The best way to make sure you don't relive the same year over and over is to do a formal review of the past 365 days and create a plan of what to do throughout the next.
Sure, there is comfort in sticking to routines, but this quickly will lead you into a Groundhog Day lifestyle. You'll be going nowhere fast.
I've seen people around me live the same year over and over, be it in work, relationships, or personal growth--and I'm even guilty of it myself. Before launching my own business, I was working in a corporate job where the passing of each fiscal year felt exactly the same. It wasn't until I decided to get really honest with myself and reflect upon my life that things began to change.
If you are an entrepreneur looking to grow, the best thing you can do right now is pause and reflect. Here are the seven questions to ask yourself in this annual reflection that'll best guide you toward helpful answers.
1. Who or what would you like to praise?
The answer to this can be acknowledging or praising anyone: a mentor, a family member, or an inspiring figure. It doesn't matter. The important component of this question is understanding why you want to acknowledge them. So often we aspire and respect others because there is something within them that we aspire to embody within ourselves.
2. What would you like to praise yourself for?
As business owners and entrepreneurs, it can be so easy to pinpoint the strengths and wins of others. That's your role as a leader. But asking this of yourself might be challenging. Take the time to really get clear on the strengths you exhibited throughout the year and how you want to continue to grow them moving forward.
3. What would you like to let go of moving into 2021?
When you get really honest about what is holding you back, your future won't feel so heavy. This could be letting go of anything from a business partnership, a product launch, an employee, to even a mindset. Look at what or who drains your energy most.
4. What did you love most about 2020?
Reflection isn't only dedicated to mistakes or regrets. Spend some time celebrating your biggest wins and the highest moments within your year. While 2020 was a hard year for most, perhaps your biggest win was recognizing the value of connection with others or the importance of your family. Find gratitude for what you have in order to create more positive moments moving toward the future.
5. What would you want more of, or want to be different in 2021?
Review which aspects of your career, business, and personal life you want more of, and then outline what changes would elevate your life in each area. For business, this may mean hiring a new employee, or perhaps it means adjusting your marketing campaign. Build these goals out before the new year begins, so you'll be ready to take action in the first few weeks.
6. What would you need to feel complete closure in 2020?
To start the new year with a clean slate, pinpoint what unwanted doors are still open and then shut them for good. In 2018, I wanted closure around living in a state of fear. As a result, I dedicated the majority of the following year to getting out of my comfort zone, so much that I found comfort in the uncomfortable. This wouldn't have been possible had I not recognized this need in the first place.
7. What's next for you in the week ahead?
While it is very valuable to look at the big picture, there is also great treasure in being present and assessing your immediate needs. When you can look at life from a birds-eye view, it becomes easier to then zoom in and see what you need on a granular level. Tuck the larger vision of the year into your mind and begin to make daily decisions based on this overall landscape.
Whatever chapter of life you are in, ongoing reflection and goal setting will help you turn into a better version of yourself, no matter what happened in your past.