Looking Back to Move Forward by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

As we reach year end, it’s natural to pause for reflection on the past year and to anticipate the year to come. One of the best ways to ensure productivity and mindfulness in the coming year is to combine those two efforts into an exercise that helps you use the past to shape the future.

As the year ends, take the time to reflect on all the things that went well in your business, and to consider what you can do to replicate those things in the coming year. Set goals to go even further than last year, if appropriate, using the data from this past year to help you list the tasks you must carry out to reach your new goals.

Take a look, as well, at the things that didn’t go as planned in your business. Were the goals the wrong goals to begin with? If the goals were appropriate, list the things that got in your way and kept you from reaching the goals. Adjust for the coming year and mark your calendar to check in on your progress and make adjustments quarterly.

Reflect on the things that brought you happiness this past year. Whether it was a great vacation, extra time spent with family, or rewarding volunteer work, be sure you’ve noted its impact on your life. Then, make sure to include more of it in your plans for 2018.

Finally, make note of the things from 2017 that caused you unhappiness. Determine how you can rid your life of these things, or at least minimize their impact on your happiness. If you have toxic relationships, vow to fix these or leave these.

Once you’ve reflected on all these areas of your life, be sure to take into account new things you want to bring into your life in 2018. Have you neglected to pursue interests or relationships because of work or other commitments? If so, make a plan to add these activities to your life.

Every year brings a new opportunity to improve our lives. Reviewing the past year and using its events and results, both good and bad, can help us to see the areas where we are excelling, as well as those where we need to make adjustments. As you celebrate this holiday season, don’t forget to look back and look forward.