A time to reflect, a time to plan

As another year draws to a close it is always worthwhile reflecting on what has happened over the past year. A great way to do this is to think about things over four areas:

1. National & international
2. Family & friends
3. Personal
4. Work & professional development

This merely provides a simple framework to get the thinking going. Just grab a notebook and pencil and write things down, from memory, that come to mind. This is great to do with someone else such as family or friends. It is amazing what surfaces in a few short minutes. Often many things we had forgotten, some of them significant. As an example I had forgotten a major new qualification I was awarded in the middle of the year, even though it had taken considerable effort.

With this list to hand the next step is to consider what you would like to achieve over the coming year, and note them down. Once you have captured everything you can think of, prioritise them, which should give you great insight into what should be on your agenda for the upcoming year. TIP: keep the number down to a manageable few rather than an unrealistic many.

I have noticed this year that the media are keen to rubbish ‘new year resolutions’, saying that they don’t work. And rarely does anyone get past the first few weeks of January before they have fallen by the wayside. It seems like a bandwagon that presenters have jumped on, even making the glib statement that they have made a resolution….not to make any resolutions. Whilst this may get a chuckle, I think we need to be careful to dismiss something that can create value for us, as the new year unfolds. The main reason why resolutions, or goals, fail to be implemented is that they are probably the wrong goal, or our commitment, made after a few glasses of something alcoholic as the new year creeps ever closer, are ill formed, made in haste or the wrong goal.

If you have completed the exercise at the start of this article you will know that many things happened over the past year. Some we had no control over, such as a foreign election; some were dependent upon a number of us working through something, such as our summer vacation; others were down to our own determination and will, such as a fitness or learning goal.

It is for this reason that if we take charge of a few goals it can make the new year a time of opportunity, to achieve something noteworthy. Yes, some events were out of our control, others only happened because we took charge and did something that may have been a little uncomfortable. TIP: we grow in the stretch zone, not in our comfort zone.

Now are you going to make plans for next year? Goals to achieve that you will look back on in a year’s time and be pleased that you made time to plan, and then took action. Or, like so many, will you spend more time planning the family vacation than planning your life?

And if you are wondering if it is all worth the effort, remember the quotation:

“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” Dwight D Eisenhower (US Army General & US President)

My best wishes,


PS If you need help with your goals or some accountability, do get in touch.

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