Doing a personal year-end review

Posted on December 15, 2009


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How did you do this year in terms of your calling?  Well, it depends on what’s important to you.  Your results may look better or worse, depending on what you decide to measure.  (a trick understood by every successful corporate employee)  What you decide to measure should have a bearing on YOUR personal goals that you set at the beginning of 2009.  But for those of us (ahem) who didn’t sit down and set audacious personal goals for the year, it’s still worthwhile to look back and think about what went well, what could go better and how we’ll use this information to do better in 2010.

Here are some steps to evaluate yourself:

  1. Identify the big categories that matter to YOU.  For me, the big categories would be:
    • health and fitness
    • taking steps to define and pursue my calling(s)
    • spiritual development
    • relationships, and
    • making money
  2. For each category, ask yourself: what does ‘success’ mean TO ME?  Make sure you define success for yourself and not based on what others might think.  Also – try to define a ‘stretch’ goal for each category, something that would make you proud, that would require extra effort and focus.  Because this blog is about finding a calling, I’ll focus on that category:
    • my calling: complete self assessment, experiment, DO more, stretch: MAKE MONEY in a way aligns with my calling
  3. Look back at what you did (I look through my calendar entries and my ‘to do’ lists) and give yourself a grade or a rating for each category based on what happened.  I gave myself a B+ for finding my calling.  I analyzed myself to bits (probably more than was necessary).  I met with a wonderful life coach.  I did quite a lot of experimenting, including writing a book, starting this blog, taking classes in writing (and photography and drawing), offering to write for others, doing a lot of research on writers, the writing industry, blogging, joined a local writers association and a critique group.  I’ve decided I want to write – but I could work as a lawyer or banker or consultant or teacher under the right circumstances.  I did NOT get a dream job, did NOT make any money as a writer, tho’ the lawyering and consulting did pay some bills.
  4. Based on all of your assessments, give yourself a grade for the year.  This is a tough one for me.  While I made great strides in defining my calling, the ex-corporate type wonders if I have anything to show for it.  I don’t have a long list of “projects” to show off, I didn’t get a big promotion, I didn’t manage a huge team.  What I accomplished was much more touchy feely.  Plus, I didn’t make much money – virtually none as a writer – and (sigh) my house is a mess.  A really big mess.  While good things happened in all my important categories, a lot of what happened seemed to happen on autopilot.  I don’t think I pushed myself for most of the year.  I think that my motivation and my focus suffered from FEAR.  Fear of committing to one single thing (writing?  Or doing the same safe stuff?  Is there another option?)  Fear of disappointing others.  And – wandering into dangerous territory here – some of my external audiences (parents, husband, children, friends) might have questioned my approach to the year. Finally, because I was in transition, I hesitated to set audacious goals in other areas of my life.  Soooo 2009, I’m going to give you a B-, with extra credit for the joyous, energetic 4th quarter.
  5. So, having given yourself a grade, start thinking about 2010!  The good news about 2009 is that, having done my self-assessment, I know a LOT of ways to make 2010 better, including setting – and publishing – audacious goals before the year starts, drawing my line in the sand – will I be committing to the life of a REAL writer or pursuing something else?  Can I feel comfortable with a 3rd option?  And I don’t have to allow my transient status interfere with setting audacious goals in every other aspect of my life.

How about you???  Anyone else do a self-assessment for their personal life?  I will say, having done one for this year, I feel optimistic and energized for 2010.  I know what worked and what didn’t.  I highly recommend spending some time just reflecting on your year.  It will help you think about HOW you will get closer to your calling next year.  Please share in the comments your experience with personal self-assessments and goal setting!

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