To say it up front, this will be my last blog for this year. I’ll take a break over Christmas and the New Year and will return in January 2020.
I’ll take a break to take the time to look back at what has happened the past 12 months. I like to look at my achievements, what I’m proud of, what I’m grateful for, what made me happy or sad, what I’ve learned and what I’d like to focus on for the next 12 months.
Everyone who knows me knows that I keep a journal. It’s part of my daily routine. Before I get to work, I take a couple of minutes to write. It sets the tone for my day and reminds me of what’s important. I decide about one major task I’ll work on and check what other tasks are on my list. At the end of the day I frequently add what I call “Insights & Actions” especially if I haven’t done what I had planned to do. I take a moment and write down why I didn’t do it and what I will do about it.
I take these notes from the past year and go through them. Some pages I fly over, but some I read thoroughly. The pages I spend more time on are the ones holding the information about what I’ve learned, what I’d like to eliminate from my life or what I’d like to focus on the next year. They work like a compass guiding me on my business and life journey.
To give it some structure I use questions that I find relevant and that help me make decisions for the next 12 months. When I first started doing my yearly review, it was quite chaotic. Over time, I came across many different ways on how one can do this reflection exercise and picked the questions and ideas that I found most useful for myself.
I created some focus areas that are relevant in my life:
These categories are not in order of importance and not comprehensive. It’s my personal list and may differ from yours.
I take stock of what has happened the past year in these focus areas. What have I done/accomplished? Did I give it the attention and focus it needed (if not, why not)? How did it go? Did my effort lead to the desired outcome? What have I learned (I use the answer to this question to adjust the course or make necessary changes)? And last but not least, why it is/was important to me?
Even if my effort or work didn’t lead to the desired outcome or result, I take it as an opportunity to learn something about myself, my business, or my approach….
After I have finished Step 2, I have a pretty good idea about what has worked for me and what hasn’t. Marie Forleo writes: “If you know the things that have made the biggest difference in the quality of your life, you’ll be able to make wiser decisions as you plan the next ten years.” (1)
And that’s exactly what I do. I use these insights to determine what I’d like to keep, what I’d like to change, what I’d like to add or what I’d like to eliminate in my business and/or life and write it down.
Adding the “why” helps me stick with my decision(s) or, if necessary, put them to the test. I’m likely to change, circumstances are very likely to change. Unexpected opportunities may present themselves. This exercise is my guide that helps me determine if what I’m about to do is aligned with my goals and values. In other words, is it really worth making adjustments and embracing an opportunity or is it just a “shiny object” that will lose its luster?
That’s it. That’s my way of reflecting on the past year and using what I’ve learned to apply it and set my goals for the coming year.
Give it a try and learn more about yourself and your business. If you have a hard time getting started, call me and we’ll work through it together. Besides learning a lot about yourself and gaining clarity, it’s a fun exercise and absolutely worth your time.
Let me know how it went.