Now is the best time to reflect on this past year and evaluate what you have learned. Here are three steps to help you clarify the lessons you learned this year while laying the groundwork for advancing your 2014 goals.
Carve Out 40 Minutes
Carve out 40 minutes in your schedule where you will eliminate distractions. Find a quiet place with a notepad, pen and your 2013 calendar. This may be the best 40-minutes you spend this week!
Phone off? Your favorite beverage in place? It’s time to begin.
Step 1: Review Your 2013 Accomplishments (25 min.)
Start by looking back on your accomplishments from this past year. Take out your notepad and draw a vertical line down the middle of the first page. On the top of the left column write, “What I did.” List accomplishments/tasks you completed or started that bring you a sense of pride. Include both your personal life (health, development, changes, etc.) and professional life (initiatives, goals, growth, etc.).
1. “Maintained a good level of fitness”
2. “Developed two new business markets”
On the top of the right column write, “How I did it.” Describe activities surrounding each accomplishment.
1. “Executed solid exercise routine both at home and when traveling”
2. “Followed the methods learned in the Weylman training sessions”
Next, on a separate piece of paper, draw a vertical line down the middle. Only this time use the headings, “Disappointments” and “Corrections.”
Under the heading Disappointments, make a list of attitudes and/or outcomes, that when looking back, you have a feeling or belief that you could have done better. Then develop one or more corrections for each – actions you can initiate, increase or decrease to create better outcomes.
1. “Did not effectively use the open time in my daily schedule”
2. “Did not do a good job of following up with my clients in a timely manor”
1. “First thing when I get into the office spend 20 minutes and develop a game-plan (goals) for that day. Before I leave the office, evaluate how well I was able to execute my plan for that day”
2. “Develop a follow-up system and make a full honest commitment to a same day response”
Step 2: Brain Dump Your Lessons Learned (5 min.)
Finally, on a third piece of paper center the heading, “Lessons Learned.” Begin by looking over your first two pages. As you do so, listen for the lessons that jump out at you. Write them down . . As – Fast – As – You – Can! Don’t stop, analyze or worry about repeating yourself. Go fast. You will review them later. It might be helpful to state some lessons in the following manor;
1. “I can be more productive by being more disciplined in my daily planning and execution”
2. “I can maintain better client relationships by increasing my touches through timely follow-up”
3. “I am most engaged at home when I have “sketched out” the next days to-do list before I leave the office”
4. “I am proud of how I stretched myself to develop new markets”
5. “I need to generate more higher level clients in order to grow my business”
Step 3: Sketch Out Your 2014 Goals (10 min.)
You have now done the groundwork for developing your 2014 goals. When that time comes, pull out the work you have done on these pages. Look them over one more time, add anything new that comes to mind.
Now, group your “Lessons Learned” into categories that make sense to you. For example, Personal Health, Family, Finances, Professional Development, Professional Goals. Under those categories you can develop a number of, “I will” statements that you can use as goals for 2014.