Look back at 2012
The first step is to take a very close look at the past year. What have you accomplished? Have you reached the goals you set a year ago? If you give some thought to the things you’ve done and the disciplines you’ve maintained to achieve those goals. What have you learned from that process?
If you have not achieved what you set out to do consider why you have not. How might you do things differently in the future? What obstacles did you encounter? How much of those barriers were external and how much of it was your failure to follow through? To what extent did you fail to maintain crucial self-discipline such as regular review of your goals, taking consistent steps to achieve them, being persistent in your efforts, etc?
Do not beat yourself up about where you fell short. It does no good to beat yourself up. Only constructive criticism is useful. If you are being self-critical do so in a constructive manner. What have you learned from your failures and set-backs? What can you do to avoid those next year?
Re-examine your goals
At least once each year it is very useful to re-examine your goals. Do they remain valid for you? Have circumstances changed in such a way that you should re-evaluate them? Did you learn things about how best to achieve your main goals that require a readjustment in your approach?
This is a difficult process. It may be tempting to give up on a goal if you did not have full success. Is your inclination to give up and abandon a goal a genuine reassessment of what you want to achieve or an easy way to just give up the effort? Remember that success always requires long term sustained effort and persistence.
The challenge here is to avoid pursing something that your heart is no longer invested in while not succumbing to the temptation to give up before you have determined you are headed in the wrong direction.
This process requires serious discernment. It requires some reflection. One good idea is to devote some quiet private time to thinking these things through. If you feel stuck talk to a trusted friend or mentor about where you are and what you are stuck on.
To discern thoughtfully requires some time and effort. Before choosing a path for an entire year you owe it to yourself to plan carefully and make sure you are headed in the right direction.
You have several weeks left in 2012 to reflect on these things and make a decision. Set a deadline for yourself. One good deadline is December 31. If you have a deadline to work against you are more likely to make progress and complete this process.
Look forward to 2013
Once you have thoroughly examined your performance in 2012 and discerned what you want to stay with and what you want to change you are ready to plan for next year. If you have reflected adequately in the coming weeks you will be ready to make some plans for 2013.
The exact dates are not important. Some people set their goals on New Year’s Day but there is no magic in that – it only offers a good reminder – a good goal post to work toward. If you do not get it done soon you will find the weeks of the next year pass by without having completed your process of planning.
Remember that if you do not plan your year others will. If you do not set your sail and navigate your life then all of the other forces in life and the people in your life will tug and pull on your and direct what you do and do not do.
While it is true that despite the best of plans things will happen to derail you in some instances, the planning serves a good purpose in focusing your attention and energy on what you want to accomplish.
Later this month we will consider making those plans for 2013.
Wishing you success and prosperity,
Daniel R. Murphy
Helping People Learn to Build Wealth
Daniel R. Murphy
Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.