As the year, in fact the new decade, gets going, it can be a good time to look back and review your progress. Have you achieved all you set out to, done all you wanted to and been the person you wanted to be? What lessons can you take, either from life events or from the areas where you fell short of your own expectations? What can you learn from what went right, too?
Whether you follow Oasis, and are determined avoid looking back in anger, or you follow Abba (who doesn’t?) and go by the refrain ‘nothing promised, no regrets’, it is important to avoid reprisals and recriminations when reflecting on your year/decade. It is far more productive to seek lessons, learnings and future opportunities.
After that reflection, perhaps your thoughts will turn to what aspirations you have for 2020, or the coming ten years. Where do you want to be at the end of that period? What do you want to be true about your life?
For many years now, Mrs B and I have set time aside over Christmas/New Year to review our own progress, and set new aspirations for the time ahead (it is a recurring appointment in my calendar entitled “Goals and Sh*t”). For at least the last ten years, part of that long-term vision has been retiring and travelling – which is now within touching distance. We will still undertook the exercise last month, however, because even as we near one major goal, there are others that still need attending.
In my book (The Seven Pillars of a Painless Business), I invited readers to explore their own goals, over a time horizon that appeals to them (most people are comfortable with between 3 and 7 years). I suggest they consider what they want to be true in the future in 9 areas of life:
Career (your work)
Community (where you live, what social groups you mix in – this might be a social circle, a church or a village group)
Education (what do you want to learn – either work related or more personal)
Environment (not climate change, more where you want to live, what sort of house, what condition it should be in etc)
Experience (what things do you want to do, such as see Antarctica or do a skydive)
Finance (what income do you want, what net worth are you aiming for, when will you pay off your mortgage etc)
Health (for example what weight you want to be, what fitness you want to maintain)
Relationships (what relationships do you want with close family, with your spouse, with your children?)
Legacy (what footprints do you want to leave in the world? How will you make an ongoing difference to others?)
You should have mid-to-long range goals in each of these areas, which can then be brought back to the coming year. If you want to get to X by year Y, what do you want to do in 2020 to start the journey? When will you check-in to make sure you are on track?
I firmly believe that undertaking this exercise each year, and then acting upon those aspirations with regular action through the rest of the 12 months, is what has taken me to my life goals. I would love the same to be true for you – so take some time out over the weekend to pause, reflect and to dream. Look forward in hope and excitement, don’t look back in anger.