Ah….another year ends. And so another one begins. How great does it feel to start a new year with fresh ideas and new goals? Here’s a simple exercise that I do each year for myself and with many of my clients. Remember it’s not just about bringing in the new….it’s also about letting go of the old. Have fun and cheers to a great new year!
Step 1: Reflect on the past year
It’s important to reflect on the past. Learn from it, accept it, close it, celebrate it. Do whatever it takes to “complete” the year in order to create more space for what you want next.
1) List all of your Wins, Gains and Breakthroughs.
2) List all of your Losses, Disappointment and Breakdowns.
Now, are any of these past events still consuming you as you try and move forward? Was there a promotion you were vying for that didn’t happen that’s creating negative energy? Did you close fewer deals than you’d hoped and feel a sense of disappointment? For any of the above that need closure, take the time to do what’s necessary to make that happen. Accept it, acknowledge it, or do what it takes to complete it now. Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up. It’s time to move on.
Step 2: Identify lessons learned from last year.
List 6-8 lessons learned that you want to carry into the following.
- “I learned that I work best when I start my day earlier.”
- “I learned that I can get what I want if I have the courage to ask”.
- “I learned to take more risks”.
This exercise locks in the learning from this past year and helps to set the intention for the next.
Make a commitment to reflect on these lessons on a regular basis. Post them or have them close to your desk. The more you remember what you learned, the more you won’t repeat the same mistakes and will reach your goals more quickly.
Step 3: Imagine ahead to one year from now
Write a list of your Wins, Gains, and Breakthroughs for the year. This part is very important: Be specific and write them as if they have already happened.
I have increased my income by x%.
I developed better relationships with my team and retention is 100%.
I landed the dream job I’ve been wanting and feel like I’m making a difference.
I have at least one award-winning idea.
As you’re working through this part, think of the aspects that are the most important:
- What’s most important to you as a leader in your organization (or role)?
- If you could only do one thing to bring more success to your work/career, what would that be?
- What do you want to be spending more time on?
Now, take it a step further. Double and spice up each of your goals. If your goal is to increase your income by 20%, make it 40%. If your goal is to land your dream job, then land it AND work 10% fewer hours. Yes, goals need to be specific and also realistic .
When I challenge my clients to increase their goals in this exercise, often at least two things happen:
First, they start connecting to a much bigger picture about what’s important. It’s not just about the 40% increase in income, but what possibilities that opens up for them.
Second, they suddenly become aware of how plausible these new goals can be. After all, the whole point of setting goals is to focus on consciously and intentionally creating goals instead of letting it just happen. Why not make them the most exciting, riveting, intoxicating and dreamy as you can imagine?
Next, create SMART goals. You know the drill. Specific, measurable etc. but expand them to fit your own business context, goals in a way that will work for you. Should “measurable” really be “meaningful”? Measurement is important – how else will you know you achieved it? Find something that works for you.
Write them down. Keep the plan close to you and check in on your progress throughout the year.
Also – think about getting an accountability partner. It increases your success rate substantially.
Most importantly, have fun! Cheers to a great new year!