Why This Is a Good Time to Take Stock and Plan Ahead
writing in a notebook

We should look backward and forward as we prepare to turn the page on 2021 and step into 2022. Backward to take stock and forward to plan where we want to be at this time next year.

With the holiday season in full bloom around us, it’s a good time for businesses and individuals to take stock of where they’ve been, where they are, and where they’re going. The process is a helpful one because it allows entrepreneurs and administrators to make plans for the new year based on lessons learned and needs that have revealed themselves over the course of the last twelve months.

Generally, at around this time, most of us are looking ahead to all those new year’s resolutions we will be making with all the best intentions…and probably abandoning by the end of January. We are less prone to look backward and tally up the wins and failures with a dispassionate eye. But doing so can help us formulate resolutions that have a chance of actually sticking and create a stronger plan for moving forward. This is true in both our personal and professional lives.

So, we should look backward and forward as we prepare to turn the page on 2021 and step into 2022. Backward to take stock and forward to plan where we want to be at around this time next year.

Here are some tips on how to do it:

  1. Start with a list. Yes, it’s that simple. Make a list (or ten). Make one for challenges, one for goals, one for places you want to visit…whatever! Listing things is helpful in organizing your thoughts and for reference when you’ve forgotten what the mission is.
  2. Identify the mistakes you or your business made over the last year—only the costly or embarrassing or educational ones. Sit with them for a bit and analyze how they could have been avoided and/or addressed more effectively. (Take notes as you go. You might find you hit on something by writing random ideas down.)
  3. Write down the lessons you learned from those mistakes and how you might apply those lessons going forward.
  4. Then, write down your successes. What accomplishments are you most proud of and why? How can you replicate them?
  5. Now comes the fun part (depending on what your idea of fun is): Create a list of goals big and small for the new year. Organize them however you like (you’re not being graded) but try to be realistic about what you can achieve if you apply the lessons learned over the past year. Just don’t go overboard. Rome was not built in a day and you have a better chance of achieving goals you actually have the time and means to focus on.

If you have a quiet space during these next few hectic weeks, take a stab at this exercise and see if it helps you go into the new year with renewed energy and vision. Even if you make a few small changes or achieve a few of your goals you’re almost guaranteed to make improvements in your business and your life. As Warren Buffet says, “You only have to do a few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.”

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