How To Reflect on Last Year and Set Goals for the New Year

how to reflect on last year and set goals for the new year

Starting a new year can feel overwhelming but it’s all about how to reflect on last year and set goals for the new year.  Time to move forward. Ironically, a powerful way to do that is to start with self-reflection.

So, set aside time to assess your personal and professional development over the past year and use that to determine your future path. No judgment, no guilt.

Goal Setting Isn’t for Everyone – To Set Goals or Not

First, there are a lot of theories about goal setting. Setting goals is a hot trend. And not setting goals is a hot trend. This doesn’t even cover resolutions! After all, New Year’s resolutions often fall flat with very few people actually achieving goals set at this time of year. In fact, studies have shown that less that 25% of people actually stay committed to their resolutions after just 30 days, and only 8% accomplish them.

No matter whether you follow the mainstream adages about goals and resolutions or not, there is no denying that it’s a good feeling to start the new year with a clean slate and some direction of what you want to achieve.

On one hand, the problem is that people succumb to pressure to kick off lofty goals on January 1 and therefore, those objectives are often not grounded in reality. We are a society compelled to achieve more and more but it’s always good to remember that without realistic goals and some planning to achieve them, overwhelm can kick in.

Full disclaimer here: I am a goal setter and a goal achiever. It works for me even if it doesn’t work for others. Thus, I have spent years honing this process and fully attribute my success to following it (along with a lot of hard work too!)

I promised to show you How to Reflect on Last Year and Set Goals for the New Year…let’s get started

This list of questions will drive a process for reflection and ultimately, increase your chances of success. Grab pen and paper and don’t censor yourself. You don’t have to share this with anyone but you!

      • What did I set out to achieve in 2023 and did I do everything possible to support myself in achieving those goals? If not, what can I change?

      • What worked in 2023? Did I take time to celebrate those successes?

      • What gave me pleasure in 2023?

      • What was missing? Does it matter that it was missing?

      • What were my roadblocks and how can I overcome them? Did something or someone hold me back in 2023?

      • Did I reach my financial targets? If not, why not? How can I have a different outcome and financial success in 2023?

      • Who inspired me in my professional life? How can I build a meaningful connection with that person in 2023?

      • What are my values? Is what I created last year in alignment with those values? Have my values changed in some way as I start the new year?

    The Power of Setting a Theme or Word

    A motivational ritual is to set a word or theme to catapult you through the coming year.  Did something jump out in your answers to the above questions? Ask yourself this: “When I’m standing here on December 31, 2024, what does my life look like?”  Your theme might resonate through that visualization and when that happens, it is clear as day! Using that word or theme throughout the year will keep you grounded and on track to achieving your goals and targets.

    So what do you want to achieve in 2024?  Take those introspective answers to the above questions and write down clear and realistic goals. To avoid seeing your goals fizzle, break them down into smaller, achievable steps and schedule them in your calendar throughout the year to keep you on track.

    We All Need Help Now and Again

    If you’re keen to delve deeper, I have a variety of tools and resources that you can download for free here. One of my favourites is a worksheet that will help you identify and clarify your values. Values are the foundation of everything we do!

    Another amazing resource is Lighthouse’s hugely popular Set Your Intentions for Your Best Life’ online course.  This self-directed mini course is updated with fresh content, online instruction and worksheets that will guide you to chart your own course. This is as comprehensive as you want to go and can be adjusted for what you want to get out it. Plus, it includes me as your cheerleader to guide you through it all step-by-step.

    Lastly, Lighthouse’s newest offering is Illuminating Words: Lighthouse’s Journaling Community. The inaugural group in fall 2023 was so successful that another 90-day program launches in January 2024. There is incredible power in journaling and this group is a safe space to explore, express and understand yourself through the words you write. You’ll also gain access to tools that will inspire you to set the stage for 2024 so the timing is perfect.

    I’d love to know:  How are you feeling about making plans for 2024?  Inspired or maybe a bit reluctant? If you’re comfortable sharing, put your 2024 word or theme in the comments below.

    Here’s to a year of peace, love and compassion.  Happy New Year!

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