Now that Barack Obama is headed back to the White House and America is collectively shaking off campaign craziness, personal life in America is turning to eyeing turkeys in the supermarket and scheduling gatherings for the holidays. 

In other words, the end of the year is rushing towards us, and as Kevin Daum recently pointed out here on, it's time for small business owners to bust their excuses and sit down for some serious end of year strategic planning.

Deciding where your company is headed and what you need to do to get it there is absolutely essential, but a year-end review of priorities, strengths, weaknesses and action steps isn't just for your business. It's something individual entrepreneurs need to do as well, argues Pamela Slim, the author of Escape From Cubicle Nation, on her blog.

In a recent post she argues that this time of year is perfect for sitting down and reviewing how the past twelve months has been for you as an individual. Are you fulfilled? Harried? Productive? Then you must begin laying down some goals for making the coming year more personally rewarding. She offers key questions to help get you started, including:

I am at my very best when … What conditions bring out your very best work? What kind of work are you doing when you are kicking major bootie? What people bring out your best work? Without overthinking it too much, brainstorm the factors that bring out your best work. From this list, circle one thing that you will amplify in 2013. 

These things drove me crazy in 2012… Have you been spinning around with the same annoying patterns in your head? Do you have any people in your life that make you nuts? Are you sick and tired of feeling sick and tired? Brainstorm the things that have really made you batty this year. From this list, circle one thing that you will eliminate in 2013.  

Even during tough times this year, I appreciated… Even the most optimistic life coaches have really crappy days. Life can be hard sometimes. If you had a whopper of a year, what are some things that you appreciated as the proverbial doo doo was hitting the fan? Brainstorm the big and small things that kept you grounded in 2012. From this list, circle one thing that you want to appreciate in 2013.

Of course there may be some overlap between your personal and business planning--you and your company are pretty intertwined after all--but spending some time thinking about how to get the best out of yourself sounds like a useful add-on to traditional questions of budgets, target markets and value propositions. Want more inspiration, check out Slim's complete post here, which offers one more question to ask and a video with tips.

Or if you're looking for more ideas on how to reset as the year comes to a close and prepare for an even better 2013, Minda Zetlin has a prescription for achieving a mental detox.

Do you use a formal structure for your New Year's reflections?


Published on: Nov 9, 2012
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