I wanted to share with you a practice that I began many years ago that is invaluable to me. I’m a staunch believer in setting goals, actively working on them, and monitoring my progress. And this is a perfect time of year to establish or refresh your goals (if you haven’t done so already).
Note: You can find some of my previous posts about Goals here.
Planning for the coming year can seem daunting and your To-Do list may already seem overwhelming. So, before you make big plans for 2018, consider this simple, eye-opening exercise to put things in perspective.
Write down everything you accomplished in 2017. All the big projects, all the milestones, all the To-Do items that yielded a positive result. I like to organize my list in the following categories: Family, Financial, Social, Business/Career, Ethics & Beliefs, Physical, and Mental.
Simple enough so far, right?
To do this properly, allow yourself a few days, keeping a notepad (physical or electronic) or computer document (like Word or Excel) handy so you can add to it as you think of items. Be sure to check your appointment calendar and old emails to remind yourself of projects, tasks, and meetings that had a positive impact on your work and personal accomplishments.
Next, compare what you accomplished to what you had hoped (or better yet, had planned) to accomplish in 2017 – essentially, what your goals were for the year. Where were you successful? Where did you fall short? And why? What helped you to accomplish certain goals? And what held you back?
Doing this exercise will prepare you to do a much better job of developing your goals and plans for 2018. For example:
- If you had in your head that you hadn’t accomplished much last year, your vision may be limited when planning for 2018. By doing this exercise, you can hopefully see that that you accomplished a lot of important things, which can change your beliefs about yourself and about your prospects for the future.
- By having a clear sense of what you did work on in 2017, you will see where your actions were directed by a clearer vision of what was important, as opposed to more random, haphazard, or less intentional actions. That clarity of vision will help you set goals for the coming year.
- Because goal achievement doesn’t always involve consistent actions, you can discover where you were procrastinating or avoiding doing something difficult, and where you were enthusiastic and fully-engaged. This can help you better understand some of the inner workings of your brain, as well as your motivations and work habits.
With the results of this exercise in hand, when you develop your goals for 2018, you will see more clearly what is most important to you and what you need to do to have the best opportunity to accomplish your goals.
Try this exercise for yourself! And share it with your clients, family members, friends, and colleagues so they can see eye-opening results, too.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this exercise. How did it work for you? What did you discover? Send me a text, email, or click here.