Before you hop on a plane, train, or car for the holidays, carve out some "sacred space," away from the craziness of holiday parties and Christmas shopping, to look back at 2016. Then ask, "Were my goals met?"
Well, there's no better time than now to take inventory of what you set out to accomplish.
Here's how to do it. Use this approach to measure your success in 2016. It will also work splendidly for casting a vision and developing your goals for 2017. Think big and think BHAG!
You'll note that you will be taking inventory of both professional/business goals as well as personal/family goals.
Step 1: Look back at the last 12 months and what you documented in your goals planning. What did you list as your top 3-5 business goals for the year?
For me, I set out in January to find investors and a business partner to scale my offerings to an e-learning platform. While that didn't happen, it helped to get more clarity on a new strategy. So my No. 1 goal for 2017 will be to do more keynote speaking about the power and impact of servant leadership in engaging employees and increasing the bottom line.
Step 2: Ask the following questions to evaluate and determine your path moving forward:
- Looking back at your goals, what had to be done to ensure your goals happened? What key disciplines did you agree to put in place to make sure you succeeded?
- What things did you have to start or stop doing? Did you follow through? Why or why not?
You need to ask these questions for accountability. This isn't meant to give you a guilt trip and depress you. Use these questions to reflect on whether you had the right structure and support system in place to ensure success.
Perhaps it's hard for you to get to work on time. Do you stay up too late the night before mindlessly scrolling through Facebook updates? I struggled with that and I couldn't shut off my brain for hours. Now I have personally committed to turning off my phone by 9 p.m. and reading for an hour. And I've given my wife full permission to hold me accountable if it doesn't happen, since she's on the same bed next to me. Now I sleep within minutes after putting my book down.
Apply these questions to reflect on starting and ending meetings on time, how you managed your emails, and generally speaking, as I have written about, what you should be doing to self-manage and take control of your day.
Whatever the case, it's usually subtle and small changes that produce your best results. For example, how's your diet? Are you eating junk? It may be why your energy is crashing by early afternoon, and taking your productivity with it. More on that below
Step 3: Don't forget your personal/family goals! Take inventory of what you accomplished this year in this area, which is just as important for healthy balance in your life.
For my wife and me, we put money aside to give to worthy charities, especially in support of causes that fight sex trafficking locally. I also committed to spending more time with her by having regular monthly date nights. This will continue on my list for 2017.
And I was able to follow through on staying healthy and fit by swimming regularly to rehab a chronic back condition. And speaking of diet, I also made it a priority to avoid sugar and processed foods. My energy went up this year drastically. Here's what you should eat to get more done in a day.
Step 4: As you did for step 2, ask the following questions for your personal goals:
- When you look back, what had to be done to see these things on your list happen?
- What key disciplines had to be installed for you to be successful?
- What things were an absolute must for you to start doing?
- What things were an absolute must for you to stop doing?
- Did I follow through? Why or why not?
Step 5: This is a "look-in-the-mirror" moment. Seriously consider what's at stake in 2017 by asking this one question.
Now that you took an inventory of 2016, it's time to look ahead to 2017. As you determine what makes your list of goals, ask one question to increase urgency, importance, and meaning: what are the consequences of your goals not being accomplished? Specifically, what's at stake in 2017? How does this affect:
- Employees and colleagues
- Products and services
- The future
- Other relevant factors related to your work/career or business
And finally, what is the future impact if this goes unresolved?