4 Reasons to Do a Personal Quarterly Review (and a peek at mine)

At the end of March, I sat down for an hour and reviewed the goals and priorities that I set for the year. And for a little added accountability, I’m totes sharing with you.

But before I dive into the details of my Q1 review, here are some reasons why you might want to do your own personal review.

1. Get your inner critic in check.

You'll see in my review below that I surprised myself with the progress I made on some of my goals. That's because my inner mean girl had convinced me that I was failing miserably in all areas. The perfectionistic self-talk she created had me on the verge of dreading my Q1 review. But by digging in and doing an honest assessment of my progress, I discovered that I'm making great strides. And I told my inner mean girl to shut the eff up.

So even if you feel you've missed the mark on your goals, a personal review can shift your perspective to how things really are and not how you think they are.

2. Modify goals that aren't a good fit anymore.

Sometimes you just aren't feeling a goal you set months ago. Like say you wrecked your knee in an office softball game. Training for that marathon isn't so much a priority anymore. Maybe after rocking a vegan diet for a couple months, you find that your body (or mind) really needs cheese. Or perhaps you've discovered after a few job interviews that your current position is where you really want to be. 

You're not locked into a goal for the sake of meeting a goal. If it's not a good fit for who you want to be, move on. Zero judgment. 

3. Create and maintain motivation. 

For the goals you are hitting, examine what's behind your success to keep on track. Remembering why you set the goal in the first place can re-energize your efforts.

For any new or modified goals, put together a game plan so that you have a framework to review at the end of the next few months. It's also helpful to consider how these new goals fit with your existing goals. If they seem to be in direct conflict, you can figure that out now and rejigger your game plan or reconsider the goal entirely before you get frustrated down the line.

4. Celebrate!

It can be super obvious when you meet certain goals, like landing a big client, passing the bar exam, or hitting a target dollar amount in your retirement account. And you'd better be celebrating your arse off when you do.

But what about those more subtle maintenance type goals you may have? Like being kinder to yourself. Or reducing your screen time outside of the office. Or working out several days a week.

Of course you can track these goals, but they don't have an end point. 

By taking the time to assess your progress every few months, you're able to see how well you're really doing (or where you need to do some tweaking) and reward yourself for your efforts. More often than not, you'll be surprised by the amount of ass kicking you've been doing despite feeling like you haven't been doing that much. And who couldn't use an excuse to celebrate every now and then?


So those are the main reasons I do quarterly reviews. And if you're curious, here’s the Q1 review of my top five priorities and corresponding goals.

Annie's Q1 Review

Be Present

The goal here was to enjoy my days with G and not worry about what wasn’t getting done elsewhere. My biz, errands and housework will always be there, but G won’t be a baby for long. (And, might I add, THANK GOD!)

The first few months of 2014 have brought more sleepless nights than Gwyneth's newborn days. Teething. Her first cold. Separation anxiety. Hating naps and sleep in general.

Although the lack of sleep is wearing on me, the silver lining here is that my insane lack of sleep pretty much eliminated my ability to multi-task. Which means I'm a one task pony at the moment. So whenever G is awake (which feels like all the g.d. time), she's got my undivided attention.

I'm going to put this in the Mission: Accomplished category, but will continue working on this throughout the year.

Be Focused

My goal for Q1 in this area was to be strategic with my time so that I can continue to grow my coaching business while being Gwyneth's full-time caregiver.

I hired a nanny to come in twice a week so that I can have some uninterrupted time to work, and I had also planned on working while G naps. That hasn't happened since the child will only nap in someone's arms. Sigh.

Thus, those two afternoons a week when I have our nanny are sacred. Ear buds in, baby tuned out and me in my home office getting down to biz.

Is it as much as I'd like? Shit, no.

But as someone with a track record of being a big "accomplisher", that's not surprising. Nor is it instructive. Sometimes I need to accept the limitations on my time and remember my priorities. 

In my attorney days, work always took priority. But that's since changed. 

Right now, family is numero uno. Then biz.

That's my choice, and I choose to be happy with how it plays out in my new career. Even though it takes some work to let go. 

I'm calling this one a win, as well.

Be Brave/Ambitious

I aimed to expand my networking efforts, grow my blog and add new clients. 

I had hoped to guest post on several blogs in Q1, do some in-person networking in the Philly area and reach out to new contacts I've met through social media. All in the service of finding more fabulous lawyers and law students who want me as their coach. 

Realistically, I am not putting in the amount of time to get the results I really crave. (See sleep-deprivation and high-maintenance diva baby discussion above.)

Two out of three ain't bad. But my goal for Q2 is to shift my focus to adding more clients while obviously continuing to grow my professional network and blog.

{Wanna work with me? Get the details here!

Be Still/Relaxed

I made a very specific goal of creating a meditation ritual of ten minutes, three times per week.

How surprised would you be if I told you I didn't even come close to hitting this one? But that's the truth, friend. Ha!

In setting this goal, I had assumed that ten minutes was a feasible amount of time. I mean, it's only ten minutes. Psssh.

If I'm lucky enough to have ten uninterrupted minutes for meditation, I literally fall asleep. Not ideal. But rather than beat myself up about it -- which is totally counterproductive --  I decided to modify my practice.

Instead of one chunk of meditation, I decided to try practicing mindfulness throughout the day.

So when I'm on a walk with Gwyneth and the dogs, I check in with my breathing and clear my mind so that the only thing I'm thinking about is what I'm doing at that moment. Deep breaths. Smelling the impending rain in the air. Praising the Shibas for not barking at the neighbors' dogs. Leaning around the front of the stroller to nuzzle G's nose just because.

Or while I'm rocking Gwyneth to sleep, I close my eyes and take long, slow, deep breaths. Focus on the rhythm of the rocking. Take in the delicious baby smell. (It doesn't hurt that I've noticed this all helps G fall asleep faster!)

Twenty to thirty minutes of mindfulness like that has proven to be the perfect substitute to the thrice a week, ten minutes at a time goal. I feel more connected and centered than when I tried to force a ten minute meditation session when I was too tired to grab a shower that day.

Best of all, I no longer feel guilty about not being able to "fit" meditation into my day. My day-to-day now breeds opportunities for mindfulness, so it's just a matter of recognizing those moments.

So although I didn't come close to meeting this goal as initially conceived, I'm giving myself a gold star for recognizing it wasn't a feasible goal and finding a workable alternative instead of just tossing my stillness priority aside.


Be Healthy

The goals here are connected with wanting to nurture my post-baby body. And while the prospect of meeting these goals stressed me out the most, I’m surprised to report that I accomplished them to a greater degree than I initially thought. Bonus!

I've returned to making green smoothies in advance so that breakfasts are insanely easy. It's not every day, but it's often enough to make a huge difference in how I feel. Progress.

We've started eating much healthier in general since we want to model healthy eating for G. With her eating now, I have a pretty compelling reason to have fresh produce around all the time. (Thank you, grocery delivery services!) And wouldn't you know her favorite foods are green veggies like broccoli and asparagus over any fruits or carbs. Go, Me!

I've also started planning meals in advance so that we're not defaulting to take-out dinners. I was so overwhelmed when I began figuring out which recipes to use, how I was going to put meals together and just the planning process in general. But apparently I muscled through it because we've got healthy home-cooked meals several nights a week.

My goal of moving my body more needs some work. But now that the weather is cooperating, I'm out walking the Shibas and Gwyneth every day. Sometimes we take the stroller. Sometimes I put G in a front carrier and carry her around the neighborhood. And I just signed us up for mommy and me swim classes.

Health goals? Killing. It. 

The Take-Away

All in all, I'm digging the progress I'm making. Especially since I felt like I had dropped the ball in so many areas.

Do I have some work to do? You betcha.

But by checking in with myself after three months to honestly assess my progress, I spared myself feelings of guilt, inadequacy and failure. I was able to quiet my inner mean girl and her perfectionist tendencies.

Because these goals were meant to be carried out over the course of a year, my expectation should not be that they be fully met after only a few months. Even if I have "met" a goal so far, ultimately I want to continue and possibly expand the behavior throughout the year and beyond.

We'll see what Q2 holds...