As another year draws to a close, many people will naturally find themselves entering introspection mode. In years gone by, this may have ordinarily only been something practiced by established high performers. However, given the current popularity of mindfulness, self-awareness and general personal growth. I’d hazard a guess that more people then ever before are considering regularly reviewing their goals and achievements.
No doubt you will find multiple articles around this time of year covering a similar topic. I myself have seen a fair few already, most of which ask the reader to review whether or not they achieved their goals. I’m not convinced I’ve yet seen a list that takes a holistic look at goal achievement – not just focusing on what you personally did, but also how it made you feel, what was the impact, recognising those who may have helped you and identifying what you should be grateful for.
Here are our top 10 questions to help you as you look back in your rear view mirror on the past 12 months:
- What goals did I set? These may have been formal goals that you explicitly wrote down or subconscious goals at the back of your mind. Some of these may only have been thought of part-way through the year. A goal is a goal irrespective of when it was construed or how big or small it is.
- Why did I choose these? What was I hoping to achieve?
- Were these goals realistic? Did I anticipate they would be achieved by the end of the year? What do I know now that I didn’t know then?
- Did I successfully achieve them? If you did, great. But reviewing goals is not a binary black and white activity. This just makes you feel like a failure if you point blank did not fully achieve the goals that were originally set. It’s just as important to consider in parrallel – how did I achieve them? What did I do well? What didn’t go so well? Without making any excuses, understanding the context of your achievements (or lack of) does help you process your own performance.
- How did I treat people? Was I fair and kind? It is all very well to have laser-sharp focus in order to achieve your goals but no (wo)man is an island. Look around you – did you act like a bull in a china shop? Did you do whatever it took to get the results you needed, at any cost? It takes great skill to accomplish the goals you’ve (or your team/organisation) set out to achieve, whilst staying mindful of those around you.
- What did I enjoy most? Let’s face it, we’re not all here for our health. Most of us spend an inordinate amount of our time working. To successfully achieve a goal without enjoying any part of the process would suggest to me that you may need to either review your goals, or review your role / the environment in which you work. In case you haven’t noticed, purpose is a big thing these days and you can bet your bottom dollar you will quickly become unhappy and find work unenjoyable if you do not feel a sense of purpose or enjoyment in the setting and achievement of your goals.
- What am I most proud of? Enjoyment and pride are two very different things. It may have been a challenge to get to where you are, which you may understandably not always have enjoyed, but you might be feeling mighty proud that you succeeded, sometimes against all odds. My crazy brother-in-law once completed the Marathon Des Sables – a five-day, 251 km (156 mile) ultramarathon, approximately the distance of six regular marathons, across the Sahara Desert. I am not sure quite how much he enjoyed it (er, who would?!), but I think now that the dust has settled (quite literally) he’s incredibly proud of his achievement – and so he should be!
- What have been my biggest lessons? Did anything distract or disappoint me? An obvious one, what did I learn from the past year? But sometimes we don’t manage to achieve a goal because something distracted us. Sometimes this is due to one of life’s curve balls that we have zero control over. Sometimes there is an opportunity that you weren’t expecting to come your way that you decided to take advantage of. Look at what didn’t go to plan and revel in knowing sometimes there is a reason for everything. It’s ok to reset those plans and change the course of your journey (whether for positive or negative reasons) if you are consciously aware of what is going on.
- Who or what should I be thankful for? Feeling gratitude is a very important part of the goal-setting process. And if you believe the scientists, it could even afford you increased life satisfaction, wellbeing and happiness. It allows you to keep perspective of what (or who) helped you along the way – work colleagues, family members, childcare providers, even the Barista who supplied the many cups of coffee you needed to get through it all. If you believe in karma, a thank you goes a long way and could earn you some increased loyalty in return.
- Am I ready for next year? Is anything holding me back? What do I need to put in place? What support systems, processes, people, etc will help me take what I’ve done in the past year and move me forwards in terms of achieving my goals for next year?
In our next blog, we’ll ask the top 10 questions to help you move your goals forward over the next 12 months.
In the meantime, we wish “Happy Holidays” to all of our customers and followers. We at Flame want to thank you for all your support this year and wish you all a very Happy New Year!
All the best,
Caroline & Dan