I’m not big on New Year’s Resolutions. For me, setting goals is a constant, not a once-a-year occasion. Plus, as we know, most people don’t stick to their resolutions. They lose interest once the novelty wears off. That’s why I focus more on making consistent progress than dramatic changes. However, answering year end reflection questions provides a powerful opportunity to reflect on the past year and plan for the next one.
I have a tendency to charge forward on new goals and often don’t take the time to reflect on the past. Performing this review, then, will give me a chance to learn from both my successes and my mistakes. Also, it will force me to sort through the mess that is my Notes files (yes, I’m a Notes junkie), Google Docs, and mind maps, unearthing all the goals/lessons that I’ve written over the past year. In doing so, I’ll invite you to review your goals for 2018, honestly assess where you’re at, and use this information to refine your goals or create new ones.
Year End Reflection Questions?
What Were Your Biggest Accomplishments?
Taking pride in your accomplishments helps to keep the positive momentum going. It also serves as a positive reminder of all you’re capable of on those days when you’re feeling discouraged.
Here’s what I’m happy about in 2018:
- Started this blog and (for the most part) have consistently posted once a week
- Finished applying all my editor’s suggestions to my novel manuscript
- Obtained a regular copywriting gig for The Great Courses. This is ideal because I get to write AND learn about cool subjects like religion and architecture…essentially like being a student!
- Landed a writing gig for Kris Dillard who has long been a huge source of inspiration for me. I’d highly recommend that you check out his YouTube channel The Power of Quiet.
Speaking of copywriting — if you need a writer, let’s get in touch! Although personal development and education are my specialties, my boyfriend and I work as a team and he’s highly proficient in all things technical.
How Much Progress Did You Make On Your 2018 Goals/Projects?
In March 29 of 2018, I (apparently) wrote in a mind map that my novel would be published in exactly one year. Now that it’s nearly January, March 29 is looking pretty close…though not impossibly close.
Yes, I finished the edits, but I stalled for months after that.
Here’s where I went wrong. I set the goal, but I did not break it up into steps and set individual deadlines.
Once I got past the familiar part — writing and editing — my plan ended. Marketing is unfamiliar territory for me, so I wasn’t sure how long the steps would take or how to account for factors outside of my control such as turnaround time for a cover designer.
What Needs To Change?
All the same, I could be MUCH more proactive in planning out the process. Plus, missing one of my deadlines is better than having no deadline at all because at least it gives me something to aim toward and adjust if necessary.
With that in mind, I printed out Productive Flourishing’s Individual Project Planner, wrote down all the anticipated steps, set two deadlines for the rest of January, and put it on the wall next to my workspace.
Now this manuscript is once again a priority for me and for my boyfriend, who is helping with refining and marketing the book. He brings it up every day, which in turn get me excited about it. It’s crazy to think that I was just letting it lie dormant when I was so close to the finish line!
What Habits Are Holding You Back?
Often, though, what’s standing between you and your goals is not just one thing but a series of behaviors or habits. These can be trickier to unlock because they’re so deeply ingrained in us.
However, I had a breakthrough when reading Sandra Pawula’s enlightening questions in How to Capture Your Most Important 2018 Life Lessons, which included, “What distracts me?”
Email and Quora used to be the top culprits. Thankfully, my inbox no longer holds the same allure. Now I typically check it no more than twice a day, if that. I still occasionally find myself getting roped in by a Quora headline in my inbox, but I’ve trained myself to only read that entry (ok, maybe one or two more), click out of the window, and then delete the email so I’m not tempted to keep scrolling down.
But of course, new distractions pop up to take their place. The trickiest are “grey area distractions.” Mine are:
- Facebook social share threads
Don’t get me wrong, both of these tools have been absolutely essential for my growth. In fact, they’re probably the only reason I get visitors at all because it certainly hasn’t been my SEO skills. Not to mention that these have both been an invaluable source of inspiration and networking. In fact, building communities with amazing writers is the MOST rewarding part of blogging for me by far.
But there’s days (especially in the beginning) where hours go by and it’s unclear whether I’m actually benefiting my business. Is this just a fun distraction from the harder work of creating content?
Honestly, though, I LOVE writing and editing new posts. I don’t think it’s procrastination. I think it’s a case of FOMO.
So now, while I still participate in several incredible groups on a regular basis, I’m more intentional about how much time I spend, setting timers and reminding myself that I don’t have to engage with every single post. Nor do I have to read every word of every article I share on Pinterest. I can’t let FOMO overpower my obligation to myself and my readers.
What Goals Would You Modify? Any New Goals?
I’ll tell you mine — partly for accountability, but also so I won’t have to rifle through a bunch of random files next year!
I think you already know what one of mine is — to publish my novel! I’ve already brought another goal of mine to fruition, which is to launch a natural health blog. Right now the site is in its rudimentary stage, but I’ll let you know when it’s ready to view. I plan to post once a week along with Generate Magic. Crazy, I know, but I’m confident I can make it work!
It’s also important to set personal (non-business) goals. Here are mine:
- Spend more quality time with my boyfriend (tennis, watching movies, etc.)
- Reconnect with friends
- Continue to get in touch with myself through meditation and journaling
Did You Keep Things in Perspective?
What’s wonderful about goals is that they give us something to strive for. At the same time, though, don’t cling too tightly to the outcome.
Now, you might say that my goals are focused on actions such as “publishing” and “posting” rather than outcomes such as traffic and monthly income.
That doesn’t mean I don’t think about these things, though. In the back of my mind, I’m still hoping that my efforts will result in increased readership and more revenue.
That’s why I bring up this point. It’s so important to honor those areas of your life not related to your goal. Take time to enjoy small pleasures.
Sometimes I get so attached a goal that I forget to come up for air and everything falls to the wayside. Then when I don’t get my desired outcome, I’m devastated. If I do get it, the happiness is fleeting.
As a teen, I’d be absolutely crushed when I lost a writing competition or a tennis match. Yet when I look back on my big dreams in high school and college, they mean very little to me now.
Goals are valuable tools for growth and self-knowledge. They propel us to carry out our potential and in turn, enrich the lives of others.
Just don’t fixate on the result. I think what works best is a flexible approach. Maybe you didn’t get what you were aiming for, but something even better is waiting just on the horizon.
What Lessons Did You Learn?
As much as I’ve enjoyed working on my goals and setting new ones, I haven’t always been so diligent about my inner work, even though that’s just as — perhaps, more — important. That’s why I love this question, also from Sandra’s article: “Which lessons, insights, perspectives, and new behaviors would you like to carry forward into the new year?”
- Whatever you’re not getting is what you’re not giving
- My ideal self is not something I must grow into but rather inside me waiting to emerge. I need to cultivate the right conditions for emergence by taking action (not waiting for things to be perfect) and remaining strong in the face of distractions
- I can be intentional about what states of consciousness I wish to inhabit
Now, instead of starting a new year feeling disappointed that I didn’t accomplish what I set out to do, I’m excited for what lies ahead!
Tell me: What are your biggest lessons from 2018? What goals will you revise or carry with you into 2019?