Now is a great time to start thinking about next year’s personal goals. Here is what works for me:
1. Take some time off from work and put some distance between your desires and your daily tasks. (Seek seclusion; little to no internet.)
2. Review past year’s goals, congratulate and award yourself for those you have achieved. (Seriously, make the conscious decision to buy/go/do something you really want.)
3. For goals that still have a chance, December is your last sprint, make it count! (This is why this is the best time of the year to focus on goals.)
4. Reflect on failed goals and decide whether it was OK that they failed, or whether they shouldn’t have. (For me, “OK to have failed goals” usually turn out to be those I had limited information and foresight in the beginning; if I have failed due to incompetence, then I make those a learning priority for the next year.)
5. Consider reassigning some of the goals that have failed, as fresh (and updated) goals for the next year.
6. Step back, and I mean, really far back; ask yourself what you want in life and what you think really matters. (I reflect on this: “How do I want to have spent my 33rd age on this earth, so that I have no regrets at the end.”)
7. Goals are possibly the most personal thing on earth. And as such, they have to be about your core. So I look at my core skills, core know-hows, core interests, core passions. (I also do consider what “unfair advantage” I have in my industry and how to set goals in a way to leverage them)
8. Use pen and paper. Write slowly, deliberately and with the best pen you have and the best hand-writing possible. (This really works, most likely because; the more time and effort you invest, the more valuable that document becomes. Treat it as your “Magna Carta”.)
9. Use “goal heuristics” like S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely) or a method like OKRs (Objectives and Key Results).
10. Hang your document up on the wall and be proud of it. (If you can’t do that in your workplace, hang it up in your home-office, personal room or other personal working space. Just make sure it is visible everyday.)
As you cross of each goal, remember we are who we are because of our actions and the choices we make. We are not our intelligence, not our education, not our titles, not our social roles and certainly, not our age/sex/race.
Written by Ozan, who is a London based author & entrepreneur with domain expertise on the topics of people, company culture and learning.