As I sit at my desk closing out the year, I like to reflect on what went well, what could have gone better, and how I can improve next year. One of the first areas I thought about was how well I planned and how well I executed that plan. At the beginning of the year, it was easy to plan ahead and to set goals for where I wanted to be by the end of the year both professionally and personally. Through the first six months, things were going well and it was easy to stick to the plan and measure progress towards my goals. Then it happened. A couple of unexpected twists and turns and I found myself just trying to keep up instead of following my plan.
Has this ever happened to you? It seems like once you get in a rhythm, someone or something throws a wrench in your plans and you have to adjust, adapt, or just go with the flow. The important piece that I was missing was making sure that I adapted to the situation by sticking with the plan that was set at the beginning of the year. If you lose sight of your vision and direction, it’s easy to get off track and find yourself going backwards
For 2017, my hope is to get back to the basics. This starts with looking at where you are, where you want to be, and setting goals for how you are going to get there. It’s important to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely) Goals that align directly with your vison and direction. If you set end of year goals, then break it down into smaller goals that are attainable and timely that help you get to the end result. Lastly, keep them visible and review them often. If you’re like me, it’s difficult to make time for anything that isn’t on my calendar, so schedule it. Set up a recurring meeting, even if you are going to review progress by yourself, so that it’s on your calendar and it helps to remind you. Invite co-workers, supervisors, spouses, or any other people who may be involved to help identify gaps, areas of improvement, and to help keep you accountable to your goals. No matter what obstacles are put in your way, having a process will help you stick to your plan and keep you on track for a successful year.