Monday, December 26, 2011

Reflect in Order to Plan

English: busines planImage via WikipediaBy Les Taylor

December is the perfect time to look back at a year that's almost over, and look forward to what we intend to accomplish in the year ahead. Before we ring in the new year, let's take time to do a little "reflective thinking" on the year that will soon be history.

While we don't want to linger in the past, it's always beneficial to learn from it. Every success and every failure teach a lesson. Success is seldom permanent. It's a moving target that can prove elusive. Failure isn't fatal - just painful. If we're smart, we learn from both.

Here are some questions about 2011 you can use to reflect on. Next week, I'll send you a series of questions you can noodle on as you prepare for the year ahead.

What was your biggest success?
What was the best decision you made?
What was the most important lesson you learned?
What is your biggest piece of unfinished business?
What were you most happy about completing?
What was the biggest risk you took?
What was the biggest surprise?
Who were the three people who had the greatest impact on your life?
What important relationship improved the most?
What one word best sums up and describes the year's experience?

Notice how these questions are framed. The focus is positive. Your answers to these important questions Will set the stage for another series of questions regarding your plans for the year ahead.

Peter Drucker said: "The only way to get the future you want is to create it." While we may not have the ability to "control" our future - we do have the ability to plan for the year we want to have.

Here are questions that may help you do just that.

What successes are you looking for next year?
How can you make better decisions?
What do you need to learn or relearn?
Which piece of unfinished business needs your attention?
What project needs to be completed?
What risk(s) do you need to take?
What surprise would you like to experience?
Name three people you want to positively impact.
What important relationship needs to be improved?
What one word best sums up the experience you want to have?

Each of the answers to these questions will require action on your part. It would be a big mistake to leave this as just a plan. After you answer these questions, list a "first action step" beside the answer to get you moving to make something happen.

Success comes from doing, not from dreaming. We're the only species on the planet that has the ability to design the future we want to have. Take advantage!

Les Taylor is a professional speaker, author, consultant, and recognized expert in the field of personal improvement and professional development. Get several "free" performance improvement resources at also, read interesting and entertaining performance improvement articles at Les Taylor's blog at

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