At the start of every new year and school year we often talk about setting goals as a means to help you to achieve more, stay on track and generally be at the top of your game.
In order to do that really effectively, it helps to look back on the year you’ve just had and reflect on how it went and what you’ve learnt from everything that you’ve been through (with 2020 it’s probably way more than you ever imagined).
Although you shouldn’t live your life dwelling on what’s happened in the past, and we usually recommend focusing on looking forward, there are times when a little reflection can be really useful.
Reflection can be a really helpful tool that can help you to learn from your experiences, which in turn can help you move on more successfully to bigger and brighter things.
Ask yourself a few simple questions:
- What were the good things you did this year?
- What could you have done better?
- Where do you think you made good use of your time?
- Where did you waste your energy?
Write down your answers if you think it will help, but you don’t have to, just spend a little while pondering – or even discuss it with friends and family.
Consider the takeaways that could be useful
The point about reflection in this situation is to find out what the positive and useful tools have been so that you can replicate them next year. At the same time, you need to assess what hasn’t worked or dragged you down so that you can ditch or change things going into the New Year.
- If online working went great for you, perhaps you could consider doing courses and even going to uni online in the future, explore what’s possible.
- Perhaps there’s a subject that you find really uninteresting and have struggled with a lot this year – you could sign up for some extra tutoring next year or think about dropping the subject next year (check the implications and whether it’s possible with your teachers).
- If you’ve spent lots of time procrastinating which has meant that you’ve fallen behind on schoolwork or missed out on great opportunities, then you need to address the issue. Do you need to limit the time spent gaming, cut back on your extra-curricular activities, or delete an app off your phone?
- Did 2020 lead to the exciting discovery of a new passion or hobby? Fantastic, find ways to incorporate your new interest into your life more in 2021. You could do short courses, find workshops, or join clubs for example. Then think about ways that you could earn money or get work experience in that area if it’s something you might like to pursue as a career e.g. volunteer (either at school or within your community), get a part time job, or start up your own side-gig.
Start setting some goals
You might learn a lot from a little time spent reflecting, but unless you put what you’ve learnt into action you’re not going to get much out of the exercise.
So once you’ve had some inspiration, go with it and think about how you could implement some changes next year. A little planning and research now could set you up for even more success next year.
Get help staying accountable
If you don’t know how to go about setting goals, or you’re really good at setting goals but not staying on track with them past the end of January (you’re not alone), then consider helping yourself out by:
- Using our goal generator, it could help you not only to set your goals but also to refine them, plan how you can achieve them and add milestones to check in with. It could take as little as 15 minutes to do.
- Reading about the Why’s and How’s to goal setting.