Stellar Platforms Newsletter

How to look back on 2023 with an Annual Review

Published 4 months ago • 2 min read

Hello Reader,

Happy New Year! Will you do an Annual Review?

This will be my 10th consecutive year publish my Annual Reviews on my personal blog. Last year, it was a month late, because I had a relapse of my autoimmune disorder. This year, I plan to publish on 31 December, and because my body is healthy and strong, I have no doubt I can do it.

I'll share with you a basic framework you can use for your own Annual Review, as well as a workbook that can make the process easy.

An annual review has 5 main components:

  • Record - Collect data from throughout the year.
  • Review - Look through this data all at once, in one sitting.
  • Reflect - Consider what this data means, to your past, and to your future.
  • Refine - Identify changes you can make in your systems, your habits, and your lifestyle for better results.
  • Resolve - Declare the achievements you plan for the year ahead.


Your calendars, timesheets, invoices, and artifacts of the year can help you quantify what you’ve accomplished. How many times did you have a meeting that affected your year's performance? What were the events of significance? How much did you earn? Where did you go? Gather the metrics that matter, so you can measure your progress as you get deep into your Annual Review.


Give yourself 2-3 hours of dedicated time to review all of this material. Turn off email notifications, silence your phone, block the time out on your calendar. Lock your door, or go to a favorite cafe or garden. Have a supply of water and snacks. Use the best pens to write in a meaningful journal. Make sure you are comfortable and uninterrupted, because the time you spend doing this foundational work on your life is important.


Collect a list of questions to answer in advance, so you can spend your time journaling answers to the ones that seem the most appealing. Skip the ones that don’t inspire you, or where you feel stuck. This should not be an arduous process; it should be playful. If you can keep your attitude light-hearted, you allow your creativity and intuition to contribute to your answers. I really like the journaling prompts in the Year Compass.


You may want to focus your Annual Review on your professional life, or your personal life; your finances, or your health; or all of these areas together. There are no rules you have to follow, because what you are designing is a process for yourself. Nobody is going to know how to do this better than you do.


“Habit takes advantage of inattention,” as Benjamin Franklin once said. Change requires reinforcement. If you spend hours conducting an Annual Review and promptly forget about it, you’ve wasted a few hours and forfeit the lessons you learned.

Sharing your findings with others, privately or publicly, will expose your new understanding of yourself to others, and that helps make it real. It also gives you reference. By publishing my resolutions publicly on my blog every year, I gain an easy URL I can review anytime I want to pull up my list of resolutions, so I can remember who I wanted to be.

I'm doing that today, to prepare for my next Annual Review.

The end of the year is an arbitrary milestone. You aren’t functionally any different on January 1 than you were the day before. When traveling on a journey of a thousand miles, seeing any one milestone along the way doesn’t get you much further to your destination.

But, by keeping count of the miles, you can celebrate incremental progress, and those celebrations can give you momentum.

You can print this Google doc, or use it on your computer to conduct your own Annual Review.

If you publish your reflections on 2023, share a link with me! I love watching people grow.

Stellar Platforms Newsletter

by Caelan Huntress

For experts and entrepreneurs who want smart marketing systems that increase their influence, income, and impact. Written by an 🇺🇸 American digital nomad living in 🇳🇿 New Zealand, Caelan started his career as an acrobat in the circus. 🎪 He wrote the book on Marketing Yourself 📙 and is on a mission to help one million people develop a playful attitude about life. ✨

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