End 2016 with a bang – create your personal annual report

By Shuying KeNov 27, 2016

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As 2016 draws to a close, you might be thinking, “Time flies! I wonder where the year went.” Well, 2016 doesn’t have to disappear into misty fogs of history. Instead, you could use a Personal Annual Report to create a powerful end to your year, putting you on a springboard to start 2017 with conscious intent.

There’s been a growing trend of people publishing personal annual reports. When I first heard of people creating their own annual reports, I was intrigued, but skeptical. Who would ever be interested in reading my annual report, and why should I bother rehashing the year?

However, as I started working on my own annual report for the first time, I realised that addressing the past year wasn’t just a self-indulgent exercise; it was actually a great way to develop deeper appreciation and awareness of myself.

The annual report works best as an act of introspection, and should function as:

  • An acknowledgement and celebration of achievements
  • A crystallization of learnings from the year
  • An evaluation of progress against set goals

It should not be a mindless data collation exercise (e.g. Of the 100 ice creams I ate this year, 40 were chocolate, 10 were vanilla, and 50 were strawberry).

If done right, your personal annual report could bring you:

  • Self-acknowledgement
  • Self-love
  • Inspiration
  • Gratitude
  • Motivation

So here is how you can go about creating your own annual report:

  1. First, create an outline of key events from your year. You can break them down into categories. Mine are: Work, community, self, and relationships. Then identify the key events that happened in those domains. If you like statistics, collect data on key metrics you would like to measure and evaluate.
  2. Pick a format: It can be anything from Powerpoint slides, to an Infographic, to a blog post, to a Word document. I chose Powerpoint slides because I like using pictures to remind myself of my memorable moments.
  3. Start creating your annual report. You can use Canva (easily design beautiful documents) and Venngage (everything you need to create and publish infographics).

Here is mine, which I made using Canva:

And here are links to a few others: Nicholas Felton (the guy who started it all), Stephanie Evergreen, Jarrett Fuller.

After you do your annual report, you may recognize the following reactions:

  1. Wow! Great, I’m on track to achieve my goals,
  2. This report seems to be a jumble of unrelated things and I’m not sure where exactly I’m going with this,
  3. (A mix of the two things above).

If you’re feeling great, great! You can celebrate or start planning for next year. For myself, last year was a year of self-love. Through working on my self-acceptance issues, I realized that I sometimes have trouble communicating my thoughts and feelings to others for fear of being judged or rejected. So next year will be one of self-expression, in which I plan to write, speak, and sing a lot more.

If you’re feeling unsure about how things are linking up in your life, you could perhaps start with one area of your life that you’d like to improve, and make a conscious plan to work on it. For example, if you’d like to start spending more time with yourself, make plans to go meditate or set up ‘dates’ with yourself.

Some personal reflections from doing my own AR:

  • Found it really difficult to get started at first, because I have trouble acknowledging myself for my efforts
  • But it was really fun!
  • Whether or not you do an annual report, whatever you’ve done this year will make itself evident in your life now and in the future

If you’ve done your annual report and would like to share, email us at [email protected] and we’ll publish on the site!

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