It’s that time of year. It’s time for me to sit down and review my year. This is one of the most important things I believe everyone needs to do to clear out the year and start fresh. In fact, I would recommend you do it more than once a year but if you’re just getting started, here are 3 things I would suggest:
What sucked? Yes, that’s right, what sucked about 2016? What went wrong? What went pair-shaped? What mistakes did you make? What did you screw up? What did you completely fail at?
People always ask me, “Why do you start with something so negative?” Because a lot of people are motivated by the bad stuff. Let’s face it, we are motivated when we are flat broke in Baton Rogue waiting for a train, feeling near as faded as our jeans! Song lyrics aside, when we are down and out, when we are at the bottom, we have a tendency to be really motivated to improve. I want to harness that motivation right away. I also want to get it out in the open so we aren’t burying it as if it didn’t happen. It’s about being real with ourselves and being honest. Sometimes we screw up. Sometimes we don’t try hard enough. Okay. Write it down and let’s move on.
What rocked? What went really well in 2016? What went right? What did you accomplish? What was stunning? What did you excel at?
This is much more fun. And yet, when I do this in my Strategic Planning Workshop, this list is WAY SHORTER than the list of stuff that went wrong. Why? Because our brains love holding on to and remembering all the negative junk. And also because when bad stuff happens, it’s emotionally charged in our memories. When good stuff happens, we don’t have the same intensity of emotional charge. Why? Because normal people don’t celebrate their successes like I do. When I found out that the organizers of the NLP Mindfest chose me to kick off the event and put me on the first day, I ran around my house screaming and shouting and doing my happy dance. Later that night I opened a bottle of wine and toasted my success. Most people don’t celebrate like I do. And this is why they don’t remember the good stuff. To help you out, I suggest getting out your calendar and reviewing the year month by month searching for stuff that went right. What trips did you take? What awards did you get? What clients did you land? Did you get a bonus or a raise? Stop saying things like “Yea but my bonus sucked!” If you got a bonus, you’re a great worker so celebrate the fact that you earned a bonus!
What did you learn?
Whether it was from the good stuff or the bad stuff, what did you learn in 2016? And once you discover the things you learned, write down what you are going to DO with that learning next year. What actions will you take (or not take) because of the things you learned from this past year? It doesn’t help just identifying what we learned we must know how we are going to behave differently in the future if the learning is going to stick. It’s just a bunch of data without ACTION.
It’s simple enough – just 3 steps to review your year. Do it on the plane or in the car or take some time out from the holiday festivities. Introverts need an excuse to get away from the family so use this. Extroverts can review their year with their family or with their friends. Make it a party! Whatever works for you is fine. Just make sure you review your year in full. I promise that you’ll feel a sense of relief, like a weights been lifted from your shoulders, when you’re done. And dare I say, you might even feel a little motivated for 2017!