A year is coming to an end and so now is the time where we must allow ourselves to reflect on the year gone by so that we can make space for a fresh new one with understanding, compassion and determination.
But understanding and compassion can arise only when we are aware of what needs to change, when we give time to shedding light on ourselves and when we look into the matters of what worked or did not work and delve into the ‘why’.
That is why the practice of doing an annual review is so important.
If you are serious about starting the new year on a clean slate and embarking on a personal growth journey in the new year, then this process should start from the end of the year itself.
When you do this, you are in a much better position to start the new year with a good state of mind with fresh resolve, understanding and lessons learned.
So here I share three practices for doing an annual review. Feel free to do any one of the three which you may find interesting.
Or if you have more time, you may do all three 🙂
1. Asking the three questions
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An easy way to do an annual review is to take your time and answer these three simple questions.
- What went well this year?
- What didn’t go well this year? Why?
- What did I learn this year?
I suggest you do this exercise with a pen and paper instead of typing it on your phone or doing it digitally.
I find that pen and paper help us dive deeper and force us to think more clearly and truthfully.
Give yourself time to really think about how your year went by.
You can check your phone for pictures of various timelines throughout the year if that can help you.
You can check your diary entries if you maintain a journal and also check out your shopping orders etc. to look into it deeply.
P.S. I highly recommend you start journaling in the next year. If you want to get started, but don’t know how to, here is my journaling Guide
2. Practice of Shining Light
Even though we have the sun and light and electricity to live our lives comfortably, we are still living our lives in darkness.
We are in darkness because we don’t see our true potential.
We are in darkness because we don’t know who we could become if we only intend to be.
We don’t see the functioning of our own lesser self that is trying to make us stuck where we are.
Hence we need to shed light.
To shed light on something means to make things clearer and brighter so that we can understand them better.
Too often we shed light on other’s mistakes and blame others for what they have done to us.
We magnify other’s less-than-perfect selves, but minimize our own mistakes and fail to look at our own lesser selves acting out wrongly.
This makes us play the blame game and we continue staying stuck in the same pattern.
We keep being victims of what happens to us instead of being responsible and taking charge of our lives.
So a helpful practice to do at the end of the year is to shine light on yourself.
Shine a light on your own limiting beliefs and the qualities you would like to change.
Remember that this should be done not as a form of criticism, but as a practice of self-love.
You love yourself enough to recognize your lesser self and you love yourself enough to change and improve.
That’s the whole point of the Shining Light Practice.
Here are some things you can Shine a light on:
- Shine light on your intentions behind why you do what you do
- Shine light on your current habits and behaviors that are no longer serving you
- Shine light on the beliefs that have been holding you back
- Shine light on what is it truly that you want in life and how you want to live your life.
3. Positive and Negative Year-End Review
This is something that is practised by Tim Ferris.
Here is what he asks us to do:
1.Grab a notepad and create two columns: POSITIVE and NEGATIVE.
2. Go through your calendar from the last year, looking at every week.
3. For each week, jot down on the pad any people, activities or commitments that triggered peak positive or negative emotions for that month. Put them in their respective columns.
4. Once you’ve gone through the past year, look at your notepad list and ask, “What 20% of each column produced the most reliable or powerful peaks?”
Based on the answers, take your “positive” leaders and schedule more of them in the new year. Get them on the calendar now! Book things with friends and preplan the activities/events/commitments that you know work.
It’s not real until it’s on the calendar. That’s step one.
Step two is to take your “negative” leaders, put “NOT-TO-DO LIST” at the top, and put them somewhere you can see them each morning for the first few weeks of the new year.
These are the people and things you *know* make you miserable, so don’t put them on your calendar out of obligation, guilt, FOMO, or other nonsense.
Even if you don’t have a month-by-month or week-by-week calendar or journal, simply review your year, look at your pictures, remember your emotions, what you liked to do, what gave you happiness and satisfaction and what activities, people, and commitments made you feel miserable and less joyful.
Do more of the positive by assessing what 20% is giving you more happiness and do less of the negative producing activity and put them in the NOT-TO-DO list.
So these are some end-of-the-year review practices
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I hope you make time to do them and enjoy it and may you have a wonderful year ahead with all the lessons learned and let go of all the things that are holding you back.
Here is my annual review for the past years: