The end of the year is often filled with planning activities. For many creative people. though, the thought of planning is beyond boring.
It can be black and white — after all it does involve looking at numbers. When you get right down to it, though, getting your big dreams and goals down on paper and figuring out how to accomplish them is creative. Especially when you get out those colored markers and pencils!
For more than ten years, I hosted an annual Planning Day, and we always start with looking back. Instead of jumping into what next year looks like, take time to clear out this year. Look at the good, the bad, and the lessons learned. This will let you celebrate what you accomplished and put you in a positive place to start the new year.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to go back to look at your weekly Success and Strategies Summit sheets, if you are keeping those. (SSS is a tool many ICAP members use that lets them review what they are doing each week and celebrate their accomplishments.)
If you don’t use this tool, get out your calendar/planner or journal and go back to the beginning of the year. Start making a list of what you accomplished. And, think everything, not just big things.
Most people are pleasantly surprised by how much they really have accomplished. Since so many of us work from our homes, we don’t have a support team in our office cheering us on and congratulating us. Our accomplishments can get lost in the rush to start something new. By taking the time to actually celebrate our accomplishments, we build confidence to take the next steps in our creative businesses.
As you look at the accomplishments, ask yourself, what you learned from them. What habits did you put in place? What were the challenges that you overcame? How did you get past that negative chatter? You will be able to pull on this when you have challenges in the new year.
Look, too, at the impact that you had. Did you reach more people with your creative work? Did you change their lives? (I am betting you did.) Talk about confidence building.
As you go through your calendar, you will also see disappointments from the year. Perhaps you didn’t reach the sales goal you projected. Or you did not finish your book. Or the classes you offered didn’t fill.
Look for the lessons here. Should you have better systems or habits? Do you need to brush up on certain skills to improve your results going forward? It is not about beating yourself up; it’s about learning how to improve.
What’s interesting about the disappointments and any negative chatter that’s associated with them, is that we are the ones who see that. They aren’t obvious to most people around us.
We are capable of so much more than we realize. So ask what limitations you put on yourself. Also, ask what the costs and benefits have been. Sounds kind of odd, but you do find benefits in holding ourselves back. Understanding both the costs and benefits helps you reframe the limiting beliefs and move forward.
Once you put this year to rest, so to speak, you are ready to tackle setting goals for next year. Life is a classroom, so take what you learned, the good and the bad, and use it to put your best foot forward in the new year.
Here’s one of my favorite quotes that I remember when setting goals:
The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.
It’s your turn!
Have you looked back at what you accomplished? What did you discover?