We want it all out there so we can take a good assessment.
Step 2: Wins and Learns – What went WELL and what did NOT
Start by making two columns and labeling them wins and learns.
One of my friends told me that when his company would conduct meetings, they would asses their week this way, by wins and learns. For the losses or failures, instead of saying, I fell flat on my face and failed miserably, you talk about what you LEARNED from the failure. Forcing yourself to frame it in a way you can learn from it. A very millennial thing to do and i love it! So we are doing it here today.
For example, some of the things that I listed were:
Getting a new job – win
Figure out all the finances and legal things associated with a new job – learn
February Birthday Ski Trip – Win
Step 3: Evaluation nation
From those two lists that you made, your wins and learns, go line item by line item and ask yourself questions like,
“How did I get there?”, “What went well or what went wrong?”, “How can I learn from that?”, “How can I improve on that?”
By forcing yourself to do this, you are really forcing yourself to look at these events and evaluate them. By evaluating them you can pick up on trends so you can repeat them, or if you see blocks continually coming up again and again, you can figure out how to overcome them and then kabosh them sooner rather than later.
We can use one of my goals/learns as an example. One of my goals was to create more content on my blog and to dedicate more time to it in general. I had plans to start producing videos, getting new pictures, posting more. Things that in general will attract more attention to my blog. When I look back at the past quarter, I would say, “just getting by” is being kind when describing how much time I have made for it. I posted one blog every week except two weeks (win), but I did not post as much on social media than I needed to and did not produce any video content (learns).
For my wins and learns, how did I get there? With posting my blog practically every week, that happened because I made it a non-negotiable. I told myself I had no choice, I gave myself deadlines, and I made it happen. I did not post more on social media or produce video content because, A. it makes me nervous to really put myself out there and share my life with strangers, and B. because I have always thought of it as a NICE TO HAVE, not a MUST HAVE. I looked at them as a bonus, an extra, not as an essential. My mindset toward that goal had a direct effect on my action towards it.
How many things did you let slip by you this past quarter because you told yourself, “I’ll do that later.”, “I don’t need to do that right now.”, or “That’s not THAT important.”
One reason I want to do this quarterly and NOT yearly is so that we don’t continue to let our lives pass by and our goals lay dormant because we keep making excuses to not move forward and take action.
Step 4: How do you feel?
This is a quick journaling exercise. Look at everything you have written down, good and not so good, and ask yourself “how satisfied are you?”
I know I have talked a bit about where I went wrong, but it’s also important to remind ourselves of where we went right. How satisfied were you that you got yourself to the gym everyday, or that you go the promotion and bonus that you were working for the whole year before? Take this time to appreciate yourself, how far you have come and feel all the feels.
Step 5: What’s next? Where are we headed?
This is the part of the exercise when I wanted you to have your goals with you. Look again at the goals you made for yourself in the beginning of the year, and look at your wins and learns. Then evaluate what’s next. Which goals or area’s do you need to change drastically to get where you want to go and where are you doing a great job and don’t have to pay as much attention to this quarter?
Then, look at the next 90 days and each month set yourself small achievable goals to get you one step closer to the ultimate goal.
As we all know I am a goal setter and planner and I am generally always looking ahead, waiting and anticipating my next move. For me, this was a great exercise to force myself to stop and truly evaluate what’s actually happened so far, so I could give myself a pat on the back or a kick in the butt to get moving.
I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me!