Christmas is about the only time that most of us get at least a few days off to over indulge, pick fluff from our belly buttons, catch up on sleep and generally put our feet up. But apart from a time to chill out, it’s also a great time to sit back and reflect on the year that was in both our business and our personal lives.
I like to use this time to clarify a few things. I like to look back on the year and figure out what I did that I’m really proud of? What were my greatest achievements in this year? Who did I help? How did I make the planet better in some way? How have I grown as a human being? These are the good things and we all need to give ourselves a gentle pat on the back for a job well done.
I also like to think about the things I didn’t do so well, not to beat myself up, but so I have something to improve on in the coming year. I ask questions along the lines of what could I have done better this year? What are the things that I didn’t get done? What decisions did I make that weren’t very good decisions? What are the things I shouldn’t have done?
Then I make a short list of what I have learnt from the year that is ending. This covers the good and the not so good, in all aspects of my life. This helps me to learn from my mistakes and at the same time it reminds me to celebrate my victories, two things that we often don’t do enough of.
Once I have done my reflecting and learning I like to spend some time visualising the year ahead. I ask myself how do I want 2012 to look for me? What do I want to achieve both personally and professionally? Who do I want in my life? Who don’t I want in my life? What am I going to do to help others? What are my big goals? What are my small goals? What types of projects do I want to work on? What are the skills I want to learn?
The reality is that most people work way too hard these days, especially business owners. For many it is a real luxury to spend time reflecting and planning, but it is a real necessity. We need to feel some measure of progress to reinforce the fact that we are “getting there”, wherever “there” may be for you. We need to put some perspective around the year and we need to start 2012 a little smarter than we left 2011.
But most of all, now is the time to get excited about the future. To make plans, to set goals, to figure out how you are going to achieve these goals and to get fired up.
This might sound simple and as my new tag line for life states, the problem with common sense is that it just aint that common any more.