Each new year gives you a clean slate to design and create your life for the next 12 months. Do you know what you’re going to put on that slate?
Oftentimes one of two challenges arises…
You stare at it blankly, not having a clue where to start or you quickly begin filling the slate with a host of new goals to pursue whether or not last year’s were met.
The best place to start before designing your year is to conduct a brief year-in-review to measure your accomplishments and lessons learned over the past 12 months.
1. You acknowledge your many achievements and successes (big and small) which empower you to begin from a place of positive expectancy and creativity, and
2. You identify what didn’t work and what you don’t want to re-create so you can make different choices and create more desirable outcomes.
Several years ago I coached a woman who was paralyzed by planning her second year of business. She had no confidence in her abilities and feared she would fail to achieve new goals.
I asked her where she had been in her business 15 months earlier and learned she was an employee — an unhappy employee who wanted to start her own business.
I then asked her what she had accomplished since that time and during the next 10 minutes, she listed a host of new skills she had learned, new relationships she had formed, programs she signed up for, new habits she created, new knowledge she acquired, discoveries she made and customers she attracted.
Once complete, she was stunned by her number of achievements in such a short period of time.
I asked her if anything had changed in her life to make her less effective than she had already been, to which she replied, “no.”
That brief process allowed her to drop the fear and move forward in excitement and anticipation and it can do the same for you.
– relationships (did you celebrate an anniversary, find your soul mate, disassociate yourself from negative influences, make a new friend?)
– habits (did you overcome unwanted habits or create new desired ones?)
– travel (did you go on any trips or vacations?)
– health (did you improve your nutrition or physical fitness levels?)
– home (did you make renovations to your home or buy a new one?)
– self-help (did you experience personal growth or expand your mind in any way?)
– education (did you attend any learning events or enroll in new courses or programs?)
– finance (did you pay off your mortgage, car loan or credit card debt?)
– skills (did you develop new skills or learn a new language?)
– technology (did you learn Excel, a new accounting software, how to work a sophisticated camera?)
– business (did you take your first steps towards starting your business?)
– networking (did you join any groups?)
– clients (did you attract your first clients/customers?)
– delegation (did you re-assign tasks you didn’t enjoy doing?)
– adventure (did you fly in an airplane for the first time or travel somewhere you’ve never been before?)
Your list of accomplishments can range from having your first article or book published, to not letting your co-worker push you around anymore, to getting that tattoo you always wanted but were too afraid to get, to building up the courage to ask someone on a date for the first time.
By completing this exercise, you open your mind to dream bigger, with a confidence that you have the ability to make things happen.
Next, identify experiences you didn’t enjoy, disappointments, or goals you set previously, but didn’t accomplish.
Instead of beating yourself up over mistakes, poor decisions, or unmet goals, use these experiences as launch pads for future planning.
If you had blind spots that caused you to make poor choices, what can you do differently this year?
If you need more information or experience on a certain subject in order to create better outcomes, where can you get it?
If something always seems to come up and block you when you’re on the verge of a breakthrough or victory, what can you do to overcome the challenge?
By identifying past unmet goals and the reason behind them, you’re able to create either more realistic goals for the year ahead or make adjustments that allow you to achieve your goals this time around.
When you rush forward and fill your slate with new goals without acknowledging the unmet goals from the year prior, you will recreate the same outcomes because you haven’t addressed missed targets or made adjustments to your bow or aim.
Take the time to acknowledge your accomplishments and learn from your experiences so you can write on your slate with confidence and excitement knowing you’re creating your ideal future.