Why Do an Annual Review?

Click on the photo to go to my redbubble shop

Click on the photo to go to my redbubble shop

On Instagram, I continue to showcase the different items available in my redbubble shop.  I have included a few of those posts in the article below. When you buy from redbubble you can give original gifts and support artists at the same time. You still have plenty of time before the holidays, so check it out.  Here is the link to my redbubble shop.

This year, I wanted to take some time to reflect about last year and think about what my focusses should be for next year. I had saved a blog post from  Chris Guillebeau from a few years ago just in case I decided to do this. Here is the link How to Conduct Your Own Annual Review.

This is what he recommends to do…

"To begin the process, I ask myself two questions and try to come up with at least 6-8 answers to each:
What went well this year?
What did not go well this year?
For these answers, I’m mostly interested in events I have control over. If something did not go well that I couldn’t prevent or control, it doesn’t need to go on the list."
One quote from Chris's blog post really resonated for me…
"I like completing this list before doing any future planning. I’ve said before that we tend to overestimate what we can do in an average day but underestimate what can be done over the course of a year. Looking at a whole year in review, you may be surprised at everything you’ve accomplished."
Click on the photo to go to my redbubble shop

Click on the photo to go to my redbubble shop

The next step is to compare your results to any list of goals you had figured out last year.
Next step... planning for next year using categories that have meaning for you. i.e., wellness, family, friends, making art, writing, learning, finances, fun, etc.

Later on he gets into more detail with a spreadsheet. Here is the link to Chris's blog post with the updated spreadsheet. Hmmm. I am all for clear goals and specific to-do’s but spreadsheets kind of make me nervous.  I am going to keep an open mind. Chris clearly says this is not about resolutions or vague goals but neither is it meant to be a rigid plan.  I see it more as a clarifying tool.

So far, I have gone through my calendar in ical from the past year to see what went well and what did not go well. I usually add big milestones to my calendar. I find it is the easiest way to have a visual diary of my time.  I had many events on the ical but I resolve next year to be more specific (and add cool visual emojis to each entry). I found I rarely added things that did not go well in my calendar. Human nature, I guess.  So I really had to ponder about what did not go well this year.

I found I have accomplished much more than I thought.  Chris is right. We tend to overestimate what we can do in a day and underestimate in a year. Why? I have no idea.

Generally, when I compared my year looking back in 12/2016 to what I had wanted to do looking forward in 1/2016, I had done it.
Surprisingly, my over all idea was to SHOW and SELL this year.  January - February 2016 I had my first art show and in November 2016 I set up a redbubble shop to sell my art on over 30 different items. The two events bookend my year in 2016. 
Everything really is a building block. I could not have started a redbubble shop if I had not done all the things I did throughout the entire year.

Click on the photo to go to my redbubble shop

Click on the photo to go to my redbubble shop

Chris has a recent blog post where he writes about doing something a little different this year. You can read it HERE.

Have you considered an annual review?

You might want to consider it.

First, it made me feel good about all the things I did do (because remember you accomplish more in  year than you think). Second, it counteracted the daily feeling of maybe I didn’t get enough done today (remember we over estimate what we can do in a day).
This annual review helped me see the view from these different perspectives, yearly and daily. Now I can be kinder to myself. Best holiday gift to myself.