Before You Write Down Your Goals for the New Year

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I bet you a dime that you are already thinking about what goals you need to set for next year.

I'm sure you have some type of plans  for goal achievement next year, at least in your head . . .

Look Back First!

But have you stopped and looked at what happened over this past year?

I know we are advised to always face forward and leave the past in the past.  However, when we are trying to create new goals for a new year, this is the IDEAL time to look in the past.

If you feel like you are always running and on the go but, like being on a treadmill, no matter how long you walk or run, you remain in the same spot, then you wanna pay attention from here on.

A New Way of Doing Things

What I’m about to share with you is counter intuitive to how I used to think and what I used to teach my coaching clients.  But not anymore! It’s a new day girl.

Before you start shaking your head no and saying “I don’t have time for that” hear me out.

How many more goals would you crush if you started looking back over your DAY every day?

Here’s what I started doing the middle of 2018 and before I shared it with you, I wanted to test it out.

At the end of every day, I review what happened that day.

What went well and what I could have done better.

This takes about 3 minutes – tops.

At the end of every week, I look back and evaluate the week to see if I accomplished what I said I would. This takes about 5 minutes.

At the end of every month, I look back and see if I accomplished my monthly goals.

Of course, at the end of the year I look back and see if I accomplished my yearly goals.

Important Questions to Ask Yourself

When I’m reviewing the past, I ask myself five questions:

  • What did I achieve that I’m proud of?

  • What didn’t I achieve?

  • What can I do better to achieve what I didn’t achieve?

  • Did I have any “aha” moments or epiphanies?

  • What goals do I need let go of?

I think because of the way we are socialized, we are quick to focus on what we DIDN’T achieve.  As a side note, this is why most people fail at resume writing because we’ve been trained “not to brag on yourself;” Same thing with looking in the past.  We are quick to beat ourselves up about what we didn’t accomplish and ignore all the wonderful things we DID accomplish.

Why the Review is So Important

Doing these reviews has been incredibly helpful to me on so many levels!

First, I look at my results to see what worked and what didn’t, and then I ask myself “What can I do differently?”

When I do this daily and weekly, I can self-correct a lot quicker and not waste so much time doing things I shouldn’t be doing – things that aren’t getting me to where I want to go.  I'm also able to identify something I did not achieve or even something I count as a loss, it forces me to pay attention to what I’m going to do to overcome it, and what I’m going to do differently next time so it doesn’t happen again.

Have you ever been on a long car trip?  I bet you have and if you’re like me (since I don’t like long road trips), you probably focused on how many miles and hours you have left before you reach your destination.

Or how about when you’re trying to lose weight?  You may have lost 10 pounds but instead of celebrating the loss of 10 pounds, you are bemoaning the fact that you’ve got to lost 15 more pounds to arrive at your goal of 25 pounds.

Another thing that’s wrong with always looking ahead at what needs to be done or achieved instead of taking time to look in the past to what has worked, what you’ve already done or achieved is that you constantly feel overwhelmed or that you are not good enough.

When I’m working with my clients, at times they may feel like they are not achieving as much as they thought they would achieve and then they start to doubt that they can achieve their ultimate goal – whatever that goal may be.

That’s when I point out where they are now versus when we started. I ask them questions like: “How much has your revenue grown since we started?” or “How much weight have you lost since we started our sessions?”  Whatever the goal of my clients, I regularly encourage them to look at Point A – where they were when we started and Point B -  where they are now.

It’s easy to overlook all the incremental growth you had in the previous year and then only focus on where you want to be in the future. Instead, try to compare where you are now versus where you were last year at this time.

Look at what you could have done better, but more importantly, look at what you’ve accomplished and take time to celebrate your accomplishments.

You’ll feel better and energized to start the New Year! 

Carmin Wharton is a certified life and business coach to women.  Carmin coaches women who find themselves stuck and unable to move forward while trying to achieve a major life or business goal.  She also helps women through the beginning phase of starting a business.