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I know it sounds like a gimmick but the best way to move forward with new goals is to look back at how you did achieving your milestones in the past.  The beginning of the year is the perfect time to take a tiny peek back in time. What worked and what didn’t. There are a lot of valuable insights you may find that will help you achieve your new goals in the coming months.

Now don’t go being all Negative Nancy and start beating yourself up about goals you didn’t reach. There may have been a project or two (or three or four) that didn’t quite turn out the way you planned. We ALL have them. Big fish or small – we’ve all been there. Ever hear of Murphy’s Law? So relax and be as objective as you can.

Try reviewing your year as if you were reviewing a friend’s. Don’t nit pick. Instead, focus on looking for patterns and trends that impacted your goals. Looking at it from an outside point of view will make you more open to learning from the process.

Here are a few tips to get you started.

Find your Happy Place

Plant yourself in a nice, quiet, calm space. If you’re trying to evaluate your year in the chaos between cooking dinner, dealing with crazy clients and helping the kids with homework, your picture of the last year may get a little hazy and skewed (ya think?). AND you may miss those all important epiphanies. And that’s what we’re after, right?

Yup! You’re going to want to be in a  quiet space. I personally like to play soft music in the background. Some might like a white noise machine. I won’t tell you what happens when I hear soft rain or a babbling brook in the background. LOL!  Bottom line – whatever allows you to get into a relaxed frame of mind – go for it.

Limit Interruptions

This is HUGE!  I’m talking ginormous HUGE!! This isn’t a process that you can just start and stop every 5 minutes. I hate to say it but turn off or silence your phone and log off of social media. Yes – ALL social media. (EEK!)  Constant dings from your cell and Facebook are distracting and you are going to find it difficult to get back on track after an interruption.  I know I certainly do. This is YOUR time.

It’s also important to pick the best time of day to look back and do your review. If you’re one of those perky morning people (you know who you are and I try not to dislike you), you may be too tired at the end of your day to give this your all. I want you to make the most of the process. Try to schedule your review during a time when you feel alert and energized. Maybe it’s over that morning coffee before you start your day. Or perhaps your alert time is early afternoon. That’s the perfect time to take a stab at this. Mine is mid-morning after I plow through my emails and set my plan for the day.

Take Your Time

This isn’t a race. You don’t win by being the fastest to finish. Evaluating an entire year takes a bit of time. It was 365 days after all. You don’t want to rush through it, however dedicating five hours out of your day probably isn’t feasible. Plus, you’ll burn out long before you’re done and that’s a BAD thing. 😉

Break up the process into smaller chunks and program them into your calendar. Most people find that one hour sessions work the best. It gives you plenty of time to reflect on your year without causing nasty burn out or overwhelm.

If you find doing your year’s evaluation difficult or complicated, working with a good coach or mastermind group can really help. Sometimes it takes a little outside perspective help you see the lessons that can be learned and applied from the last 365 days. Here’s to a successful 2016!

If you’re ready to get rolling, sign up here to claim your free New Year Evaluation workbook.