I’m sitting with my client as our coaching session is drawing to a close. We’re looking to schedule in our next appointment and pondering what focus this might take. As we scan our diaries, a date in December looks promising so my client suggests, “Perhaps I should be looking to set some new goals for the new year….”. Although I admire her drive and determination to progress, my feeling is that we’re missing an opportunity here.
“That’s great! But before we work on your new goals, why don’t we look back and celebrate your achievements so far?”
As the end of a year looms, there’s always a huge emphasis on planning next steps and defining our new aspirations. What more can we accomplish?!
When our goals really matter to us, we put our heart and soul into achieving them. But when that happens, how do we celebrate? Do we even celebrate what we have achieved at all?
I’m not talking the balloons, champagne and streamers kind of celebration but perhaps just a moment to think about what we’ve accomplished and what we personally did to get there.
Taking the time to reflect back on all of our achievements, (remembering not to skip over the ones you assume are ‘insignificant’ or ‘just something I did’) is not only important to maintain the motivation to keep on striving but it’s also a critical part of continuous learning.
Making a ‘to do’ list of actions and future goals is certainly good planning and even better if we go on to achieve those things. But as we complete each item on the list, the usual response is to grab a pen and cross those things out! Instead of deleting our accomplishments wouldn’t it be much more motivating and empowering to highlight them, or better still, capture them on an ‘Achievements list’. We can then start to celebrate each one by asking ourselves some important questions:
- What went well? : Think about what aspects you are most proud of. How did you directly contribute to achieving this goal? What were the key skills and actions you demonstrated?
- What didn’t go quite to plan? : Acknowledge the challenges you faced and then reflect on what you did to overcome them or reduce their impact.
- What did you learn? : Consider the skills, strengths and motivations that have now become apparent to you. How will you use these new learnings in the future?
- How will you share your success? : This isn’t a time to be coy. Whether you tell friends, family your boss or work colleagues – Spread the news and share your knowledge. We can all learn something useful and benefit from other people’s achievements.
So as we move towards the end of the year, don’t be tempted to brush your achievements under the carpet and jump straight into defining next year’s goals. There’s plenty of time for that. Instead, grab a notebook, write down this year’s achievements and celebrate the successes and new learnings you now have! You’ll then feel motivated and energized to tackle your new list of aspirations.