As the year comes to a close, it’s tempting to jump into next year’s planning right away. The past is over. So, it’s time to move on, right?
But before you move forward, first consider taking a moment to reflect on your past. Reflection will create more self-awareness, helping you make better decisions in the future.
You may feel you are already self-aware, but perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to spend a moment reflecting anyway.
In over eight hundred reflection and self-awareness studies by Dr. Tasha Eurich, 95% of people rated themselves as self-aware; however, only 10% to 15% were.
Are you in the 10%?
Despite reflecting daily, I recently reviewed my past year and learned enormous lessons that I can apply to next year. The benefits grossly outweigh the time spent.
It is essential to understand where you are coming from to know what steps to take next.
Imagine you are baking a cake for an important dinner.
You mix up all the ingredients, throw it in the oven and bake it at the wrong temperature, but don’t notice it’s not cooked entirely through.
When your guests are ready for dessert, you proudly present this beautiful cake.
As soon as your knife pierces the crust, you realize the entire inside is mush. You apologize profusely, crumbling in embarrassment. Your guest then assures you that it’s a good thing since he’s allergic to peanuts. Luckily, you have ice cream as a backup!
The next time you have these guests over, you decide to bake the exact cake to redeem yourself, except you did not take time to reflect on your mistake. What do you think may happen?
Well, you may end up in the same situation with a mushy cake or, in the worst-case scenario, with an allergy attack.
Without reflection and self-awareness, you have “blind spots,” poor judgment, and may even wind up in the ER.
By asking simple questions such as “what would I do differently next time?” or “how can I create a better outcome?” you may likely have chosen a different dessert that is better suited to your guests. Everyone would have an improved experience!
By analyzing past thoughts and actions, you are more equipped to interpret your experience and improve future outcomes. Self-awareness and reflection allow you to learn and best understand what to work on next.
And there is another crucial reason to reflect as well.
Ever notice how you are rushing to get everything done? Once you finish something, you immediately start your next task.
Reflection also enables you to savor the moment, take time to soak in your accomplishments, and proudly celebrate your wins.
This small act will give you a boost, helping you tackle your goals next year confidently!
So how do you best reflect?
It’s ideal to be in a relaxed, quiet, comfortable environment if possible. It will give you the focus and space you need to reflect deeply.
Below are some reflection questions that may bring insight. Try to think of at least three examples for each.
Based on the past year:
1. What are you most proud of?
2. What are you celebrating or grateful for?
3. What did you do for the first time?
4. What did not go so well?
5. What have you learned that you want to bring into the next year?
6. What would you like to do better / do more next year?
Once finished, make sure to take a moment to celebrate your wins. You have come a long way since last year! How can you truly feel proud, appreciate what you have accomplished, and celebrate? Perhaps it’s time to treat yourself to a reward? What will you do to celebrate?
Yes, of course, certain things along the way did not go well. How is this an opportunity for learning or growth? How can you do better next year?
List any significant projects or events that occurred in the past year and for each, answer the following:
1. What went well?
2. What did not go well?
3. What did you learn?
Ideally, reflect on these more frequently in the upcoming year so that you can learn and improve immediately.
If willing to take your reflection deeper, a SWOT analysis is a great way to become aware of your unique selling points and adjust for possible changes in the market. This acronym stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
There are two sides to a SWOT analysis, Internal and External. As seen below, Strengths and Weaknesses are Internal (inside your business), while Opportunities and Threats are External (outside your business).
Strengths & Weaknesses: Internal
What are the strengths of your business?
– How are you outstanding?
– Do you have a unique offer?
– Do you have a unique style?
– Do you have a vast audience?
– Are you great at sales?
– What is a considerable strength that you have that your competitors don’t have?
What are the weaknesses of your business?
– Do you struggle to connect on social media?
– Do you have to sell a lot of a product for a return on investment?
– Do you have minimal cash reserves?
– Do you wear all of the hats in the business, and you feel burnt out?
– Do you have multiple companies and no time?
Opportunities & Threats: External
What opportunities do you have currently?
– Can you streamline your business this year?
– Can you create multiple income streams?
– Can you hire a VA?
– Collaborate with someone?
Can you open up opportunities through someone else’s audience on their Instagram or Podcast?
What possible threats do you face?
– Do all of your clients come from one place (or platform) that you do not control?
– Does someone else offer a better product that is less expensive?
– Is there a lot of competition?
Once you complete your SWOT Analysis, you will be better positioned in the market by enhancing your strengths and opportunities and lessening weaknesses or threats. Make sure to conduct a risk assessment and brainstorm solutions to avoid potential challenges or obstacles ahead of time.
The more you reflect and understand what has worked in the past, the better equipped you will be to improve your strategy in the future.
By becoming self-aware and understanding where you are, you can greet next year with insight, having a more extraordinary ability to create an impactful future!
Cheers to this past year’s success and building the foundation for your future success tomorrow!
And if you need help knowing what steps you should be taking to create a life and business you love, The Clutter to Clarity Course is for you.
- Identify your vision so that you can feel more clarity around the direction of your business
- Develop clear planning strategies so that you know what to do next
- Have more accountability so that you can confidently take clear action in your business
Cheers to a successful year ahead!