As I write this, it is October.

Looking at the social media platforms, I see the posts that count down to the end of the year. For me, the new year is already here, and I consider my birthday, at the end of October, to be my own personal New Year which means its time for an Annual Review.

The Annual Review is an opportunity to dig in and connect with my integrity, values, and goals. A chance to clarify where I want to be a year from now and plan how to get there. Clarified values provide me the power to say “yes” to the things that keep me on that path and “no” to those that do not.

An annual review is not a quick or easy process, nor should it be. I am planning my life, after all. I treat this time as sacred. Most years, I dedicate an entire weekend.

You may not have a weekend to set aside to do this, and that’s okay. Spend an hour at a time.

Begin by clearing the slate
I do this by writing. Others might draw, or paint, or create music. The purpose is to open yourself up creatively, spiritually, and mentally. Grease the wheels, so to speak. And shut out any noise.

Once my creativity is flowing, I conduct a review of the past year.
I get the calendars, planners, journals, the business plan, mission vision statement, relevant metrics, and financial data. I keep in front of me the values that I decided were important to me when I did this the prior year. I review all of this to understand what worked, what did not, and why. If I was not living in alignment with my values, it shows pretty quickly.

Break it up
Once I complete this, I take a break. Go for a walk, get fresh air. Clear my head.

Next, I review my Values. Are they still working for me?  
This year, I have been through a divorce, a change in my work, and a pandemic. Before my next annual review, my son will leave for college. It is the perfect year to begin by creating an entirely new list of values to guide my life as I move into this next phase.

Build the new
Once I have identified my values for the upcoming phase of life, I incorporate those values into a personal mission statement by creating a paragraph or two based on the specified values. This Mission Statement becomes my anchor for the coming year.

I weigh decisions against those values and mission. Daily, I review my mission statement when I set my intention and make my plan for the day.

I find this exercise very liberating. It takes a lot of guesswork out of significant life decisions, removing the stress and challenge of decisions. Creates ease – which is one of my values.

Joyce SlaughterBio:
Joyce Slaughter is a Coach with ten years’ experience guiding people to their Clarity. She has a passion for studying the power of Gratitude. Her hobby is writing about her adventures and interests. Read more from her at https://medium.com/@Driftseed

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