It’s that time of year again. An exciting time. I am not referring to the festive period, even though this is a super time of year also. No, I am referring to it’s the time of the year to be planning and setting goals for next year. 2015 is almost upon us.
But before you plan for next year, this is also the time to assess the year that is leaving us. And to do this you must be honest with yourself. You may even need to do this through a ruthless pair of eyes; cold and at times, unemotional eyes.
Are you prepared to do that? Are you willing to look at this leaving year with a raw honesty? Great. Let’s do this.
What Went Wrong in 2014? Or, What Mistakes Did I Make?
Remember, I said honesty is required. If you have jumped the gun and answered none at all then you either aren’t being honest with yourself or you didn’t attempt anything last year.
We all make mistakes (I encourage you to make lots) and I really hope you have too. I know I did.
The question to ask yourself is, What can I learn from went wrong? What can I learn from my mistakes? It is in these moments when we do the most learning in my opinion. No need to beat yourself up about any errors you have made. That is just self-defeating. Use them as important and critical feedback for improvement.
Feedback in whatever form is a surefire way to learning quickly. Once you have internalised that feedback, move on and forget them. No need to keep going back to what you can’t change. What on earth for?
What Didn’t I Achieve in 2014?
What goal or goals that you set for 2014 did you miss out on achieving? What was the main reason, in your opinion, for not hitting the mark? Maybe you set an unrealistic time frame? Maybe you needed more resources? Perhaps you overestimated your ability to get it?
It is human psychology to overestimate our ability to achieve over a 12 month period (And hugely underestimate what we can achieve over a 5 year period)
Again, this list that you are writing down, is for your eyes only. You don’t have to share your answers on your social media sites.
There was a couple I missed. In fact 3. And one was a biggie.
What Did I Achieve in 2014?
Pat on the back time. What did you achieve? What milestones did you reach? No matter how small the goal was, write your achievement down. Were there any goals I achieved way ahead of schedule? High fives all round there if there is.
Use these achievements as little ‘pep boosters’ but don’t dwell on them for too long a period. Yes, even your achievements can end up being a burden and prevent you from achieving future goals.
Caution: If you achieved all of your goals in 2014 in record time…you may want to check if you are stretching yourself enough? Creating a couple of lofty goals is good for your mind and creativity. It raises your own personal bar. Providing you still break these down (Like other goals you set) and celebrate each step toward it, stretch-yourself-goals can only be positive in nature.
What Could I Have Done LESS of in 2014?
If you don’t answer this freely and openly you are just kidding yourself. Remember, you are not sharing these answers with anyone else. They are just for you. We live in a world of distractions. Lot’s of things seem to be geared to take us away from achievement. It can be easy to succumb to these.
Maybe you spent too much time online? Or watching TV? Could be anything. Ruthlessly assess your performance from this year.
I could have done LESS ‘Finishing my work’ at 9pm. I thought back to when I was writing my book. I was up until 2am on a regular basis.
What Could I Have Done MORE Of last Year?
Look at how you achieved the goals you achieved. What strategy did you use to get it or them completed? Maybe you were more enthusiastic and attacked the goal with a high sense of urgency and energy? Perhaps you could have used more of these positive traits throughout the year?
I don’t know what you could have done more of. But you will if you answer the best you can.
I could have done more writing this past 12 months. To be frank with myself I could have done a great deal more.
No Need to Beat Yourself Up
There is absolutely no need to punish yourself with negative self-talk about any mistakes you made this last year, no matter how big or awful they were. You are admitting to the mistake made so you can learn from it. Mistakes are inevitable and should be welcomed. You are not stupid, idiotic, pathetic or anything else. And neither should you participate in that kind of self-talk.
As I said earlier, you are using this exercise for critical feedback so you can learn. By assessing the year that has gone it gives a super signpost for next year so you know exactly what to do to achieve more of what you want.
And of course it tells what activities to participate in less to give you more.
If you are struggling to answer any questions then find someone whom you know will shoot from the hip and tell you as it is and not someone who will just tell you what you want to hear. The latter will make you feel good for a few seconds, but longer term won’t help you.
The same applies to what you have achieved too. If you are unsure, then ask. Seek the feedback and most importantly, accept the good stuff as well.
Have a wonderful, prosperous, happy and healthy New Year. Stay safe.
And I will be back with some words of encouragement for 2015 in the next few days.
Robert D Hamilton