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How to Reflect on 2012 and Set Yourself Up for Success in 2013

How to Reflect on 2012 and Set Yourself Up for Success in 2013

2012 is almost over and what a crazy year it has been!

At the end of the year comes the beginning of a new year, and with the beginning of a new year comes the beginning of a new set of goals. At the beginning of a new set of goals comes the opportunity to live a more satisfying, successful and happy life, and it’s how you treat this process that will influence your success in the coming year.

To ensure that 2013 is set to be the best year you have ever had, it’s important to reflect on the year that was. What are the things that you are most proud of? What are the biggest discoveries you have made this year? What has made you the happiest? Understanding the answers to these questions will give you a huge boost in ensuring 2013 is the year that you change your life.

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Every year I have a process of reflection that I go through to ensure that I am progressing in life and being satisfied and fulfilled. If we don’t reflect on our lives, we don’t know if we are heading in the right direction, and we don’t learn from the events that have shaped our lives.

People who do not take the time to reflect on their lives often feel “lost”, or that they are just drifting through life. It’s absolutely crazy how many people feel this way. In fact, I ran a survey a couple of months ago and the responses blew me away.

Although 91% of respondents noted that they feel it’s extremely important to have clarity about what you want to do with your life, only 34% of respondents indicated that they have some clarity about the direction in which they want to go—that leaves a whopping 66% with little or no focus. Out of a survey of over 200 respondents, not one individual mentioned that they get to live their passion on a daily basis.

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This is why reflecting on 2012 is vitally important.

Reflecting on the year-that-was helps you to identify your successes and help determine your strengths; it helps you to ensure that you are progressing towards your larger goals in life; and it helps you lay the foundation for goal-setting, assisting you in ensuring that 2013 is going to be the best year you have ever had.

Right now is the best time to reflect on your life and the year of 2012, so I encourage you to take 20 minutes to participate in the exercise below.

How to reflect on the previous year

Find yourself a peaceful and quiet location to reflect on the past year, a place where there are no distractions around so you can really focus your thoughts. An ideal location would be somewhere outside of your own home—perhaps a beach or a nearby park. Find somewhere you can set your mind free.

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Take a notepad and pen with you, or if you’re into technology, take your iPad or similar device.

Write down your answers to the questions below, but note that these questions are just a guide: depending on your individual circumstances, you may want to add your own questions that are more specific or relevant to your life.

Ready? Here goes:

  • What are the 5 things of 2012 that you are most proud of?
  • What new connections have you made, and how have these shaped your life?
  • What experience has made you the happiest?
  • Who has made you happiest?
  • What have been the best moments in your career this year?
  • What changes would you make to your career in 2013?
  • What challenges did you overcome this year? How did you do it?
  • What has held you back from achieving what you wanted to do this year?
  • What can you do in 2013 to ensure this doesn’t happen again?
  • What habit did you acquire this year that has made a difference?
  • What habit has prohibited you from achieving what you wanted this year?
  • What habit do you want to enable in 2013 that will make a difference?
  • What was your biggest mistake in 2012? What have you learned from this?
  • What else have you learned this year?
  • What are 3 words that sum up your year?
  • If you were to live 2012 all over again, what would you do differently?
  • Add your own!

The Next Steps

Now that you have reflected on the past year, keep your answers at the front of your mind, and file your notes about them nearby so you can refer to them regularly. Your reflections will become the starting point for setting your goals for the year, and those goals for 2013 will be much more targeted and more relevant to what it is that truly makes you happy.

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It only takes 20 to 30 minutes to do this, and this short reflection can have a huge impact on your overall well-being, your learning, and your success for 2013.

Let me know how it goes as I would love to hear your experiences! 2013 is going to be an amazing year. I can feel it!

Featured photo credit:  abstract image of a businessmen rushing in the lobby via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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