It's the time of the year for new beginnings but I'm a firm believer in reflecting on achievement before setting new goals. With this in mind, I thought I would share with you a great exercise to firstly reflect and celebrate on 2015 and then prepare goals for 2016.
Step one – a snapshot of 2015
On a large sheet of paper, write all the significant happenings of 2015. These can be, people’s names, events, places, projects, books, holidays – really anything that comes to mind, don’t worry about their significance, if they’ve come to mind they are relevant. Keep writing until your page is full. If you need some help remembering, take a look at your diary and see what more comes up for you. Remember significant happenings can be either positive or not so positive.
Step two – what stands out?
Using different coloured pens or highlighters, mark the items that stand out for you – circle, underline, highlight – whatever feels appropriate is just fine. As you’re reviewing your significant happenings you may notice that some items were written big, some small, some maybe already underlined or even already circled – notice now whether you still want them to stand out.
Step three - ranking
Now take a look at your page and identify the items that are compelling and rank these in order of significance – don’t worry about why they are significant, only that they feel significant. What are the top-10? What are the top-3?
Step four - exploration
It’s time to ask yourself some questions about what your list means - what type of year have you had, and what you’d like to have going into 2016.
— What’s surprising about your list?
— What’s predictable about your list?
— Based on this list, what’s important to you?
— Based on this list, what’s not really that important to you?
— In the past year, what are some ways that you’ve grown personally and/or professionally?
— In the coming year, what are some ways you’d like to grow personally and/or professionally?
With all this new information, are you now ready to draft some goals for 2016. Through this exercises you’ve discovered what’s important to you; now focus on how you want to move forward in these specific areas.
I hope you have enjoyed this process. Please do leave me your thoughts and comments below.
***according to my research, the basis of this exercises was originally published by The New York Times in December’07