Your year in “after action” review— published: 12-26-2016
Leaders conduct after action reviews (AAR) with Warfighters to provide feedback on mission and task performances in training and combat. Try doing the same at home, and conduct a “year-end review” of your personal goals.
- What was supposed to happen? Think back to the end of last year: What did you look forward to working on? Which goals—personal, social, academic, financial, physical, and otherwise—did you set? What about your expectations for staying on track with things?
- What actually happened? Based on the goals you set, take stock of how things went. Did you hit the mark? What progress did you make? Did any goals fall completely by the wayside?
- Evaluate “sustains and improves.” You might be tempted to assign a label of “success” or “failure” to each of your goals once you’ve compared where you wanted to be with where you actually ended up. Instead, think of goals as a constant work in progress. Devise a list of “sustains” to highlight strategies you used to help gain some ground on important goals, underscore what went well, and understand what got you there. Reflect on “improves” to balance the scale—by acknowledging shortcomings, deficits in motivation, or resources—and draw attention to ineffective strategies.
- What about next time? Put it all together and imagine what this coming year will look like. Which strategies will you adjust? How will you prioritize forgotten goals? Who can you reach out to for support? What resources can you leverage? What about new goals?
Remember: Intentional reflection drives purposeful action. Life is your most important mission. As the clock ticks down on this year, take a moment to evaluate what’s happened so that you can increase accountability, get focused, and feel energized for the New Year.