annual review questions to ask

Annual review questions to ask

2022 annual review questions to ask

2022 still has a week or so to go but I find now is the perfect time to review the year that has been. Not much of note will happen over the next week or so – it will be spent cooking, eating, enjoying time with family and friends, and relaxing. The annual review is also the first step in setting a goal for the new year. I find it super important to look backward before choosing a new path forward. By doing my review now it means I can have my goal and associated habits set and ready to focus on as the new year starts.

There are two key parts to my review:

  • a numerical mark of how I have fared with the habits I wanted to establish and my overall success at achieving my goal for the year
  • answers to deeper questions on how my year went

Setting a yearly goal requires commitment and you go into the year not knowing all the things that will happen along the way. If I solely assess my year based on how close I was to achieving my goal, there is much effort, emotion, and energy that I will be ignoring and miss opportunities for learning and growth, hence the importance of the second set of questions.

2021 yearly review summary

This is a marked assessment of how I performed with each habit and an overall review of how successful I was at reaching my goal to cultivate routines to expand my knowledge and experiences.

  • Read for a minimum of 15 minutes per day – 10/10. This habit feels totally ingrained now and if for some reason I go to bed later than my husband and I cannot read before going to sleep, I really miss it. I have two key cues for reading – one is breakfast as I have that once the kids have gone off to school, so I eat breakfast and read on my own then, and then the other is getting into bed at night. I always have the greatest success setting new habits when I can stack them onto an existing habit like this.
  • Invest one hour a week learning about our First Nations Peoples – 6/10. My knowledge has increased so significantly over this year and part of me does feel embarrassed that I had and still have so much to learn. I am set up well for ongoing learning as throughout the year as I have subscribed to a number of podcasts and newsletters which are either created by First Nations Peoples or address the significant issues faced by them. The reason I have rated this 6/10 is that the learning has been mostly academic and I think that only allows a certain level of understanding. I will look for opportunities to have more in person experiences next year.
  • Volunteer on a weekly basis – 5/10. My first half of the year was great and the second half of the year was not. For the second half of the year, I was looking for the perfect volunteering option – one that ticked all the boxes. In hindsight, I can now see this was a mistake and prevented me from taking action.
  • Spend one hour a week planning and visiting new attractions – 8/10. This was a clear example to me of how by allocating time in your calendar for activities that are important to you, you actually do them! It was great to try new things and to try them with family and with friends. Again, I think I am set up to continue this into the future as I have a number of newsletters I am subscribed to and I have realised how doing something new doesn’t have to be big and showy. There is great joy in the small and unique.

Overall, I would give my goal achievement a 7/10 for 2022. I ended the year with some great additions and changes to my daily routines that mean I will continue to increase my knowledge and enjoy new experiences going forward.

End of year questions to ask

At the end of each year, I like to ask myself an additional series of questions because while I work towards a goal each year there are plenty of things that happen outside of this area that are worth noting.

What were your successes?

Adapt Drinks was a key business focus for me this year and it has been a successful year for the business. Subscription orders grew by over 100% which provides a great stable revenue stream. In the middle of the year, I changed manufacturers again. My existing manufacturer was amazing but didn’t do cans and I needed to make the transition to producing in cans. This change went smoothly, as did the production of a new flavour – lemon myrtle.

I supported the younger kids through the transition back to full-time learning at school and our daughter through her first year of university. To be honest, she didn’t need much as she is super organised but there were a few critical things I helped her with throughout the year. Likewise our other university student child.

Having all five kids at home when there are now three adult children can be challenging at times. I felt I successfully adjusted my parenting and some of my organisational habits to accommodate this dynamic and ensure there were fewer moments of disharmony.

During winter I started and successfully completed the 75 hard challenge. You can read more thoughts on the challenge here:

It was partly through this challenge that I started lifting heavy (for me!) again on a regular basis and refound my love of the barbell.

In November, I completed the Run The Bay Relay with 3 other amazing women. We ran in relay form from Port Melbourne to Sorrento. For those not familiar with these locations, the run went from beachside Melbourne and journeyed out 100km to the Mornington Peninsula. I ran about 24km in total in the wind, rain, and up crazy hills but it was so much fun.

What didn’t work out?

By far the biggest negative of the year for me was having a number of injuries that prevented me from running. This year I will have only run a bit over 2500kms compared to running over 4000kms the previous two years. Without doubt, perimenopause has played a key factor in this. I will share some more of my learnings and experiences with this in my newsletter next year, along with how I am changing my approach to running to adapt to this phase of my life. My injury in March this year meant it was the third year in a row I missed out on doing the Gold Coast marathon!

I had a couple of poor productivity patches across the year and maintaining focus has been more challenging this year than the previous. The more I am learning about perimenopause has shown me that this can be a symptom too. I have also made adaptations to how I work to set myself up with the best chance of having a productive work day which has seen significant improvement. I have written about some of the changes in these posts:

The weather in Melbourne, as it has been in other places has been pretty poor. In my part of Melbourne though we have had no major incidents other than a lack of sunshine and too much rain, about which I have to admit to complaining too much about. I don’t like it when I complain. It is such a negative behavior and can bring others down so really need to work on this.

I was accepted as a member of Startspace which gave me access to the co-working space at the State Library. My goal was to make it there to work 3 – 4 times a month and that just didn’t happen. I think my issues with the weather did play a role in that but I definitely need to make more of an effort to work outside of the home.

What made you happy?

I think most years the first thing I mention that made me happy is my family and it absolutely the first thing that came to mind again for 2022. As the kids are all growing up at a seemingly alarming rate, my relationship with them is changing and this is bringing me great joy and happiness. None of them were huge flashy things, just simple ways of us connecting like:

  • working out or running together
  • discussing big and heavy issues where we have different opinions in a calm and considered manner
  • seeing how role modeling as a parent does more than talking. The older kids in their own time are developing their personal organisation skills and their own approach to health and wellness

Being injured for so long this year, when I could run it did make me super happy and I organised my running so I could do most of it with friends and family. I also loved getting back into lifting again and remembered how good it feels to feel strong. I cannot overstate how important it is for women at any time but particularly as we head into perimenopause and beyond to do strength training.

Seeing Adapt Drinks out and about in some stores, doing tastings and releasing a new flavour all gave me great joy this year. I see so much potential in Adapt Drinks and am excited about what 2023 will bring. Tied very closely to this is the amazing support my husband provides with Adapt Drinks (and everything else!). It was and still is a risk, as all small business are, but his confidence in me and the drink means so much to me.

When I did volunteer it brought me great joy. It can be too easy to become narrow in my vision and have it all about me and those close to em. Every time I volunteer I remember that I am such a small part of what is going on in the world and feel better for stepping outside my small circle and contributing to the community around me.

What made you unhappy?

Not running initially made me really unhappy and then as my time away from running lengthened I realised that I had a choice – to dwell on what I couldn’t do or focus on what I could do. That was the impetus for the 75 hard challenge and it worked brilliantly to remedy my unhappiness.

Not making enough effort to see some family and friends more. I could line up excuses here as to why but they would be just that, excuses. I am a home body at heart and I need to push through this more because I am definitely a happier person when I spend quality time with people I love.

Workwise I do love what I do but the stress the couriers cause me is huge and makes me very unhappy. It has improved significantly since changing to cans but there are still issues and costs with this that I need to resolve.

While I work online and social media has been amazing for my businesses, spending time on social media is not something I really love. Once on for work, I can easily get distracted, scrolling mindlessly at times and this often makes me feel unhappy as I realise I have wasted time and I can often make comparisons that make me feel flat. I need to work on better ways to manage this.

What did you want to do more of/less of?

I added the /less of part to the question this year. Sometimes to make our lives better we need to decrease or let go of something we are doing. Always adding more to our calendars or daily routines doesn’t necessarily serve us well. Here a few things I would like more of:

  • Towards the end of this year, I had a few fantastic catch-ups with friends and family and I definitely want more of that next year. This is something I will need to take the lead on and be more creative in the way that I do it.
  • More play! One of the kids received quoits as an early Christmas present and Phil and I have been having regular games during work breaks which has been so much fun. Sometimes it is only 5 minutes but it really gives my mood a boost and it is a great connection point in our day – a time together that isn’t about logistics for the family, parenting issues, or business talk!
  • More diversity in my information inflow. I need to read, listen and watch things from viewpoints that differ from mine and take them in properly, not just consume them to disagree with them. I love this quote from Jonathon Haidt:

You really need to seek out criticism. You need to seek out people who differ from you, and then, actually, you’ll get smarter.

— Jonathan Haidt

Here are a few things I would like less of:

  • Less time on social media – this is for work and personal use.
  • Injuries! I am continuing to research the best approach to running for me in this phase of my life and how I can take a healthy approach to it.
  • I want to be less reactionary. This goes for how I behave as a parent and how I absorb current affairs and issues that arise on social media.

How was 2022 for you? What did you learn from the year?