Most of us will fill many moments in the last days of December examining how well we did on our business and personal goals. Typical questions we will ask ourselves:
- Did I achieve my work goals? Financial goals? Fitness goals?
- Was I an effective leader, spouse, partner, parent, child, friend?
- Did I enjoy my work? How happy am I about my life?
Then we will collect evidence to answer these questions with and make some decisions about how we did this year. Then we will set new goals for 2016 and repeat. This process works OK, but could it work better? I think so.
SOMETHING A LITTLE DIFFERENT:
This year, I am going to follow some advice from world renowned executive coach and author Marshall Goldsmith and ask myself how I did this year slightly differently. I am going to add the words, “Did I do my best to…” to add perspective to how much I tried to do the things I set out to do this year.
In his newly released book, Triggers, Goldsmith describes how in making this shift to ask more active questions, we may find that we will empower ourselves with greater responsibility and higher engagement toward our goals–compared to using passive questions that can make it easier to look at the environmental influences impacting us.
As Goldsmith describes about his goal to do his best to be a good husband, “if I wasn’t happy or I ignored Lynda, I could always blame it on some factor outside myself.” His personal journey with this shift from passive to active reflection on goals is the genesis of his new book and ongoing research to back the claim that active reflection will help you change better and faster than passive reflection.
I TRIED IT.
I recently passed my 2015 end of year checklist through the filter of “did I do my best to….”. It was eye opening. There were goals I had declared I would work towards–like a daily mindfulness practice–that I rated my effort very low on and acknowledged the corresponding lack of results. Other goals, like trying create a new vision and marketing strategy for my business, I gave myself really high marks for doing my best effort and then some, given how many other personal and professional distractions I was facing this year. And I have the results to show for it in the way of a new website, blog, and many other new content offerings in the works for 2016.
My year-end reflection confronted how I actually live my values every day. It was clear that I put some things on my list that I told myself I wanted but my actions suggested I really didn’t want to. It’s time to face reality and stop kidding myself. Either I need to revisit whether those things are truly important to me and revisit my game plan for implementing them, or kick them off the list. I knew that deep down, I didn’t want to get up every day and meditate–which is why I didn’t.
SUCCESS DEPENDS ON FOLLOW UP AND THE RIGHT STRUCTURE
A set of active reflection questions focused on the most important things we want to see in our life, is a start. But we still face the challenge of doing them each day. Here is where Goldsmith’s daily reflection advice can become game changing for us in 2016.
Goldsmith says, “I have learned one key lesson, which has near universal applicability: We do not get better without structure.”
The key is choosing the right structure for you.
GOLDSMITH ASKS HIMSELF 22 QUESTIONS EVERY DAY
But at the heart are these six that he recommends for everyone:
- Did I do my best to set clear goals?
- Did I do my best to make progress towards goal achievement?
- Did I do my best to find meaning?
- Did I do my best to be happy?
- Did I do my best to build positive relationships?
- Did I do my best to be fully engaged?
WILL YOU JOIN ME?
I do believe that having a daily mindfulness practice is very beneficial and rather than committing to meditating every day, I will be doing a daily active reflection – something I have never tried before. Along the way, I will be doing my own research to see how it works for me and my clients.
If you decide to give this a try, let me know how it goes. Cheers to an empowered, engaging and super successful year creating lasting behavior changes and being the change you wish to be in the world.
What’s on your end of year checklist for 2016? Tell us below!