Reflect, assess, & innovate this year by creating a “year in review report” for your life

You may have to do a “year in review report” for your job, department, or organization at the end of each year. Why not do one for your own life? What if you were to take assessing and improving your own life as important as you do your work? You probably spend 40 hours each week on your work. This usually involves giving of yourself to create value for another entity…the organization you work for. Why not spend some time on creating value for yourself? You achieve this through doing some of the key activities that organizations do to improve and innovate. Apply them to yourself. Spend some time looking back at the year and identifying the successes and opportunities for improvement in the different “slices of your life.”

I spend each December 31st afternoon at a coffee shop doing my “year in review report” to myself. I begin by thinking about this question: What were the highlights and successes of the past year and how do I want things to be better in the next year? After reviewing the highlights of this past year, I did an activity where I cut a metaphorical pie up into slices that represented different parts of my life. You can draw and divide up a circle or even create a pie graph with labels.

For each slice I identified how I was doing in that area and which slices of my life needed some innovating. Some pie slices I identified were: Career – Friendships – Love – Health – Financial – Family – Social – Spiritual – Hobbies – Home

The focus is on each individual slice. How much of that slice did you enjoy, did you take in, did you allow to nourish you? Were you fully engaged with it and ate 100% of the slice or did you barely try it…maybe only nibbling 10% of that pie slice and leaving most of it untouched in the pan? For each of these slices or parts of my life I was able to give it a rating for how I did in the past year. How would you rate each slice of your life with 100% being the maximum…meaning you ate the whole slice that year and it was a very successful slice of your life? This will help you see how balanced you are, which slices you are excelling in, and which need more focus. I identified which slices I wanted to make my focus for innovation for the next year. Each one of these life slices can also be a paragraph or two in your “year in review report.” You can not only give them a rating but you can go deeper identifying the highlights in the past year and where you want to go for the next year.

You can also reflect on your reflections. What kinds of highlights did you identify? For me it was travel…you learn about yourself by seeing what stands out to you and brings pride as you look back on the year. Do more of the highlights in the next year because they make you happy and are how you measure successful living. In sum, do a “year in review report” for your life each year. You can take it up a notch and do a quarterly report too. Use the pie slice activity as a starting point to help you deconstruct your life, rate the areas, and write with more depth about the past year and what you hope to do in the next year.

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