This being my last column of the year 2013, I thought it useful to focus on preparing for the New Year by checking in with intentions made last year.
Many of you, probably, had high hopes for maybe a particular change or goal and had set up the steps to make those intentions a reality. Did you check in periodically throughout the year to see if you were on track with those intentions and goals? If you were off base, did you add a way to redirect your actions to get closer to the desired result? Or maybe you simply realized that your original intention needed to be rewritten somewhat.
Do you see that you actually got a lot done now that you are looking back on the year? Was it something that happened naturally or did you need to really make a strong effort to redirect yourself and get the project or tasks accomplished?
So what didn’t happen? What is still on your list of intentions? Keep in mind that not finishing everything on your list doesn’t signify failure! If you accomplished most of what was on your list of goals and intentions — you did great! Imagine what wouldn’t have gotten done if you had never written the list down to begin with. Most statistics show that, compared to those who don’t, those who write down their goals and intentions have a significantly greater chance of success at reaching their potential and accomplishing those intentions. Just write it down … that’s the first step.
So, what’s the plan for next year?
I keep my list on my computer, and I highlight those items I completed. Then I copy and paste the entire document into a new one and edit the list. Some items stay put (I didn’t achieve my desired result, or it didn’t happen completely), some will be deleted, and others will be added or modified. It’s just faster and easier to do this with the information from the previous year already written.
Start by asking yourself:
• What would I like to be able to add to my list of accomplishments by this time next year?
• What can I continue to improve on that I already began this year?
• What did I put into place this year that can take me to the next level this coming year?
• How can I measure my success rate on those intentions and goals?
Let those questions help you formulate your thoughts for the upcoming year. For me, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is the time I like to spend thinking about these things and writing them down. It may be comforting to spend some time assessing what you wish to do early. Then you have time to plan how you will accomplish those things before the year even begins!
Be sure to put in “benchmarks” in your calendar over the course of the year. This helps you see where you are at along the way. Beats getting to the end of the year and realizing you missed a mark you could have easily hit had you been paying attention.