There are just a few weeks left of 2014 and most of us have started looking back and thinking what has this year brought. Some of us are very happy with the results and others want to go back and fix some key points where things did not quite work out. The hardest part of reflecting on results is not judging ourselves. There’s always this nagging feeling, even if things go well, whether they could have gone even better. I know, I do that to myself on a regular basis. This nagger, even if not pleasant, has it’s purpose – it helps us learn from what we have done and put it into a good use later. At the same time, we do not want to get stuck in thinking that just because we could have done better, we have failed.
Looking at objectives that were set is part of reflecting on results. Identifying where our objectives were just wishful thinking, because we did not lay a foundation for making it happen. You plunged into a new venture without any idea how much time it is going to take? Been there, done that! Getting my website done this year is a really good example. And I should know better, since it was not my first website. But I got it done and now I am happy with it, even though it meant working really hard for a couple of months. My learning for next year – stick to my plan of getting bulky things done in the summer when there are less other competing activities.
Another reflection is to look at whether there were any activities that used to generate the results that you wanted and then suddenly stopped. What happened? Did you change your story, your focus? What kind of new elements came into play. My example: Facebook changed their rules on the frequency of company page posts in news feeds. Before making it official, they experimented with the new rules, which meant that my posts got a lot less reach than they used to. Yours probably too. What will we do differently next year? Stop Facebook postings altogether or make changes that help get the likes and the reach in a different manner? I haven’t made up my mind yet on that.
Where did you set yourself unrealistic expectations? We do have the tendency to do that to ourselves when we are business owners – suddenly we should be able to do everything at once and live a life as well. Yet, we do have the same amount of hours in a day, just like everyone else. Sometimes we also do not prioritize, but go with the flow. But the flow can take us into a place where we have no intention of being. How can you set up a structure for next year that helps you identify when you are going off course? I do it by reviewing my objectives ever month and making weekly plans.
Last but not least – celebrate your results, whatever they were. You deserve a celebration even if you are not thrilled with the results. Think of the learning you have done by attempting to achieve your objectives and applaud yourself for the persistence of finishing a year. For winners never quit and quitters never win. I will also open a bottle of champagne and celebrate in style!