Fernando Santander | Unsplash.com |Reflecting on last year is essential

2023 has arrived, and if you are like me, you aren’t ready yet. However, I have an excuse, and I’m on vacation until January 31st enjoying summer in New Zealand and life on an organic farm. The purpose of the annual review is to reflect on last year and see how you did.

Why Do The review?

Doing your annual review is a time of self-reflection that only you can do. It’s valuable to only you, and it will set the tone for the next year because you will know what worked and what didn’t. And, of course, you never make the same mistake twice as I do.

Let’s talk about the boundaries for this review first. Know the purpose of the review. The purpose is to help you better understand yourself and learn from the things that went wrong last year. It is not to blame you or anyone else for the results. Your annual review is to help you understand why you reacted, why you did some things and not others, and to learn how to make better choices in the future.

The most common reason I don’t meet my goals is that I over-commit. I jump from one idea to another without realizing that if I limit the goals I’m pursuing and improve my focus, I will ultimately get more done.

The second reason I don’t meet all my goals is life happens. Something comes up, and I get diverted or distracted more often. My biggest distraction is that I seldom say no to anyone who asks. As you can imagine, that doesn’t help me reach my goals.

Doing an annual review helps to identify what worked and what didn’t so you can approach your new years’ goals with this in mind on a goal-by-goal basis. That may mean you don’t set as many goals for next year, or you set some to focus on during the first half year and then later set some more for the rest of the year. How you set your goals is up to you. The time frame for each goal is yours Unless it is work imposed. Work-imposed tasks and deadlines can mess up the best plan for working on your goals, even when you are generally retired as I am.

What is the review all about?

For your review, you will need the goals you set at the beginning of 2022. If you did weekly, monthly or quarterly reviews during the year, the results of those reviews should also be available. However, if you are like most of us, you set goals or New Year’s resolutions and quickly forgot them or ignored them and didn’t have the plan to achieve them. But let’s review them anyway and learn what worked and didn’t.

For each goal, reflect on these, and other questions you may think of that will give you clarity.

1. Did I complete the goal? If the answer is yes, then you aren’t done.

2. Why did this goal get done?

a. Did I have all the resources I needed to complete it?

b. Did I have specialized knowledge that made it easy?

3. What went right?

4. What caused concern during this effort?

5. What did I learn about focus?

6. What distraction did I avoid?

Now lastly, think about how you structured each goal statement.

1. Did you clearly state the expected outcome?

2. Were some of the goals vague? Which did you do better on, clear or vague ones?

3. Did you put together a plan with the clear tasks you needed to accomplish to reach your goal?


Relationships are another big area of our life that we should reflect on during the annual review. Working on your relationships is as important as any other goal you might set.

1. What did I do to improve my relationships with friends and family?

2. Who do I need to improve my relationships with, and why?

3. In this world of an increasing number of people we know, who do I need to repair relationships with?


An area where I am the weakest now that I am getting older is taking care of myself, but this is also important, and we need to remind ourselves to attend to it.

1. What did I do to improve my health and mobility during the year?

2. What hobby did I start or work on?

3. What did I do well during the year?

4. What did I do poorly that I can work on for next year?

5. What do I need to improve my finances next year?


This was a strange year for work, and 2023 will remain strange. Many companies are revisiting the need for everyone to come together into a single workspace. Many of you are working from home or transitioning from working at home back to working in public. This will no doubt create stress unless you think about it and handle it with care

1. What did I do well during the year?

2. What do I need to improve on?

3. Which relationships do I need to work on at work?

4. Do you understand the politics that are a part of the work environment?

These are just a few questions you can use to reflect on how well you did last year that will also help you be better prepared for planning for 2023. My next issue will show how setting goals can work for you even if you haven’t been successful.