About 5 years ago, I began a monthly self-evaluation assessment of my life. I listed out activities, and other relevant details, as related to my own journey of what was important to me. Eventually, I started adding goals and tracking them, on a monthly basis. Summarized, it became an unofficial end-of-year personal performance report that I could examine.
We’ve all heard the axiom, “What gets measured, gets managed.” I found that even the smallest elements, when I gave them attention using this format, made progress.
So many of you may think, a personal monthly summary is a waste of time, or I’m already too busy with work to make time to do this. But recognize that identifying and tracking your personal goals will grant you a more holistic sense of achievement for your entire life.
This year, one of my goals was to write 12 blogs. Just 12. I could accomplish that goal, with limited effort, but still not overwhelm myself. In the end, I’ve written 21 blogs, and built a creative writing portfolio. By tracking my performance, I have pleasantly exceeded my goal.
Follow these steps to build your own Personal Performance Summary:
1. Identify your goal(s) and start small.
If you make the goal too big, you may stumble. Push yourself enough to make progress, but not so hard that you discourage yourself. A small goal accomplished has far greater impact than bold, unachievable goals. Start small, and then work yourself up to greater successes.
Without overthinking, focus on what you know you want to get done, e.g.: (1) meditate 2x/week, (2) travel to all 50 states, or (3) run an 8-minute mile. Remember that you can adjust goals later in the year, and revise them to best suit what you really want. Simply starting the process is good enough.
2. Then, track that goal and measure it regularly.
Don’t wait until the end of the year to start measuring progress. Some goals take months to complete. If you wait until the end of the year, it may not get done. Make a habit of writing down accomplishments contemporaneously or at least monthly so you don’t forget what you did four months ago. Be disciplined but also forgiving with yourself as you start this process.
3. Document this progress “officially.”
Whereas others may use a notebook, or a diary to track how they are doing, I use PowerPoint. It is my tool of choice for “reporting,” because it has so much flexibility. No one wants to read a boring presentation of their life in 2017. Make it worthy of review. Add photos, charts, or other elements to make it interesting. Either way, find your chosen format and use it.
4. Review periodically (before the end of the year).
As the year has gone by, re-reading my monthly summary from Feb or May in October, is deeply satisfying, or in some cases, unsatisfying if I have not made the intended progress. Either way, I am made aware, and can do something about it.
As Ferris Buehler so aptly stated, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Apply this evaluation concept & monthly reporting to anything that is important is to you. Identify your goals and track them monthly. After all, 2017 may be over, but 2018 is a great time to begin.