The power of reflection in goal setting

It’s that time of the year when we start thinking ahead to 2017. For some, that will mean writing goals and setting plans for the new year. It’s a useful process, makes you think about the future and what you want for your life / business / health etc. I’ve always found it helpful to write those goals down and put them somewhere that you can see them regularly. Pin them on the wall in your office, stick them on the fridge door, make them your desktop screensaver.

The other tip I would offer you is to take your time. I see lots of people talking about goal setting, and then when I ask about their process, it turns out they’ve spent an afternoon on it. 3 hours to plan for the next 365 days and beyond! That’s more like ‘ticking a box’ than actually taking it seriously. My goal-setting process for 2017 started back in October, when I setup a mindmap on my iPad and started adding things to it.

I also looked back at the mindmap I’d created a year before and reflected on what I’d achieved, what had fallen by the wayside, and the challenges that I’d faced.

Over the past couple of years I’ve learned to spend more time reflecting, whether that’s on the previous day (as I do with my daily journal), on specific events (my cycle racing for instance), or on the year that’s just passed. I’ve been doing a lot of the latter lately and that’s included speaking to a handful of people who know me well, and who I think of as my mentors and trusted advisors. Reflecting helps me understand things better and learn from what happened.

I’ve had a few things I’ve been trying to get clarity on, and reflecting on them, then speaking with my mentors has helped me to clear the fog. This takes time and patience, something else that I’m learning to be better at. 25 years of running businesses makes you pretty impatient!

This period of reflection has helped me realise a few things, which will make the process of setting goals for 2017 easier and more relevant. I’m getting to know myself better, and I’m excited to get into the detail of these goals over the next few weeks.

Do you set goals for the year? What’s your process? What do you find works best for you? Share in the comments below!


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