December is here, which means that Christmas is almost upon us! Time for Christmas shopping, tree decorating, and all of the other fun activities and traditions we engage in this time of the year. As important as it to look forward to 2020 and be planning your goals, it is equally as important to look back at 2019 and reflect on every area of your life.
The area that people are most likely to make goals around are their business/career, so that is the area we will be focusing on today. These are goals having to do with promotions, salary increases, sales goals, etc. These goals are typically quantifiable so you will know without a doubt whether or not you have hit your goal.
Looking back at 2019, ask yourself: was I able to hit the career goals that I placed for myself? If you had more than one goal take this time to go through each and every goal and write down a “yes” or a “no”. After you’ve done that, I want you to write next to the “no’s” how far away you were from hitting that goal. So if your goal was to increase sales by 10%, but it only increased by 7%, you would write “3%”.
I want to stop right here and make something very clear: the point of a goal isn’t to hit a goal. I know this sounds completely insane but stick with me for a minute. The reasons to set a goal is so that first, you have a plan, because without one, you’re doomed to fail. Secondly, you set a goal so that you have something to strive for, something you can see. So even though you didn’t hit your goal of 10% from the example above, you still increased your sales by 7% that may never have happened if you didn’t have that goal in place.
After you’ve found the gap between what your goal was and what you accomplished, it is time to look deeper. What did you do well over the past year that allowed you to increase sales? What didn’t work so well that could be changed? What lessons did you learn that can help you achieve even more sales in 2020? These are just some of the questions that you should be asking when reflecting on the past year.
Without reflection, we are doomed to repeat the same shortcomings over and over. Asking questions like these allows you to be proud of the things you did well over the last year, but also allows you to see where you can get better. So many people forget this step, and this makes the difference between a person who continues to move on in their business/career, and someone who stays stuck in the same place.
Finally, you make a plan to bridge the gap in the shortcomings. If, for example, you find you need a better scheduling system for your time, you make a plan to get better in that area. Maybe you start using the calendar app in your phone, or you start using a planner (hint: writing things down always helps us remember better). By becoming aware of the shortcoming, the implementing a plan to grow in said shortcoming, we are increasing our likelihood of success.
Awareness leads to analysis, which leads to change. However, nothing can change if we don’t’ first become aware of it. Awareness happens when we look back and reflect, and ultimately leads to change in our career/business.