Looking Ahead by First Looking Back

I’ve been hearing a lot about how many folks were not impressed by 2016. They’re ready to put it to bed and look ahead to 2017. It has to get better from here!

If you are feeling that way but want to make sure you are holding up your end — accepting accountability for doing what you can do and changing what you can change — I am going to share with you a way to make sure 2017 is better than 2016, even if 2016 was pretty darned great.

In my newsletters and blog posts this month, I’ll be sharing a process, bit by bit, to help you create reasonable, measurable goals for 2017 that are guaranteed to build on your strengths and make next year better than this year.

We’ll begin by making a couple lists to help us answer this question:

What did and didn’t go well?

We begin by taking a close, realistic look at the last year.

LIST ONE: What went well this year? Make a list of at least 6-8 answers, focusing on events you have control over  Even if you won the lottery this year, be sure to phrase the event in terms of what you did, not just the fact that you got lucky.

Here are some examples that showed up on my list at the end of last year, 2015:

  1. Joined the CCCO Board and the WELD Leadership Conference committee
  2. Created and revised tons of documentation, systems, and processes for onboarding new clients, including registration and contract online forms, welcome packets, invoicing, and resources.

  3. Performed my first 360 and my first marketing interviews.

What about you? What went well this year in your own efforts?

LIST TWO: What did not go well this year? Make a list of at least 6-8 answers, focusing on events you have control over  This can be difficult to do, because for some reason we humans have a tendency to blame others for our failures (whether or not we are able to take credit for our successes).

How would it feel to focus on efforts you made that failed? Scary? Discouraging? This activity does run the risk of challenging you emotionally, so I encourage you to put extra effort into practicing self-acceptance and self-compassion.

The point of the list is to learn what doesn’t work for you, and so it is an important list to make–focusing again on what you have control over.

These can be goals that were too big to achieve (such as x# pounds lost or not lost), good habits you turned your back on (such as daily meditation or networking coffees), or  bad habits you picked up (such as bags of cheesy poofs consumed or binge-watching Netflix).

The list of “things that did not go well” is a reality check. It’s difficult to write but it is important to acknowledge areas where accountability failed, motivation failed, or extra support was needed. It also helps to see what the outer limit might look like. If you intended to read 45 books but only read 12, that lets you know that 14 books is more of a reasonable goal than 45.


Your creativity can really come into play with the next steps.

Take a good look at each of the previous two lists. What are you learning from them? What can you really accomplish in a year? A month? A week?

I have decided to take this quote seriously: “Most people overestimate what they can do in one day but underestimate what they can do in a year.” — (I’m not sure it’s how it was originally said, nor by whom (Bill Gates? Tony Robbins?); Sources are unclear… Do you know?)

I realized that in a day I might run out of energy, but in a year I could amass coaching hours toward my next highest certification, take courses, read books, and learn accounting.

What could you do in the coming year if you allowed for the fact that much can be done if you set your sites on it? What kinds of things could you accomplish?

We’ll pick up next week on how to create that plan!

Best wishes to you in your planning, and remember, I’m in your corner.


PS. After you take the steps above, it makes sense to see what kinds of things we’ve been spending our time doing so we can compare those activities to the kinds of activities we want to be doing. Click on that link, and you’ll go to the next post.

PPS. You’ll find a video below that I am SO excited to share with you! One of my clients sat down with me awhile back and shared about why he decided to hire a coach, what he got out of it, and how it worked. I hope you’ll watch it and share it with someone who could benefit from coaching!

In this video, he not only shares about why he made the hire, but what he accomplished and how it happened.

Amy Kay Watson coaches talented, brilliant, tender-hearted professionals (like you!) to discover their destiny, own their power, and live their purpose with courage, humor, and compassion–even in a corporate environment.

Courses are open for registration now. Click the link to learn more and register today.

To stay in the loop, “Follow” this blog or sign up for the weekly newsletter with content from the blog, videos, and podcasts here. Connect with Amy on Facebook and Twitter, or email her directly via Amy@CareerLeadershipAlignment.com.


3 thoughts on “Looking Ahead by First Looking Back

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s