Here’s an updated version of a classic article that first ran on Jan. 5, 2017.
As the year begins, we are reminded of the many excitements that the new year brings — a fresh start and a renewal of our dedication to our goals.
Many times we may forget to take the time to reflect on the past year and to establish where we want the new year to take us.
Today, I want to give you some strategies that you can use to ensure you take full responsibility for the year that’s passed and move forward with renewed energy and commitment to yourself and your goals.
1. Write down your unfinished goals.
First, take the time to write down all of the things you planned to accomplish last year that you maybe missed the mark on. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, we all have things that we plan to do — whether it’s losing weight, investing our money, getting a new job, or getting that raise — that we might not have fully accomplished. Be honest with yourself about this.
Remember, in order to change anything in your life, you must first take 100% responsibility for everything in it.
Then, list the reasons why you didn’t fully achieve the results you intended for each of the things on your list. This will help in taking responsibility for the outcome.
2. Reflect on the goals you accomplished.
After you have your list and reasons, make another list of all that you did accomplish in the past year in all the different areas of your life. Write down even the smallest wins and the progress you’ve made toward the bigger goals even if they aren’t fully accomplished yet.
Maybe you cleaned out the clutter in your garage, taught your child how to ride their bike, or developed a new skill that is bringing you closer to your bigger goals. Twelve months is a significant amount of time and each day in itself holds a small victory. It’s very likely that this list will be much longer than the one you previously made.
When you have both lists in front of you, a few things will happen:
First, you are going to see the ways in which you have room to improve for the upcoming year. You may even feel a sense of renewed energy to create plans for how to better approach those unfinished goals.
While examining your list of unfinished business, it’s very important that you do not see it as your failures, but rather as all the chances you now have in this upcoming year to continue improving, to continue working hard and to put forth your maximum amount of effort toward achieving your big overarching goals.
As you look at your list of things you have accomplished, you will feel an enormous sense of pride and accomplishment as you acknowledge all of your successes. Take a moment to let all of your effort, dedication and achievement sink in.
This process of facing the reality of this past year, paired with the excitement of all you have accomplished, will provide a true sense of closure for the past year. This process of self-reflection is critical to your ongoing success in the year to come.
3. Turn your attention to the coming year.
Resolve to accept the areas you fell short and rededicate yourself to leaving behind any feelings of regret. Turn your attention to the pattern of accomplishment you’ve created in the other areas of your life, and set an intention for the new year to continue on that path.
Brian Tracy writes about personal and business success.