Often, starting a paper is the hardest part of writing a paper. A self-assessment, even though it does not require scholarly research, is no different. In fact, the self reflection that a self-assessment requires may be more elusive than trying to decipher the meaning of research. But writing a self-assessment is well worthwhile. It is a way to hold yourself accountable, which will probably move you forward toward your goals, and you may also find yourself pleasantly surprised to see how far you've come.
Gather evidence of your accomplishments and setbacks. Perhaps you have a thank-you note from someone, or a letter of reprimand. Maybe you have a pile of late bills or a copy of your credit report. Find any evidence that is relevant to the type of self-assessment you are doing.
Make a list of the criteria you will use for the assessment. If the assessment is for your job, use your job description and past evaluations, as recommended by Quintcareers.com, to make the list. If it is a personal-growth assessment, use two lists, one that enumerates the desirable traits that you aspire to develop and the the other that enumerates undesirable traits you hope to overcome. If you are assessing your progress towards other kinds of goals, list the goals with intermediate steps. For any kind of self-assessment, use your gathered evidence to jog your memory.
Make another list, this time honestly comparing your actions (not your hopes) to each item on the first list or lists. Note each action step that you have taken next to the equivalent goal.
Outline the paper, breaking it into sections that will each discuss a main goal and your progress toward it. You might want to arrange the outline so you will address lesser goals first and then build to bigger goals and your progress toward them. Alternatively, you could arrange the outline into sections that discuss related goals. For example, maybe you have three self-defeating habits you want to break. Maybe you also have four dreams you hope to accomplish. You could set up two main sections with related subheadings in each. Choose a logical arrangement that works for your purposes.
Write a preliminary introduction. You can revise it later to both focus it and make it more insightful. One of the criteria that an evaluator other than yourself will be looking for is insight, according to a self-assessment grading rubric used by Thomas Edison State College. The introduction might discuss why reaching the goals you have listed is important to you. Or, it might briefly discuss the fact that you have made progress and the satisfaction that has brought you, but that you still want to make more progress.
Cat Reynolds has written professionally since 1990. She has worked in academe (teaching and administration), real estate and has owned a private tutoring business. She is also a poet and recipient of the Discover/The Nation Award. Her work can be found in literary publications and on various blogs. Reynolds holds a Master of Arts in writing and literature from Purdue University.