Are you feeling inundated with offers to “create your best year yet”, or “goal-setting for 2018!” or any other way of saying the same thing?

I know my email inbox is full of subject lines like that.

And I’m not knocking forward thinking or planning. Not by any means. There are a lot of different ways of doing it – the “90 day year” or the “getting things done” plans. They are definitely valuable, and you should pick a system and work it.

But the real gold is in the rearview mirror.

Before planning for NEXT year, start by looking at LAST year, so you can identify the lessons that will help you move forward.

First, did you have written goals for this past year? If so, pull them out and write them down on a new sheet.

If you didn’t have any written goals this past year, think back 6 to 12 months, and put yourself into that time frame. What were you talking about doing? What new initiatives did you start? Work with those as “goals” for this past year.

Now, next to each of your goals, write down whether or not you achieved the goal completely, partially, or not at all. Also write down any obstacles that got in your way, and any strategies you used to overcome those obstacles, as well as how successful those strategies were.

What do you learn about yourself when you read what you have written?

Is it easier for you to start something than it is to finish it? (A common problem, by the way!)

Do you get easily side-tracked by “bright shiny objects”? In other words, are you in search of a “magic button” that makes it “easy” to achieve your goals? Do you need a dose of reality about focus, attention, and hard work?

Were you creative enough in coming up with ways to overcome perceived obstacles? What sorts of obstacles did you encounter? Were they mostly relationship/people obstacles? Financial? Mindset? Lack of time?

Now think about all the things you did last year. What activities and events did you enjoy most? What was so great about them? Were they purely for fun, or can you extract any lessons from these activities?

Relationships are next. Who were the people with whom you spent the most time? Was it enjoyable time, or was it often challenging? What can you learn about yourself by thinking about these relationships, and how you react and respond to them? (React = speaking or acting without a lot of thought in advance. Often leads to unintended consequences. Respond = thinking carefully before doing or saying anything)

Who were the people who influenced you the most? How did they influence you? Was it “good” or “bad” influence? Who are the 5 people whom you WANT to influence you over the next year? How can you make sure you spend enough time with them so that influence rubs off on you?

Who were the people whom you think YOU influenced? Was it “good” or “bad” influence? Whom do you WANT to influence positively over the next year, and how can you put a plan in place to make that happen?

Now let’s look at your contributions over the last year. What were they? Yes, I’m talking about money, but I’m also talking about time, energy, and attention. Do you feel good about the contributions you made? Is there any way you can improve your contributions for next year?

Personally, how did you learn and grow this past year? How did you apply that new growth? How did it impact your life and relationships?

Productivity is a key element in how you feel about yourself. How well did you leverage your time last year? In case you’re not sure what that means, it refers to being able to multiply your outcome without increasing your effort. An example of leveraged time would be running on the treadmill while listening to an audiobook or podcast that teaches you something new. Or by hiring new team members to do things that don’t pay for themselves (like hiring a house cleaner so you have more time either with your family, or to grow a business).

Finally, how did you take care of your health and wellness this past year? Did you stick with your plan pretty consistently? Did you allow yourself to get derailed, or permit lack of motivation to keep you from getting your workout in every day?

Once you’ve answered all these questions, you’re in a much better place to begin planning your new year. I recommend identifying 3 big goals, one each in career, relationships, and health. Then break them down into quarterly sub-goals, monthly sub-goals, and weekly action steps.

I’d love to be able to speak with you about creating and achieving your health and wellness goals. Go ahead and click here to get onto my calendar, and we’ll make 2018 “your best year ever!!” (wink, wink) 🙂

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