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Looking At How Far You Have Come

Most of us do it every year. We set new goals and make plans with our eyes focused on the future. This is all well and good, but in our striving forward, are we forgetting the value of looking back at what we accomplished?

I recently read an article about doing an end-of-the-year self-evaluation, and I found the premise intriguing.  An honest self-evaluation can combat discouragement and lead to more productive goal-setting. Reflecting on our successes, no matter how small, helps us see how far we’ve come since we started on our journey. Evaluating our failures allows us to get a sense of where we need improvement. 

So, what makes a good end-of-the-year evaluation? The article How (and why) you should give yourself a year-end review offers an easy-to-follow format. As the author, Stephanie Vozza, says, "If you’re serious about achieving your goals in 2020, this is why you should make time for a self-directed look back at your past year."

After making some tweaks to what was described in the article, my evaluation ended up looked something like this:

1. Name three things that you were proud of in 2019. Why are you proud of them? What led to these accomplishments?

2. Think of at least three things that did not work (your failures). What caused those failures? What could you have done differently?

3. Who or what were you most grateful for in 2019?

After taking time to reflect on our successes and failures, we’ll be better prepared to set SUCCESS goals for 2020. 

Wait? SUCCESS goals? What happened to SMART goals? Nothing, and if you feel more comfortable using the SMART framework, then by all means, use that.

However, I want to share with you an alternative way of planning your goals. As you can see from the image below, SUCCESS includes the idea of sharing your goal with others and seeking support, which you may find appealing. If you would like to learn more about this alternative method, see the article Beyond SMART: An Evidence-Based Formula for Goal Setting.

Source: Thomas Rutledge

Before 2019 becomes a distant memory, take this time to think back and reflect. With your goals formulated, keep them in a prominent place in your house, at work, in your car, or anywhere else where you can see them. Share your goals with family and/or friends that will hold you accountable. Start putting plans in motion so that this time next year you can see how far you progressed.

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Well written Eric. I am one that changes today versus a delayed review. This has me wondering if either way has benefits the other doesn't have.


Thirsty Bees
Thirsty Bees
Jan 08, 2020

Love this blog! The review mirror looking back on past successes really resonated with me. I tend to leave the past in the past, forgetting to remember those successes which helped to move me forward. I’m also liking the SUCCESS Goal Model. The part I struggle with is making Concrete goals. I think I’ve learned too well how to be flexible, saying thins like, “Here’s my goal, but it will happen when it happens” rather than being more firm about the when and where. I definitely need to work on that😊. Thank you for writing this - it was an inspiring and thought-provoking way to start my day!


Matthew Weimann
Matthew Weimann
Jan 08, 2020

Eric, I like the idea of sharing the goals, once I come up with them. This keeps me accountable. One way I share my thinking and planning is with my PLN on Twitter. By putting my personal hopes and dreams out there, in that public forum, I am committing myself to really and truly working on them. There have been goals that I did not follow through with. I totally failed at completing the "Inktober Challenge". You were supposed to draw a picture for a different theme every day in the month of October. I did maybe three. One huge success that I experienced was when I publicly told Greg Moffitt that my daughter and I were completing a book…

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