It’s the end of the year and for many that means year-end review time. But while you’re getting ready to talk about the past year and goals for 2016 with your teams, think about scheduling some time to review someone else—yourself.
A year-end review of yourself can offer the invaluable opportunity to reflect on things you did well and the things you didn’t—and chart a path forward to be better. A successful review involves asking questions of yourself and also checking in with the important people in your personal and professional life.
Here are 4 more effective ways to see how you’re stacking up personally and professionally:
Check-in. I sit down with my partner every New Year’s Day and discuss stress levels, work/life balance, and how we were able to support one another throughout the year—and then use that conversation as a springboard to make improvements next year. It’s an effective exercise and one that can be done regularly with partners, friends, family, colleagues, and managers. Ask these people how they think your relationship is, how you’re interacting with them, and then discuss potential solutions. For example, if your partner wants you to work less while at home, set boundaries for when you will work, e.g. from 8-10 p.m. but not 5-8 p.m. (For more tips on setting boundaries, see my blog post on work/life balance). This conversation should be treated as an opportunity for both sides of the table to get honest feedback and constructive criticism that will maintain and improve your relationship.
Self-assess. Schedule time to ask yourself questions such as: what percentage of last year did I feel relaxed? What percentage of last year was I doing things fun and enjoyable at work? On a scale of 1 to 10, how successful was I at achieving my deliverables? From 1 to 10, how successful was I at cultivating relationships with my manager or colleagues? After you answer these questions, set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-oriented, and Time-bound) objectives. For example, instead of setting the vague goal that you will be a better communicator, set a goal to have 30 minute one-on-ones with team members each week.
Create White Space. It’s important to also carve out time to do some strategic thinking about the past year and the year forward. Ask yourself questions around what you did well, what you can do better, and what your goals are for next year. You can then apply the popular coaching GROW model (Goal, Reality, Options, and Will) to your own career-path, that is, coach yourself. With this model, first you decide where you are going, think about your current situation including potential obstacles, explore your options, and then commit to actions.
Meditate. Finally, practice the art of meditating. Never underestimate the power of quiet time and its ability to clear your head. Take the time for reflection and quieting the mind to ensure that your physical and mental states are healthy and fulfilled.
Doing a year-end review of yourself can paint a complete picture of how well you’re achieving your personal and professional goals. You will likely be surprised by what you’re doing well or not doing well just by taking the time to stop and look back on how far you’ve come. By taking this pause, you can then chart a clearer path forward for 2016.