Your Simple End of Year Review

The end of the year is nearly here and many businesses are taking a tactical pause to review the past year and finalize planning for next year.

As an Army officer, I used the After Action Review (AAR) process as a guideline for reflection and improving processes over time.

It provides a simple to use structure that can be used after any major initiative, but it’s also helpful for completing your annual review

Here’s a breakdown of what an AAR is and how to use it in your business:

The Purpose of the After Action Review

The purpose of the After Action Review or AAR is to analyze your goals and learn from the experience.

The key is to find successes and look for areas of improvement to make future goals more successful.

The AAR is conducted using this process:

Every AAR Begins With…

Intent: What was the big picture goal you set out to accomplish?

Mission: What was your specific goal?

Summary: What actually happened as you worked to reach your goal?

Sustains: Develop a list of plans, actions, or details you thought were successful. Answer this question, “What would I do the same if I had to repeat this exact goal?

Improves: Develop a list of plans, actions, or details you thought were unsuccessful or absent in this goal. Answer the question, “What would I do differently in I had to repeat this exact goal?

Concluding the AAR

End your After Action Review by creating a list of recommendations for future goals. Recommendations can include:

  • Maintain the “sustains” and keep fighting the good fight
  • Use your “improves” list to make changes and avoid making the same mistakes next year
  • Create a list of people to consult and learn from before you take on a similar goal
  • Decide what equipment or tools will help you reach your goal
  • Or whatever will help you do better next year

Remember, the AAR process was designed to help leaders analyze their goals, learn through experience, and apply recommendations to future goals.

This same method can work for you and your business.

What are you working on in the new year? Hit reply and let me know.


I’ve been using Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner since it was released at the end of 2017. It captures the core of Michael’s productivity systems and actually helps you focus on the right tasks to make major progress on your goals.

Sections for goal setting, routines, daily schedules, and even long-term planning keep me using this planner every quarter. Try it for 3 months to see how much it helps you achieve your goals.

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Here’s to taking action!

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About the Author

Robby helps busy business owners simplify and automate their productivity systems so they have more time to focus on what they're best at. He helps you design and implement plans and systems so you can work ON your business, not IN your business. Companies such as Productive Magazine, Nozbe, Matt McWilliams, and Notable Themes have trusted Robby to share his productivity systems, increase sales, and create a better customer experience.