As one year ends and we start to look forward to the next, there is one very important thing we need to do. The beginning of every new year is often a time we stop to think about all of the things we want to achieve in the next 12 months. Some call these resolutions, others call them goals.
It doesn’t matter what you call them, what we are trying to do is to make the future better than the present. It can be exciting to make plans for the future and it is tempting to just go ahead and launch into this, but a better idea is to pause for a moment to reflect.
Reflect upon the past
Before you begin to think about all of the things you want to achieve in the year ahead, it’s important to spend a few moments looking back at the year behind you. What did you set out to achieve?
Have a think for a moment about some of the plans you had for this year. Hopefully you wrote them down. (This is one of the ways to improve your success rate by the way.) Look through what you wanted to achieve. Were you successful?
Celebrate your success
If you achieved your goal, here is an opportunity to give yourself a pat on the back. So often we focus on the things we didn’t do and forget to reward ourselves for the things we did. Take a couple of minutes to think about how much better your life is now because you worked hard to achieve the goal you set at the beginning of the year. Use this feeling to give you inspiration and momentum when your future goals seem out of reach.
Work out why you weren’t successful
Perhaps however, there is a goal you were not successful in achieving. What happened to prevent your success? Perhaps you lost interest in the goal for some reason. Maybe it ceased to be important to you after a while. If this was the case, maybe it was that you set the wrong goal in the first place. That’s OK. Use this information to set a better goal for the year ahead.
If however, you really did want to achieve this goal, now is the time to try and find out what happened to stop you. Maybe you let distractions or the next shiny object prevent you from achieving your goal. Perhaps you failed to realise how difficult it would be and how much effort you would have to put in to achieve it. With the benefit of hindsight, what would we have done differently? Think about how you can change your actions and reset your goal so you can work towards it in the year to come.
Use your findings to set better goals
What lessons have you learnt from this year that will assist you to be more successful in achieving your goals next year?
For some assistance to set your goals, check out the Goal Setting worksheet here.