“It’s time for your annual review.”
It’s a phrase that can send many an employee into a spiral of anxiety. Annual reviews have acquired their bad reputation mostly because of bad—meaning “poorly executed”—reviews. Bosses (actually, all of us) tend to focus disproportionately on the negative: “Here’s what went wrong and what you need to do to fix it.”
We regularly gather feedback from clients and share it with our in-home caregiver team at the locally owned Caring Hearts home care agencies around the country, but we know better than to focus a review solely on someone’s negative performance. There are always positive things to talk about, and it’s productive to highlight them. So why wouldn’t we recognize our own positive performance when we’re setting yearly goals for ourselves?
Focus on making positive changes in your life
The dawn of a new year is often a time for reflection. It’s also a time when many of us make promises to ourselves that can be hard to fulfill. But if we keep our plans aligned to our goals, and if we keep our definition of success in perspective, it can actually be a very positive exercise.
Some people find it helpful simply to complete the following three sentences.
“This Year I will …”
1. “… do more of this: ____________.”
Start with the positive. What have you done in the past year that made you or others happy? Is there any reason you can’t do it again or more regularly? Did you help a neighbor or a loved one? Volunteer in the community? Start an exercise routine? Did you ask for help when you needed it? What about spending more time for yourself or in an activity that refreshes and energizes you?
When you know something is working, build on it.
2. “… do less of this: ____________.“
Measuring our success against perfection isn’t realistic. But sometimes we can make a huge difference with just a minor change. Think of the things you can change incrementally. Maybe we’re not going to swear off sweets, but we can take smaller portions or indulge less often. If we can’t promise never to lose our temper, maybe we can bite our lip more and, even better, express our own needs upfront. If specific parts of our lives or our routines cause stress, maybe we can’t avoid it completely, but it’s possible we can reduce its frequency.
When you know something isn’t working, do it less frequently.
3. “… keep doing this: ____________.“
You’ve got some really good habits already. Give yourself some credit! We all need to be grateful for the happiness of the past year and appreciate the sacrifices we’ve made for our own long-term success and the well-being of our families. Let’s list those things and commit ourselves together to keeping up the good work.
Remember to give yourself credit for all of your accomplishments.
Now, share your plan with a loved one, and make it a positive 2016—together!
Like anything else worthwhile, New Year’s resolutions rarely succeed without a considered plan. Talk to the people in your life about how we can help each other make 2016 a more productive and rewarding year.