How to do an Annual Review (with free guide)

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In this hands on workshop style, Dan Cumberland takes you step-by-step through his 7-part framework to help you get the most of the end of year energy.

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Software Generated Transcription:

Hey everybody. Welcome back to The Meaning Movement. Thank you so much for listening. I’m your host, Dan Cumberland. Today we’re talking about one of my favorite things, doing an annual review. I am going to, and this is a very practical workshop like session. I’m gonna be walking you through. My process that I do for myself, that I’ve done with clients, give you some tools, ask some, you know, give you some questions to ask yourself to reflect on where you’ve been so that you can better set your trajectory on where you’re going.

I feel like this is timely at the end of the year to do this kind of reflection, though you can do it any time of the year. So here’s the roadmap. For today’s episode, first we’re gonna talk about why you should think about doing an annual interview. Then I’m gonna talk through the six, seven, the seven steps of going through that process.

I’ll also have a link that you can go and download my template, my exercises, and have all of this in front of you as you go. So if you want, you can go ahead and get that. You can go ahead and get that right now if you want to go through it and, and do it in real. Or I can talk you through it. You can take it, journal it and do it.

Whatever, however you want, whatever fits, suits you best, you can find those templates, my annual review [email protected] slash review 22, the word review and the number 22. So with that, let’s go ahead and jump right on into the material. First, let’s talk about. Is an annual review. An annual review is simply just a time of reflection where you look back on what happened over the past year.

You can go back further if you’d. and you do it regularly, annual annually. Why would we want to do this? Why would you wanna subject yourself to such a self, you know, self? I wouldn’t say self-criticism, self-analysis, there’s a handful of reasons. First, it gives you context for your business and your life.

If you’ve had a year like me, 2022 has been, I would say, um, at its best, it’s been crazy. At its worst, it’s been a dumpster fire or a, a train wreck. It’s been a hard year. You can listen back through the podcast and as I’ve reflected on on some of this, it’s been a lot of loss, a lot of grief. But in conjunction with that, there’s been a lot of good things.

How do you hold both the good and the the hard? At the same time doing an annual. Helps you with that process. It helps you contextualize where you are so that then as you enter into a new space, enter into a new. , you can put your goals, your vision for where you’re going in the context of what has happened.

That does a bunch of things for you. It helps you first. It helps you correct course correct, so it helps you note where you’re going, where you’ve been, and maybe where there are gaps or changes that you need to make. Secondly, it makes your goals. Any changes that you’re wanting to make in the new year, more effective.

Meaningful. Thirdly, it helps you find meaning and fulfillment. Everything that you’ve done over the past year, just to be able to note your experiences, note your progress, all of that is really, really helpful and meaningful. And then fourth, it just frees up space, especially if there’s hard things, especially if there’s challenging things.

These things can kind of weigh us down and by reflecting. Processing them, looking at your year, mapped out in front of you like we’re gonna be doing here today. It helps you create space to really clean, wipe the slate clean right? Get, get out your dry erase marker and soon and wipe it off all the marks from last year so that you can then start fresh, start new, and find freedom in that.

So those are some of the reasons that I believe that interviews are a really helpful and productive activity. Uh, something I try. every year, sometimes more than once a year. So with that, we’re gonna jump into just step by step, how to go about doing an annual review effectively. First, the very first step is just to set your intention.

What are you trying to get out? of this annual review. What is it that you’re hoping to gain? Is there some sort of clarity that you’re looking for? Is there some sort of problem that you’re hoping to resolve? What is the best possible outcome? Having that in mind as you start just helps, you know, helps you as you go through all the steps to really get that outcome on the other end.

So that’s the first step. Set your intention. So if you’re following along, That down at the top of your journal page or your, um, exercise worksheet, what is your intention for doing this annual review? So the second step in this process is to choose your areas of focus. The areas of focus. They’re like lenses through which you’re gonna look back on your year, or you could think of them as like buckets that you put your activities and things that you’ve done.

Into these could be anything. They’re gonna change from person to person, so they need to be unique to you. Choose the ones that fit you best. I’m gonna give you some options here that you can choose from. You can add your own, choose what works. I would suggest you have five to seven or so, but whatever works best for you is best for you.

Some of the, the options are things like work or business or career, your health and fitness, your c. And relationships, your family. You can even break family into subcategories. If you have a spouse or a partner or children, you might want to focus on each one of them as their own category. As you look back through the year, your faith and spirituality, your finances and money, your hobbies or passion projects or volunteer opportunities.

So the, uh, the, the task here is to choose your categories. Choose the lenses that you’re gonna put on as you go through this process. So right now, even you’re watching listening. Hit that pause button and write this down. So first we’re writing your intention. Secondly, you’re choosing your five to seven categories that you’re going to use for your life.

As you look back over the year, hit the pause button, write those down, and. We’ll continue on.

The third step in this process is to create a timeline of your year. I do this by taking a five by seven, no, an eight and a half by 11, A normal size piece of paper. What’s a normal size piece of paper? I’m blanking on it.

Drawing. Drawing a line across it. Landscape the long way, right through the middle. The beginning of that line will be a year ago. It doesn’t have to be exactly a year. If there’s some major events in your life, you can go back a little further or whatever works best for you, and then the end of that line being today, and then go through your calendar.

And on that timeline, you wanna mark the major events. Part of what you’re doing here is filtering out all of the things that you did in choosing. Here are the ones that stand out. Here are the ones that are, that are memorable. Here are the ones that need to be marked. You can’t fit your whole year onto one piece of paper.

So you have to do some, some choosing here, and this is where these lenses can look best. When you look back on your last year of health, what are the highs and lows of your health? If you look back on your relationship, what are the highs and lows of your relationship? What are the major moments of your relationship on that line above the line?

For every event that’s positive, it goes above the line. For every event that’s negative, it goes below the. In the template that I give you, I have an example of what this will look like all filled out. There’s some events that are, will exist above and below the line because they’re complex, they’re good and they’re bad, or maybe they were painful at first, but then a lot of good came from them.

So the higher up above the line they are, the better they are. So the best moments are gonna be really towards the top of the, uh, the piece of paper. The worst, hardest, more painful, most painful moments will be. About the bottom, at the bottom of the paper. So your task now is to try on each one of your lenses first, you can just use your, your general category.

Just think through all of life. , go back through your calendar. Go back through the photos on your phone or, or what, however you want to recall, and jog your memory and put your events onto this timeline. Again, you can’t put everything, so you have to choose, and the act of choosing is the point. It’s hard, it’s hard to choose, but it’s part.

Of the exercise, all of it needs to go on one sheet. After you go through once, go back again with your different lenses in mind, with your relationship, with your business, with your, your finances, with your, your health and fitness, with your faith and your spirituality, with your, um, your hobbies, your volunteering, whatever categories you chose in the last step.

Go through again and mark those on the sheet at the end of this. end product, you’ll have a bird’s eye view of where you’ve been over the last year, so you can quickly see here’s the contours of my last year of journeying around the sun. And then from there we can dive deep and ask a few questions, do some analysis, and that’s what we’ll get to.

And the next step here. Go ahead and just hit the pause button and do that right now. You can, or you can keep listening and, but I want to invite you to, to work along with me as you go. So now that you have your timeline. So first, just to go through the steps. First, we set our intention. Secondly, we chose our categories.

Thirdly, we created this timeline. Now we have this bird’s eye view of the last 12 months. The next step is to go through and just do some reflection. Just what do you notice as you look at your. I always find it to be really surprising what emerges? There’s always things that stand out to me, and that’s the first question that you wanna ask.

What stands out from your year? Maybe there’s events that are bigger than you thought there’d be, or maybe there are events that aren’t on here at all that you thought would be on here and think through what are the surprising things, what stands out, what doesn’t make sense? All of these questions are.

In the review [email protected] slash review 22 or review 22. But I’m giving them to you now in case you’re following along so you can get some bonus questions. If you wanna go deeper with the some bonus points, take this. She this timeline to someone in your life and ask what they see, ask them what stands out to them.

Ask them what doesn’t make sense to them. Ask them what surprises them. And often you’ll find all kinds of new insights that emerge because we can’t see the forest for the trees to some degree with, with our own life. So to get someone else’s perspective, they might be like, say things like, I am really surprised at that event.

I feel like should be really painful and negative. You put as a really positive event. Tell me about that. It can take you to some really surprising places. So go and share this with someone if you really want to dive deep and see what their feedback is or just go through and do it yourself. , the fifth step.

We’re gonna move on to now the fifth step in our process. Now that we’ve taken this bird’s eye view, we have this map in front of us, is to go back to those categories and give yourself an overall health score at this moment. Knowing where you’ve been over the last 12 months, what on a scale of zero being incredibly unhealthy to 10 being perfect.

Peak health, what score would you give yourself for each area of your life? Looking back, having, you know, lived the, the year that you live and where you are right now? What this is doing for us is it gives us an some areas to focus on as we move into the next year. So maybe your health and fitness, you’ve been doing really well, you’re really fit.

Maybe that’s a 10. Maybe you haven’t been spending as much time with your family as you would like, or not quality time, or you’ve been fighting too much, so maybe that’s a five or a four or whatever might be In the [email protected] slash review 22, there’s this very cool diagram that you can fill out to, um, help you get a bird’s eye view of your overall.

Score a health MA matrix, if you will, but you don’t have to use that fancy tool. You can just write a number for yourself. But what this is doing for you is it’s helping you identify where you’ve been doing well and where there are gaps, so that then as you think through moving into your next year, you can think about how to close those gaps.

And so that’s the fifth step, assessing your overall health. The sixth step is one of. Favorites now that we have your overall health, now that you have your timeline laid out in front of you, I want you to ask a few questions, and you don’t have to look at your timeline to do this, but just with all of this data that you’ve collected, all this information now that you have at your fingertips about yourself and the year that you’ve lived to, to ask a few questions.

Again, these are in the review [email protected] slash review 22. What do I wish I had more? In my life in the year that you just lived, what do I wish I had less of? Maybe it’s less pain, maybe it’s less stress, maybe it’s less anxiety. If I had to live this year on repeat, how would that feel?

What needs to be marked? So looking at your timeline, what are some, some momentous occasions, both positive and negative? What needs to be celebrated? Maybe something, a milestone that you passed that didn’t get the attention that it deserves. What needs to be resolved? Maybe some tension in a relationship that’s just still hanging over your head.

What needs to be grieved? Is there some loss that’s happened, some pain that you’ve been through that you haven’t allowed yourself to fully feel? Needs to be changed. So take some time, reflect on those questions. Again, they’re all in the review guide and you, um, by doing this, after you’ve done all of this reflection, this can give you some specific places to go as far as taking this review, making it more than just an activity and an exercise that you’re doing to get some, um, perspective, but to really help clear the slate, create space, find more freedom.

and make better goals for yourself in the new year so that you can a year from now be living your best life is really the goal, to be living the best possible life that you can be living with the constraints that you currently have. So that is that sixth step. Reflect the seventh step is very simple.

It’s starting to then look at the future and ask this one question, what do you. To be different. One year from today. And with all the data that we’ve collected, you should have some pretty quick answers, but go ahead and think through it in each category of your life. If there’s anything that you wanna be different, maybe say nothing.

Maybe you say, my life has been great, but based on your ante here, what we, what you’re establishing. Is the gap. The gap from the life that you’ve lived and the life that you want to have, the business that you’ve been running, and the business that you want to be running. And that gap then becomes the basis of the goals that you are going to be setting and resolutions, however you wanna think about it, moving into the next year.

I would love to hope to do a whole another session just around goal setting, but this should give you a really good baseline so that the goals that you’re setting are contextualized, they’re directly correlated to where you are right now and the life that you’ve been living. If this is helpful. I would love to hear from you regardless.

Just go ahead and send me an email, [email protected]. I’d love to hear how this lands with you. Follow me on LinkedIn, or reach out to me on Twitter at Dan Cumberland. You can find me everywhere. I wanna know how this resonates. This is something I’ve been work shopping in my own life for the last 15 years.

My wife and I have been doing this though it is much harder to do now with kids to get the time to really dedicate to doing this kind of a process. It’s always such a fruitful activity, so I hope that you’ll take it, you’ll run with it, you’ll apply it to your life, and please reach out to me and let me know how it goes and where it takes you.

Thank you so much for listening, so much for watching. Hit that subscribe button and leave a rating and review. If you’re on a place in a place, listening in a place where you can do that, an iTunes or Apple Podcast, Spotify, Amazon, all those are incredibly helpful. I’ll be back with you in just a few days.

Enjoy your holidays. Take care.

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