Happy New Year!
It’s the start of a new year, which for many of us is a time for both looking backwards and looking ahead. This post aims to look at a few of the planning and reflecting activities I do around the start of a new year.
As Brits, we can have a tendency towards self-deprecation. It’s almost considered a faux pas to talk about things we have done well! However for me, recognising my achievements is paramount for my mindset.
I love my job but (trying not to sound pessimistic) a year can seem like a relentless tide. Most people of working age have a routine that repeats itself every day and/or week. We may break it up with a holiday some time in the summer, and of course we rest around Christmas time. Some people feel satisfied and secure with this sense of structure and routine. But for me, I like to feel that things are moving forward.
Furthermore, when you work in a small business it can feel like there’s no one there to offer feedback. Particularly if you are near the top in your business (or a solo practitioner), your achievements can sometimes feel unrecognised. As health and wellbeing specialists we do have our clients, many of whom will offer lovely testimonials. However, a lot of our work goes on behind closed doors – marketing, business development, and accounting for example. It’s achievements in these areas that I enjoy congratulating myself on the most!
So, around New year I like to take stock of my achievements. I reflect on my practice far more than once a year, but this post focusses on the activities I use to help me reflect specifically around this time.
- Chatting with my Mum and Dad and others close to me. I tell them things that I think have gone well that year and why I’m proud of myself. Often, they will chip in with things that they are proud of me for. This is nice as they are not always things I would have thought about myself!
- I write many of my achievements and client feedback up as posts on my blog or on my social media. Having a scroll back through these can remind me of things I may have forgotten.
- Writing an overview of my year as a blog post. I think through the year month by month. It often surprises me that I’ve done something good each month!
- Remembering the seemingly small achievements that could be easily overlooked. For example, I had a tough start to 2018 health-wise, but I still managed ‘business as usual’ despite it.
- Looking at the goals I set in the previous year (see below) and tick off the ones I managed.
Completing these activities makes me feel much better about my year. I can see how productive I’ve been and it motivates me to keep the ball rolling next year. To take full advantage of that motivation, I move on to my planning activities…
Are you a planner or do you prefer to see what comes your way? In business, I prefer to be a little more organised and proactive. It means I have a goal to work towards. I’m also more likely to create or hunt opportunities, rather than wait for them to fall my way by chance. Lastly, planning allows me to account for risks and have back-up plans, should things go wrong.
Again, I plan ahead more than once a year. But New year is my biggest planning time and this post looks at my activities around this time of year.
- Amending my forward plan. I keep a 3-5 year business plan as a working document. At the start of a New year I get it out and check that everything is still relevant. Sometimes I realise I haven’t aimed high enough or that I’ve not yet added a Big Idea I’ve had!
- Chatting with Mum and Dad (again). I’m very lucky in that my family all have different ways of thinking. My own brain is fairly creative and I’m good at Big Ideas. Dad is strategic, mathematical, and good with logistics. Whilst Mum is analytic, can think outside the box, and helps me consider risk. 2 brains really are better than one, and 3 is even better!
- SWOT analysis. I make a quick SWOT diagram to help me see areas for improvement…
- Goal setting. I decide what I want to achieve in the upcoming year and use the SMART model to improve my chances of smashing it.
- Calendar planning. I use my yearly calendar to mark deadlines, events, time off, and time set aside for admin. I also have a chart showing the months with space for notes beside. I use this to note goals with more flexible deadlines.
Preparing for the year in this way gives me clarity. I know what I want to achieve and I have a plan for doing it.
A Last Word
Reflecting and planning are both important to my business. I see them working hand-in-hand. Planning means I’m less likely to get to the end of the year without any achievements to reflect on! Reflecting means I’m more likely to star the New Year in the right mindset to smash the goals I’ve planned.
There are many ways to reflect and plan, and what works for one person may not work for another. This post has highlighted some of the things I personally do but I would love to hear your ideas! Get in touch using the contact form or at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have something to share.