Your Annual Review

When December rolls around most people have two things on their mind: Christmas presents and New Years resolutions. While these things are no doubt important, I think we are skipping a vital step to ensuring a successful transition from this year to the next. Each December, I block out a portion of time to conduct an annual review, or year-end reflection, on my year.

Why Conduct a Review

This can be a time consuming process so understanding the importance behind this review will ensure you stay motivated when the time comes to start writing. I started conducting annual reviews when I was in high school, meaning at this point I have over ten years worth of life data to comb through. I have found the benefits to be multi-faceted. From simple reminders of the progress I've experienced in different areas of my life to guidance in making difficult decisions. Having specific information written down about your performance as a human being in a year can be paramount to your continued growth and development. The key here is simply writing it down. Even those with the best memories can't remember every detail of their life. To ensure we retain the value of the learning and growth experiences we have, we must write it down.

How to Conduct a Review

There are many ways to conduct your own review, but I have found the system I use to be the most complete and thorough. I used to hand write my reviews in a journal, but found it so time-consuming that I was cutting corners instead of fully and completely reflecting on the year. Now, I use a word document and simply title it "Jason Wetzler Annual Review_2021." I then evaluate four areas of my life that align with my values and priorities: Physical, Mental, Relational, and Spiritual. For each category I answer three questions.

  1. What went well this year?

  2. What did not go well this year?

  3. What am I working towards?

For each category I will use subheadings to organize my thoughts. For example, under the "what went well" question in physical I may title one paragraph "nutrition" as a simple way to organize my thoughts. This also makes it easier to scan the following year when I reference the information to guide my next years review. Length is not important, but I usually end up with a little less than a page of typed text for each question and category (just under 10 total pages).