The 35th anniversary of John Lennon’s death just passed but his word remain…“So this is Christmas, and what have you done? Another year over. And a new one just begun.”
Yes. Another year is over and what have you done? If you are unable to fully answer this question don’t worry, you are not alone. The end of a year comes upon us quickly and it is often difficult to reconcile considering the promise a start of the year offers.
Each of us begins every year with renewed vigor and energy then the end, which we believed was so long away, comes upon us with little notice. If you feel deflated from the passing of another year we have bad news…another one is around the corner. But here’s the good news. If you don’t want to experience disappointment the same time next year then do something about it now.
Moving Forward By Looking Back
The first step to achieving your end of year expectations is to first take a moment to reflect upon the past year. Learning only takes place if you are able to recognize what you can learn from past experience.
Begin by taking inventory of your experiences in the past twelve months. Human nature is to focus on the mistakes rather than successes. Both provide valuable learning lessons and it is essential that you not repeat the failures and attempt to leverage the successes.
When reflecting, take note of everything you observed/experienced in the past twelve months. What were the fads disguised as trends? What were the trends that meant well but never delivered on their promise? What did you learn from them? What experiences did you take away? Answering these questions is key to achieving your next twelve months objectives.
Goal Setting Is Not Goal Achievement
Reflect upon the goals you set. Did you set any at all? You can only measure disappointment based upon the goals initially set. Otherwise your disappointment is a waste of time…the only disappointment is why you never set goals in the first place.
If you did set specific goals at the beginning of the year then measure how well you’ve achieved them. We assume you’ve achieved some to your complete satisfaction, you achieved others to the extent to say you met them (but not to your complete satisfaction) and then there are the remaining ones that you didn’t achieve at all. Focus first on the ones you didn’t achieve and then the ones you could have done better achieving.
If you failed to set goals then you are solely to blame for your end of year ineffectiveness. But don’t wallow in the disappointment learn from the experience. Set specific goals for the next twelve months but be sure to set them up so you can track your progress throughout the year. And, never make it a shopping list of goals. Plan too many and you will set yourself up for certain failure this time next year.
Professional Growth Is Not Optional
Finally, take care of your own professional growth. It simply amazes me how so many learning practitioners I come across don’t place any effort into their own learning. How can you not practice what you actually preach unto others?
The second error many practitioners make is to be myopic in their development. Stop focusing on what you actually do. While it is relevant to maintain your expertise it is equally important to develop holistically. To be taken seriously by your leadership, think about complimenting your skills with learning that lifts your value and expertise to be more inclusive of ancillary concepts and roles.
Give Yourself a Year-Round Present
Christmas is around the corner. Why not be kind to yourself. Plan your 2016 with learning events and opportunities by subscribing and/or registering for courses and conferences throughout the year. This will guarantee your professional growth and lead you to reflect favorably when 2016 comes to an end.
We hope that the past twelve months have been good to you. What we mean by that is not only in successful attempts but also if you didn’t achieve your objectives. You must be able to look back on both experiences to add to your personal growth. Our wish for you is to take these experiences and leverage them for a more fruitful and exceptionally successful 2016.
Please share your experiences from the past year with ATD Links and us. What are the fads or trends that you believe added value or were a waste of time? What was your wish list from last year that you achieved or wanted to achieve? What is going to inspire you to achieve your goals in twelve months?
Allow us to leave you with a closing John Lennon thought and my sincerest wish to you that seems appropriate for this post:
“A very merry Christmas, And a happy New Year. Let’s hope it’s a good one. Without any fear.”