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Reflecting now to create a successful year ahead

Now is a great time to reflect on the past year and plan for the next. 

Every year, I carve out time to go through a series of questions and activities that help me develop greater awareness, gratitude, insight and intention as a business leader. In this new video, I share my annual year-end practice that involves:

  • Looking back
  • Assessing myself
  • Letting go
  • Envisioning the future
  • Setting goals

I hope this gives you ideas for how you might learn from your past, plan for your future, and become a better leader with the same kind of thoughtful intention.

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Transcript

At the end of each year, I set aside some time to reflect on the past year and plan for the next.

I’ve found doing a year-end self-reflection is a valuable ritual that helps me cultivate gratitude, increase awareness, gain clarity and be intentional about what’s next -- for my business and for myself personally. I thought I’d share with you my annual year-end practice so that you might learn from your past, plan for your future and become a better leader with the same kind of thoughtful intention.

First, I look back on the past year. I go through each month and identify anything -- events, people, projects – of significance. And then I ask myself a few questions:

  • What am I most grateful for?
  • What am I most proud of?
  • What did I learn?
  • What or who influenced me the most?
  • What would I have done differently if given the chance? 

This provides a good assessment of how I did in the past year. To assess what I did, I ask myself, what were my biggest accomplishments and what were my biggest challenges?

I write all my answers down, and then look at them through the lens of my personal purpose statement and core values, so I can determine if and how I lived them out.

Then, I spend a few moments getting closure on the past year. This is something I learned from my friend and colleague, Steven Morris, author of "The Beautiful Business." He taught me to think about what I need to confess, forgive or let go of before I move on. 

Then, I turn my attention to the coming year and go through three questions:

  • How do I want to be different on Dec. 31 of next year vs. how I am today?
  • What kind of impact do I want to have in the coming year? 
  • Who do I need to connect and collaborate with to fulfill my purpose and move me and my business forward?

I answer these questions primarily from the perspective of my role as a business leader, but of course, personal, emotional, social and spiritual factors tie in as well.

I look at my answers and determine what it will take for me to accomplish what I’ve laid out. And then I set goals for the new year using the SMART acronym of specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

I end my year-end reflection time by identifying a word or phrase to define or symbolize the year ahead -- and I use this word or phrase to stay centered throughout the next year.

We spend a lot of time and energy doing business reviews, making annual business plans, and setting business goals. It’s just as important to do this for ourselves, so we can be better, more effective, more inspiring and inspired leaders.