Why You Need An End of Year Review

by MindJournal - 8 mins

Why You Need An End of Year Review - MindJournal

As the year draws to a close, it's a great opportunity to celebrate our successes, recalibrate what didn't quite go to plan, and refocus our goals for the year ahead - personal or professional.

"The tail end of the year tends to be a natural time of reflection, celebrating your wins and assessing your physical and emotional wellbeing," says HR expert David Rice. "It's also a great time to be conscious of the power we have to take positive action for next year."

Instead of mindlessly recommitting to the hustle in the New Year, why not take some time to figure out how you can work smarter and, most importantly, be happier in 2024?

Ready? Then, let's get started.


Which Areas Should I Focus On?

The beauty of an end-of-year review is that it gives us a valuable opportunity to take stock of all the areas of our lives. "These areas don't necessarily need to be focused on successes or failures, but about the overall journey we're on," says Rice. "Ask 'How did my actions, my habits and my beliefs shape each part of my life, and is there anything that I would like to change?'"

If you're looking closely at your work life, Rice suggests reviewing the past 12 months to understand how your job has affected your overall health and wellbeing. By doing so, you can spot things that have had a positive impact, such as projects that have aligned with your interests or opportunities you have had for professional growth. Or areas that may have not worked for you - maybe you worked more weekends than planned or found it tricky to switch off in your downtime. This self-awareness can empower you to make informed decisions about your next steps, ensuring that you keep your wellbeing at the top of your list.

When assessing your personal life, it's a good idea to think about the moments that brought you joy - that weekend away with friends or the new hobby you started. Then, work out how you might make time for more of the same next year.

It's also a great opportunity to celebrate new (or old) relationships and friendships and any personal development that has positively impacted your life. Maybe you learned a new way to approach stress or have maintained a 6-month journaling streak (go you!). By acknowledging and giving yourself a pat on the back, you'll be in a good position to build upon your success next year. Never underestimate the importance of understanding what sparks joy and satisfaction in your personal life, as it will allow you to make conscious decisions to cultivate more of those moments over the next 12 months.

As you wind down this year, don't just look back at the grand triumphs and the challenging hurdles you've crossed. Take some time to enjoy the little details, the everyday moments of joy, and the subtle changes in your life. This will not only help you pinpoint areas for growth but also prioritise your overall wellbeing, guiding you towards a fulfilling 2024.

How can I reframe the things that didn’t quite go to plan?

Sometimes, assessing what we didn't quite achieve can be daunting. "We might avoid doing an honest review of our year because we are afraid to face our wins and losses," Rice says. "But this gives less positive outcomes too much power over our lives. Facing our less successful venture head-on can give you the power to make the right changes in the future." Don't leave anything out, and plan for the future with the lessons you have learned.

What do I need to remember when setting goals for the New Year?

"Setting goals is a four-step process," says business coach Simon Litt. "Gather evidence from your past; set blue-sky goals for your future; understand what those goals take to achieve; and check in with yourself along the way."

When gathering evidence, Litt says it's important to remember the times that gave you a feeling of empowerment. "If you've been celebrated for achieving things along Path A, but you feel better on Path B, focus on Path B! Be mindful and honest with yourself when you're doing this," he says.

When it comes to making a plan for the next 12 months, Litt stresses there are no 'right' answers; it all depends on what you want, both in your work life and at home, and this can be a fluid, ever-changing thing. "This part is all about research," he says. "You need to set realistic expectations for yourself so that you aren't holding onto another person's definition of success."

As a handy guide to help you set your goals, try using the SMARTER goals system in your Balance Planner.

S - Specific
Get a crystal clear vision of what success will look like.

M - Measurable
Measurable goals can be tracked. What are the key milestones?

A - Achievable
Avoid burnout by working towards a goal that is challenging but possible.

R - Relevant
Find your why. How does this goal support your overall life plan?

T - Time-bound
Set a deadline for achieving your goal to help you plan and stay motivated.

E - Evaluate
Don't wing it. Regularly check in on your progress to remain on track.

R - Re-adjust
Hit a hurdle? Be prepared to find new ways around problems.

Finally, when your journey is underway, it's vital you check in with yourself and celebrate your progress regularly (why wait for the end of the year?!). "Whether you're checking in with yourself or with others, it's imperative to understand that these goals are not meant to represent hard deadlines," says Litt. "Sometimes, things happen much slower than we anticipate, then they come together quickly. Remember that this process is for you, not for anyone else and their perception of you."

The end of the year is a great opportunity to celebrate success and set new goals for the future. MindJournal can help you check in with yourself throughout the year, while the Balance Planner can help you stay on track. Crucially, your goals must speak to you and your health and happiness, not an external idea of success. “Life is a cycle, and there is always something to learn,” says Rice. Take all of this on board, and your next yearly review will be one for the books.

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