Often the introduction of a new year brings about both planning ahead as well as looking back to assess and take stock. And although these two seem to be conflicting, I think we all know how complimentary they really are. For me, I use a short series of questions to guide this inner dialogue as I find it keeps me on track and won’t let me delve too deeply in any failure or short coming. Maybe you’ll find it useful too, have a go:

Year past

  1. What events made me happy? Proud?
  2. Where did I disappoint myself? How can I avoid this from happening again?
  3. What were my areas of growth?
  4. What goals did I achieve?
  5. What am I grateful for in 2015?

Year ahead

  1. What are my goals for this year? Daily? Weekly?
  2. How can I break those down into smaller quarterly goals?
  3. Where do I want to grow this year?
  4. What do I want to keep doing this year?
  5. What do I want to stop doing this year?

Now, these are very broad questions that you can interpret how you choose. I think my looking back it motivates us to grow and acknowledge what’s helped us get to this point. As for future goals – you can make them as numerous or specific as you like.

For myself, I have several goals that translate into improving in health, productivity and mindset. For example, I have a daily goal of drinking 3 bottles of water (I got a great water bottle for Christmas) and doing a specific set of daily exercises to help me keep better posture while working. I have professional goals that I break down into quarterly goals (and weekly task goals) that help me tackle the large goal. I also have personal improvement goals that involve reading specific books, completing a certificate, and employing tactics to help me slow down to savor my upcoming nuptials (yay!)

I know at first glance it seems overwhelming which is why I break my goals into bite sized chunks that I can attack a bit at a time. There are several planning calendars to help you do this such as topdownplanner.com or passionplanner.com because remember, you’re more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down.

Good luck in 2016!

Carolyn Bergshoeff is the founder of WindWater Marketing, a small business b-to-b marketing firm based in Toronto, Canada. She is a big supporter of goal setting and planning for both personal and professional purposes. Carolyn often helps her clients with their marketing plans and quarterly campaigns. Email hello@windwater.ca for more information.