This is part of my series sharing my process of my annual review.
A common question is how to use the annual reflection ritual to shape your planning for next year. I’ll address this question today and tomorrow.
For me, an annual review is a mindset more than a “thing I do.”
Life isn’t static.
In an ideal world, we would stop time, sit back, and reflect on the year that passed. Nothing else would be happening while we did this. We wouldn’t “miss” anything.
Practically speaking, we are living in the present as we reflect back. Life is always happening.
The story we tell about events in the past is different from the story we told about that event when we were living it. It’s shaped by the things that we experienced after that event and by what’s happening now.
The components of my annual review are as much informed by the present as they are by the past.
As I write this, I am in Santa Catalina, Panama — almost entirely off the grid — for a two week yoga and surf retreat. It’s my first vacation in four years. It’s been a two day journey to get here, first traveling to Panama City and then a 6-hour van to this remote costal town today.
As I traveled to Panama City yesterday, I reflected on how long it’s been since the last time I was away. I love to travel and explore; I relish the thrill of adventure. Despite a long travel day yesterday, I found myself smiling as I rode in the taxi from the airport to my hotel in Panama City.
The experience led me to add a new section to my annual review: places I traveled and explored over the past year.
My initial instinct was that I hadn’t traveled much at all or explored new places. But that wasn’t true.
The moment I thought of adding this category to my annual review, I immediately saw the past through a new lens.
After selling my home, I became a digital nomad in my own city. I lived in several different neighborhoods. I discovered fitness classes and restaurants in new areas. That counts.
That “travel” or “exploration” need not be in far flung corners of the globe.
Our review of the past is as much shaped by the present as it is by the past.
What experience are you having now that shapes how you view the past?
Tomorrow, I’ll share how designing your year-end review can shape your experience of the future — before you even start your planning and goal-setting process.