It’s the end of another year, a perfect time for looking back at your personal performance and conducting a comprehensive review of 2013. I encourage you to invest time to evaluate how you measured up against your most important Vital Factors (i.e., family, job, health, etc.). Take stock of what worked and what didn’t, making sure to follow the MAP principle of writing down what you discover. Wherever you fell short, list possible corrective actions to address those issues or pitfalls in the upcoming year. Also look ahead to what 2014 holds for you, determine what you want to accomplish, and set solid goals to help make it happen. Approach this activity as an investment in your future, entering 2014 with a plan for personal and professional success.
Carve out the time. Hard as it may be amid all your holiday busyness at home as well as year-end business at work, it’s really important to set aside an hour or two to go through this exercise. A discipline that’s designed to bring you clarity on your past as well as your future, this year-end review provides closure for what’s happened and positions you both mentally and logistically for what’s to come.
Pick the right place. To get the best perspective on your professional and personal performance, step away from those environments and choose a place to do this exercise that’s free of interruptions, distractions or bias. My suggestion is to head to a coffee shop or quiet spot in your local library where you likely won’t bump into people you know and can immerse yourself for a couple of hours in your self-review.
Write down lessons learned. List your Vital Factors, both relative to your job and your personal life. Next to each Vital Factor, write down how you measured up. If you fell short with any of those on your list, think about and then write down the reasons why, including any key positive or painful lessons learned. Now write down the relative corrective actions that you feel will enable your success this year. Assign a timeline to the corrective actions and establish strategies to hold yourself accountable, e.g., sharing your review and corrective-action plan with a trusted friend or mentor. Most importantly, as you wrap up this exercise, make a commitment to revisit this review on a monthly basis for 15 minutes or so. These monthly check-ins will become a regular discipline, enabling you to contemplate your challenges, dilemmas, accomplishments, questions or anything else that’s tied to those goals you’ve set for the year. This simple, yet powerful awareness, plus the practice of regularly accessing where you’re at relative to those goals, will help accelerate your personal and professional motivation while enabling you to shift any gears or make whatever adjustments are necessary to effectively fuel and sustain your success.
What are some examples of corrective action you plan to take relative to any lessons learned from 2013?