Four Reasons to Conduct a Personal Annual Review

Free Review Template

It’s that time of year—annual review time! Auditors and accountants have created an industry out of it. For the next few weeks, employees and managers will engage in the ritual of year-end reviews.

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News media will pour over their coverage and create their “Year in Review”. Even Facebook will create a personalized year in review for you. It’s easy, simply push a button and your social media will be decorated with hats, bells, whistles and confetti.

Holiday excitement and the frenzy of year-end activity can easily push you into the New Year. But wait! What about pausing for a moment to think about the race you’ve run over the last twelve months? Beyond the highlights (good and bad) where did your race take you and are you heading towards your most desired finish line?

The story we have written as we raced through the past year is simply a collection of our decisions—what we said, “Yes” to and what we said, “No” to. It is story that begs an important question, “Did you end up where you thought you would?”

“But until a person can say deeply and honestly, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” that person cannot say, “I choose otherwise.” 

—Stephen Covey

I love this quote by Stephen Covey. It dares you to look in the mirror and honestly assess who and where you are at this moment. It challenges you to assess whether you are running the right race(s), getting the results you desire or need to choose differently.

In 1982, I started working on my MBA and got married. For my birthday, my sister gave me Denis Waitley’s book, Seeds Of Greatness. It forever changed how I looked at managing myself and ignited an obsession to learn and understand success and achievement. It was the first year, I conducted a personal annual review and I have been doing them every year since.

“If I help you win, then I win too!”

—Denis Waitley

You’ll find that people who consistently excel in their most important life-roles and sustain high levels of achievement pause for more than a passing moment to look at where they have been over the past year.

A personal annual review is a process of engaging with questions that are capable of penetrating your resistance to change, facilitating honest reflection of your performance in important life-roles and raising your satisfaction going forward. The benefits accrued from a PAR are tremendous.

Benefits of a Personal Annual Review (PAR)

  1. Celebrate your victories and progress.
  2. Assess what worked and what didn’t work.
  3. Clarify what you the future will require of you.
  4. Focus on what is truly important.

Let me help you turn a personal annual review into a platform for enjoying a great new year. I have constructed a very simple personal annual review template. It includes ten of my best PAR questions. The last question will focus you on launching into the new year with energy and passion.

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Just click to get an instant download.

“Everyone writes a story with their race. Run a race that weaves together a story bold enough and big enough to change lives, inspire hearts and unlock possibilities.”

—Tape Breakers 


Thinking about year end reading and great gifts? Here are a few of my current recommendations.

Something for readers of all ages from teen to adult.

Elixir Project by Kary Oberbrunner

I am not a fiction reader. But I picked it up at a conference and started reading it on the plane ride home. I finished it as the wheels touched the ground for landing. A fascinating story that explores how we get personally hacked and taken away off course from the lives we most desire.

Something for Dads who want to raise their impact with their sons.

Friday Night Lights for Fathers and Sons: Schedule a 10-game winning season to help develop your son into the man God intended him to be

Mark LaMaster lays out a plan to help dads engage with their sons in a simple and powerful way. Dads looking for or needed ideas to build connection will immediately see the benefit.

Something for someone who is struggling with physical pain and challenges.

The Raging Sloth – An Upside-Down Blueprint to Bust Your Limits, Build Your Purpose, and Balance Your Life

Eric Eaton writes from the heart. In the midst of a very successful career, chronic pain brought him to his knees. Eric writes with an empowering, powerful and guiding voice to anyone who is struggling with chronic pain and facing obstacles.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “Four Reasons to Conduct a Personal Annual Review

  1. Thank you Jim,
    It is that time of year where I am reflecting on 2016 and planning 2017.
    I find your 6 Steps to your Best Year Ever – inspiring and straight forward to follow.
    I have completed writing up my goals, roles, and strategy. Next I will set up a schedule to review regularly to stay on track and I also plan to make it a sheet in my planner to see every time I open it up.
    Happy New Year!
    Regards,