“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.” – T.S. Eliot
So, it’s December, with just a few weeks left until next year.
Whether your reaction to that statement is elation – “hurray!” – or some dread – “oh no!”, this week I’m going to tell you how to wrap up this year with a bow, and plan yourself into a fabulous next year.
A plan? Are you shuddering?
Planning doesn’t always sound so very exciting, and though I do love me a good plan (my public health roots showing through here), even I don’t always follow my own plans exactly.
But one thing I’ve learned over time is that some degree of planning is necessary to ensure success at whatever we do. Tweet that!
But whether you are wanting to change personal habits or get moving on professional goals, experts tell us that creating structure is the best antidote to overwhelm or procrastination. Tweet it!
How can you make the most of what remains this year and be poised for an even better next year?
Review this year
What went well this year? Write down your top three accomplishments or successes this year: your wins, highlights, touchdowns.
On a separate piece of paper, what didn’t go so well? Write down three failures you had this year: things that didn’t fly, mistakes, missed opportunities.
On a third piece of paper, write down what you learned or want to remember about your successes and failures – some advice you’d give to the you of the future.
Here’s the step you’re going to love : destroy (rip up, recycle, etc) the first two pieces of paper, and keep the third.
Then the fun part: celebrate, and raise your proverbial glass to your and your team’s successes and learnings!
Then hustle on over to step two: what’s even better yet to come!
Plan it out
Imagine it’s a year from now.
What do you want to saying about THIS year, a year from now?
What do you want to have done, been, tried, accomplished?
How do you want to have applied your learnings from this past year?
We often skip the step of letting our dreams and goals informing our plans because it can feel “too pie in the sky” or unrealistic.
But forming a plan without knowing what you want to accomplish is like driving your car somewhere without knowing where you want to go! As I often say to my clients, you are more likely to get what you want if you know what it is. Tweet that!
Once you’re clear about what you’re heading for, then plan what you’re do to get there, starting backwards: what steps do you want to have taken by next December, September, June, March?
Then double check your work by examining your plan going forward through the year: what needs to happen early in the year so you’re set up to accomplish your goals by the end of the year?
Keep tweaking your plan by being sure that your early goals and steps lead to the final outcomes you’re wanting, and by checking that later goals have earlier action steps.
Once you have your plan in place, do it!
Monitor your progress weekly, monthly, quarterly: check in with your plan as you go, and adjust as needed.
If you get stuck, enlist a colleague, friend, mentor or coach to help you work through the problem and stay on track.