As another year approaches the end, many people start to think about their New Years resolutions. I for one have never been big on resolutions. Resolutions are typically just a wish list that fades out within a few weeks of the New Year. So other than for the fun of it, I’ve never really taken resolutions seriously.
I think there are two primary reasons that resolutions fade quickly. Although they generally describe an end goal or objective such as “quit smoking”, they first often lack a foundation of reflection and second, there typically is no detailed plan on how the goal will be obtained. The main topic of this post is reflection which I believe is an important first step in setting goals and it’s the perfect time of year to do so! So before you jump in and accept a wager on obtaining your New Years resolution, take the time for reflection. This process of reflection applies to your personal and professional goals.
Whether you have previous goals or not, before you create or begin new ones, reflection is a critical first step. It is critical because it allows you to learn from the past, while considering what lies ahead. It forces self-reflection and critical thinking to determine what is most important and to develop solid approaches to achieving your goals. Reflection is not difficult, but you have to deliberately set aside time and focus to do so properly.
Reflection includes at a minimum the following considerations:
- Was the previous goal(s) achieved as expected?
- Evaluate your previous goals both quantitatively and qualitatively.
- What worked well? Why?
- What didn’t work? Why?
- What were the barriers or problems experienced along the way?
- Were there any surprises that were not anticipated, positive or negative?
- Conduct a SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
- Did you spend adequate and quality time on the most important objectives and priorities?
- Did you utilize your highest energy and focus time periods for the most important things? When are those times?
- Did you review your progress frequently enough? Deeply enough? Objectively enough?
- Why were these goals important? Are they still?
- When you look back on everything you wanted to achieve or set out to achieve, was it realistic? What was not? Why?
- What are your priorities looking ahead? Why?
- What challenges or barriers lie ahead?
- What mitigation can you take to overcome any challenges or barriers?
- What changes are coming and how will they impact you or your goals?
So with the Holiday Season approaching, it is a perfect time to sneak away from the seasonal festivities to your quiet place, with your favourite beverage, and make a point to reflect on this passing year and be thinking ahead to the New Year.
This is something I always do, which sets me up nicely to hit the ground running both at home and at work in the New Year. I actually find it fun and look forward to it. It’s always amazing to see how much has been accomplished and is exciting to think of what is still ahead to be achieved!
If you want to give someone a stocking stuffer idea for yourself, I recommend “The 5 Choices – The Path To Extraordinary Productivity” by Kory Kogon, Adam Merrill, and Leena Rinne. I found this to be a great resource as I prepared myself for reflecting and setting my most important goals both personally and professionally. Good and helpful read!
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