This time last year, like a lot of other people, I wrote an article about setting goals for 2017. It was full of encouragement for identifying what you wanted to achieve during the coming year and for setting goals to guide you towards success.

I said, “Imagine it’s December 2017……where do you want to be by then?”.

And so here we all are, a year later. What kind of year was 2017 for you? Were there shocks, surprises, disappointments, successes? Good news, bad news or not much news at all? Did you set goals and achieve them or were they consigned to the “can’t be bothered / too difficult” pile by mid-February?

I did pretty well; I managed to make some good progress in most areas. There were a couple of areas I could have developed further but I’m not going to berate myself by looking at what I didn’t do – I want to celebrate what went well. What I am doing however, is looking at why those other areas were neglected; were they a step too far or unrealistic? Did I set too many goals? Did I rush into the wrong things?

Simple questions but the answers are important to me, because here I am again (so soon!) at the beginning of another year when it’s customary to be looking ahead, full of ideas, energy and action for the coming year! I should be buzzing with lists of resolutions and goals to set me on my way…

And I’m not buzzing at all. In fact, I’m a bit bored by the whole idea. I do have one clear objective but that’s all, which tells me I’m not quite ready to focus in on what I want for 2018.

I definitely believe that setting goals (objectives, targets…..whatever you choose to call them) can be highly effective; I also think – no, I know – that setting the wrong sort of goals and at the wrong time, can be entirely demotivating.

So, I’m giving the whole resolution and goal setting thing a miss for January. I’m giving myself some thinking time and some space to first reflect on last year – which ended only one week ago. Being self-employed, I am no longer beholden to company performance cycles and business planning deadlines, so I can set my goals whenever I please. What a relief.

And what about you? Are you feeling the weight of some pressure to have created a super-ambitious list of wonderful self-improving activities and to be well on your way already? Maybe, maybe not. But if you are feeling that way and you have the flexibility to slow down, pause and wait a while, please give that a try. Release yourself from what may be a self-imposed expectation and just breathe……feels good, doesn’t it?

There are many different cycles in our lives during the year: religious, sporting, financial, academic, business related – and let’s not forget the lunar cycle of the moon! – all with their own dates. Who says we need to set resolutions and goals in January if we aren’t compelled to by others?

During January, I won’t write down any goals (or objectives, or targets…). What I will do, is write down my thoughts on:

Reflections

  • What went well last year…
  • What didn’t go so well and why…
  • What I learned from all of that that…

Ideas

  • What I want to learn more of…
  • What I want to develop…
  • What I want to say no to or let go of…
  • What I want to say yes to or take on instead…

I am confident this approach will then help me to create the right objectives at the right time.

That’s it for now, and that’s enough.

Happy New Year.