It must be that time of year – as numerous clients have brought it to our coaching sessions – annual objective setting, defining strategies and goals for next year. It’s great to have goals; organizations need objectives to measure performance and success. Goals help both individuals and business focus in a specific area, provide motivation and a sense of achievement. Psychologically goals trigger new behaviours, can focus the mind and life, provide motivation, grow confidence and are good for our mental health.
Before defining next year’s goals however, it’s best to reflect on last year. This reflection is good for a personal end of year review or an organizational end of year review.
Year End Review
Looking back on the prior year is necessary before creating next year’s objectives. It’s hard to get to a destination if you don’t know where you are starting from. Additionally, it will increase your motivation, provide context for the next year, and result in learnings to take forward. As John Dewey, the famous American philosopher, psychologist, educational reformer said:
‘We do not learn from the experience.
We learn from reflecting on the experience.’
The mere act of going through something does not create learning, fulfilment or growth. It’s through the act of reflecting on it, making meaning from it that allows us to feel satisfied, to learn, to grow and to understand all the ins and outs of that experience. It’s as if you try to go through a circus fun house blindfolded. You’ll have an experience, it just won’t be that fun or engaging with no lessons learned other than don’t do it blindfolded again.
Best Year End Review Examples/Questions
Answer each question in as much or as little detail as it serves you to do. Start by looking at your KPIs (key performance indicators), or metrics. Look at your diary to remind you what happened chronologically. Review your photos to remind you of your experiences. Pull out last year’s goal sheet. If you don’t have one, then do this exercise and the exercise from my next blog to have one for next year. Your child has a report card, shouldn’t you?
• What were your goals for the year? Celebrate those you achieved (builds motivation). What were the lessons from those you didn’t (creates learning and self-compassion)?
• What were your highlights from the year? Your biggest wins or achievements, the discoveries, milestones, adventures, joys, fun, celebrations, and/or opportunities that you want to remember. What are you most proud of?
• What were the qualities or resources that helped you towards those highlights?
• What were the challenges, issues, frustrations and disappointments this year? What are the lessons from those? What do you need to let go of or forgive yourself for in those?
• What were the qualities or resources that helped you overcome those challenges?
• What have I learned this past year? About yourself, your team, the business, competition, the client, the organization? Some prompts might be: “I realized how much I care about…”, “I now believe…”, “I understand why…”
• What new or existing relationships did you foster or develop?
• A legacy or purpose type question: How specifically did you make a difference in the/your world this past year?
• If you want to engage the right-side of your brain (creative not logical): If the last year was a chapter in the book of your life, what would you call it? What image or metaphor would you use for last year?
Personal Year End Review
All of the above questions apply to individuals as well as businesses and organizations. We have KPIs or metrics in our personal lives – income, weight, work/life balance, happiness, stress level, # friends, # holidays, etc.
Think about your all aspects of your life – authenticity, career, family, friends, significant other(s), health and wellness, purpose/contribution, financial, spiritual, fun, passion, physical space.
You can also do this exercise as a family (or team) reflecting on the achievements and learnings of the group as well as each individual.
What would you celebrate from the last year?
What did you learn in the last year – about yourself, leadership, life, business?
What does this reflection prompt for you about next year?
Book a complimentary coaching session with me here to explore how to help set yourself up for greater success and satisfaction next year.
Photo by Marko Klaric from Pexels