Why is it good to have a “personal” year-end review?
For those of us working outside the home, it is customary to have an end of the year review where our boss goes over our strengths, areas of improvement and together we set goals for the upcoming year. For those of us staying at home, the only thing different at the end of the year is the date on the calendar. Since there is no titular boss at home, there is no year-end review.
But a year-end review is what we all need to have. This review needs to be at the personal level with ourselves where we need to assess our year. We need to identify things we have done well over the year and things we can do better. This concept of “personal year-end review” is nothing groundbreaking. It has been done innumerable times before to successful outcomes. This appraisal can technically be done any time of the year, but end of the year holiday time, when we are relaxed and there is less pressure from work, is perhaps the best time to focus on ourselves. This is the time to set up goals for the next year, often termed in layman language as New Year Resolutions.
Dale Carnegie, author of the best selling book “How To Win Friends And Influence People” used to sit with a notebook every Saturday evening to review his interactions with others over the week. He would then come up with a plan on how to improve them for the following week. Doing this for a long period of time equipped him to pen down his famous book in 1936 which has over 15 million copies sold and in 2011 was number 19 in Times Magazine’s list of 100 most influential books. While doing weekly diligence is not possible for most of us, evaluating once a year is definitely a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) goal.
Statistically, most people make new year resolutions only to break them in a few months time.
According to US News, in 2017 survey, about 80% of the new year resolutions fail by end of February and historically, Forbes reported from 2013 data that only 8% of people meet their new year resolutions.
The question that begs answer is why is it that most people find it difficult to keep their new year resolutions? My take on it is that it is hard to keep up with any resolution for a long period of time. Just as from work and from school we need breaks, our new year resolutions need to have built in breaks where we permit ourselves to play hooky a limited number of times. The resolutions need to be short, sweet and easy to remember. They need to be easily recallable at a moments notice or be something that perpetually stays in our mind. One strategy people use is to announce their resolution to others and solicit their help in keeping them true to it. In my opinion, this does not work because except for your mother, no one is going to be constantly reminding you of your new year resolutions. And if your mother is able to do it, you are already a step ahead!
Having a year-end review each year is a good idea because it will make us accountable to ourselves. We know that if we do not work towards our resolution during the year, we will have nothing to report at this assessment. That will be disappointing and demoralizing to us, an unpleasant state of mind that we would not like to experience.
Coming up with a new year resolution is in itself a big accomplishment because it will make us focus on ourselves. It will make us think about what we would like to do. It will make us take responsibility for our actions. It will make us live mindfully each day.
If we approach our goals as projects and take stock of where we are towards meeting our goal at regular intervals during the year, it will keep us energized and motivated. For those of us who may not know what our steps and checkpoints need to be during the year, focussing on one month at a time is the way to go. For instance, think of what you would like to accomplish in the month of January and as the month is coming to close, think of your plan for February and so forth. If you do this doggedly, you will find no dearth of initiatives helpful for the accomplishment of your goals. In my humble opinion, if you accomplish half of what you had planned to do, you are doing very well and will have a good end of the year review!
So, do not let another year slide by in mindless and random activities. Let this new year be a mindful one. Find your passions. Do something you have always wanted to do. Let not your age and circumstances hold you back. Make small effort if that is all you are able to do. But make an effort. It will eventually take you somewhere where you will be proud to be.
To one and all, A very Happy, Blessed and Purposeful new year!!