Prepare for January Now (5 Questions to Ask About the Previous Year)

Goals can feel overwhelming. As a result, it’s easy for me to focus on what I am going to be doing during the Christmas season and push off planning for the coming year. To avoid this, I’m working on analyzing the previous year now.

Do you have any idea what you want to accomplish in 2019? Now’s the time to start preparing! 

Here’s a series of questions I like to ask myself:

1. What goals did I set last year? 

It greatly helps to write down goals. It helped me this year because I got to see exactly what my goals were when I looked back at them. There were multiple times I forgot the time frame or magnitude associated with a goal. 

I wrote a blog post on what my goals were for 2018 on my previous blog. I look at these to analyze my year and prepare for the next. And in the next couple weeks (hopefully, after I finish hitting a few more of them!), I plan to cover my 2018 goals and how I can improve on them in the coming year. 

2. Did I accomplish those goals?

If I hit a goal, I try to celebrate it! I have to intentionally do this because it’s easy to focus on the goals I didn’t hit. Consequently, discouragement creeps in. Then it’s tough to conjure up the motivation to make goals in the future. If you hit a goal, celebrate! Don’t pass it over!

3. What goals did I not accomplish and why?

I know I didn’t hit all my goals from last year. For instance, one of my goals was to go to the gym 10 times a month. I didn’t hit it and that’s one of the things I’m analyzing for the coming year. Similarly, I set a goal to ride my bike far more than I actually did. 

Why didn’t I hit them? Were they too lofty? Did I lose motivation? Did circumstances change?

Answering these questions sufficiently will help me develop a better understanding of how to set effective goals in the future. 

4. Were my goals SMART?

It’s a good practice to make goals that are SMART goals. I like to point to a Dave Ramsey article as a great resource for SMART goal making. Plus, this article has an outline for the types of goals to set for the year (such as financial or physical).

The general definition of SMART is this

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-sensitive 

If you set goals with each of these in mind, your goals will certainly have the capability to make a difference on your personal growth. 

5. how can I modify unreached goals to make it more likely I’ll hit them in 2019?

Some of my circumstances changed in 2018. For example, at the beginning of the year, Bailey had day classes which allowed us the time in the evening for going to the gym (to hit our 10-times-a-month goal). However, once fall semester rolled around, Bailey had only evening classes which made working out very difficult. 

We had to modify our schedule so we could work out in the morning but for a couple months, I have to say that I allowed the change in schedule to impact my monthly goal. 

Preparation doesn’t start in January. It starts now!

To sum up, I find that if I am not prepared for something and know exactly what I am going to do when it comes about, I may not do it. Here’s an example on a much smaller scale. This past Saturday, I had a list of things in my head that I knew I needed to get done. Bailey asked me what I was going to do because she was going to be working all day. I responded “Well, I’ll probably do this and that and maybe that.”

Come Saturday and I got only one of my major things done. Not because anyone interrupted me or I didn’t have the time. I just didn’t have a plan for what I was going to get done. I didn’t even have a list of things I wanted to accomplish. Therefore, Netflix proved to be a worthy opponent for my precious time. 

How are you going to prepare for next year? Have you already started making goals? I want to hear from you in the comments!

-Caleb

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