Planning for a Great New Year? Start with Self-Reflection Before Setting Goals

While the New Year is the most popular time for setting goals, most people set the wrong goals and never take time to celebrate their successes over the prior year. Before you begin your goal-setting mission, start with self-reflection. Otherwise, when do you acknowledge your wins and how much you’ve grown? Doing so will ensure your new goals are aligned with your values and priorities to create your best year yet.

Happy New Year! And you know what that means. GOAL SETTING TIME! While it may be hard to believe that 2018 is coming to a close, there seems to be a universal belief we share. “I can’t believe another year is over! It just flew by.”

We say life moves so fast, and even faster as we get older. I have a different perspective. Is it that life is moving so fast, or you’re not being present in the moment and honoring your core values and priorities, along with your achievements throughout the year?

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Or maybe you’re trying to live in the present moment. However, there are so many things pushing your focus and state of mind into the future. Whether it’s a challenge, fear, goal or project, it’s easy to get thrown off course, especially during daily work-storms.

That’s why right now, is the perfect time to stop, sit quietly and self-reflect upon your year. If you don’t take the time to acknowledge your wins, experiences and learnings, then how will you be able to set the right goals and replicate these success building habits, let alone recognize when you achieve them!

Instead, you wander blindly on your path to designing the life you want, continue to live in a reality blind-spot, and consequently, create more unintended results and upsets that are often a repetition of your past; failing to achieve anything extraordinarily new. This prevents growth and personal evolution.

Which brings me to something I encourage you to complete to start you on the right path and mindset in the New Year. What follows is an essential exercise that will enable you to reflect upon your 2018 wins & set the right goals and strategy for 2019 to make this your best year yet!

For most people, this is simply a habit you need to develop, starting with scheduling self-reflection time into your calendar every day. Now, instead of looking back upon your day and focus on what you didn’t do or achieve, this is your time to acknowledge what you did accomplish each day.

As seemingly insignificant as you may think, you do great things every day that make an impact on you, others and your company, which continually move you forward! But if we don’t take the time to acknowledge these things, then how will we be able to replicate these success building habits, let alone recognize when we achieve them!

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

– Socrates

Which brings us to the following exercises and questions to reflect upon and answer. This will become your starting point to ensure you stay on the right path and mindset to achieve what you want most in the New Year.

8 Steps to Create an Extraordinary 2019:

1.    Review, refine or create your personal vision statement. Keep in mind, if your’e a business owner or manager, there’s also going to be a team vision you create, aside from the company vision. For now, just focus on your personal vision statement. Simply, imagine a blank canvass. What would your ideal life look like? In every area, such as finance, relationships, career, health, home, community, lifestyle, spirituality, and so on. When you craft a clear vision statement of who you are and what you want your life to be, only then can set the right goals that are aligned with your ideal life.

2.    Write out your core values and priorities. These are the things that keep you in integrity, that are a reflection of who you are, not what you do. And when your values are honored, you are now living in a place of full self-expression and pace of mind. Some examples of values could include: family, creativity, adventure, family, love, self-care, lifelong learning, self-expression, positively impacting and supporting others, achievement, life balance, faith, innovation, community, personal connection, philanthropy, vulnerability, inner peace, health, joy, purpose, and so on.

3.    Set your top goals for the year. Now that you’re clear with your ideal life, values and priorities, you’re ready to set value-based goals! Don’t get crazy here. Two personal goals and two business/career goals are a great place to start. Ensure they are specific, measurable and have a deadline associated to them. If you have more, then don’t hesitate to list them, and then you can prioritize.

A goal properly set is halfway reached.”

– Zig Ziglar

Interestingly, you’ll find that you’ve already achieved some of your goals you listed because they’re part of your lifestyle, rather than something you aspire to achieve by a certain deadline. For example, rather than have a goal of ‘being healthy,” if you have that time set aside every day to practice extreme self-care, and have a healthy diet, then it’s no longer a goal with a finite end point. It’s a lifestyle and something that’s part of your daily routine.

When it comes to your goals, list the specific areas you’d like to work on or measurable results you want to achieve. (In thinking, action, accountability, skills, communication, time management, processes, relationships, finance, health, career, etc.)

4.    Write out the things you are most grateful for this year. I did, so use my list as a springboard to create a list that inspires you. I’m sure you’ll find many similarities. Here’s the article.

5.    List what you’re most proud of achieving this year. You have accomplished more than you think! Honor the changes and achievements you had this year. This includes activity, skill, results as well as a positive change in your mindset, attitude and thinking. Reflect on all your progress for the year to truly see how much you’ve achieved! You’ve done remarkable things; some of which you’ve never done before!

6.    List the one or two challenges you’re still struggling with that you want to overcome.

7.    Master Time Management. How well are you mastering your routine and owning your day? Without a well-defined routine that reflects the daily activities you need to engage in every day that move you closer to your goals, including the activities that maintain harmony, health, joy, purpose and peace in your life, the goal attainment process will either fail, or you’ll be making it exponentially difficult to achieve them. Consequently, something will get sacrificed, which is typically your own self-care and the ability to honor your priorities and personal values.

8. Find an Accountability Partner. Who are you going to empower to be your accountability partner to achieve your goals while honoring your lifestyle and daily routine? Family, friends, your manager or even better, your own personal coach?

Once you’ve completed the steps above, this will be your guiding light and North Star for the year. Now you can design your strategy for goal-attainment, and identify the daily activities that are aligned with your goals, vision and priorities, which will ultimately be reflected in your daily routine. This will keep you focused on moving forward, while honoring what is most important to you. Subsequently, the goal attainment process can now become an enjoyable experience!

Now you have a starting point to create your ideal year and live with intention and clarity, rather than by reaction and overwhelm.

I wish you a very happy, healthy, peaceful and meaningful holiday season and spectacular 2019! I look forward to contributing to your success in the New Year!

P.S. – Send me an invitation to connect on LinkedIn, where I post a ton of unique content that you can’t find anywhere else, and follow me on Twitter. Also, join our Sales Leadership group on LinkedIn. If you have any questions, please feel comfortable to reach out to my anytime. IT would be my pleasure to support you any way I can.