We’ve all heard the saying, “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.” And while I agree with this, we also need to be careful about how we look at the past–especially in our businesses.

As business owners, we’re constantly in a state of reflection. We reflect at the end of the day, at the end of the week, at the end of each quarter and at the end of the year. But are you aware of where you’re focusing during each of these reflections?

Best Practices for Looking Back on Your Year

We naturally default to what we didn’t get done when we reflect. And that reflection often brings on negativity. When we’re gearing up for a new day, week, quarter and year, that negativity can hold us back. We feel bad that we didn’t reach our goals, which gives us mindset blocks as we’re planning.

Before you start reflecting on your year, know that you’re not going to be satisfied with the process. Know that there are things that you didn’t get done (there always are!) and focus on what you did accomplish. You’ll be able to put on a different frame of mind so you can move forward.

When reflecting on your year, focus on what you did accomplish, not just on where you fell short.Click To Tweet

Identify what your strategic objectives were

We set a lot of lofty goals for ourselves, some of which probably didn’t align with our strategic objectives for the year. But when you keep those big objectives top-of-mind as you’re reflecting, you can see where you hit your goals and where you might not have used all your time wisely. You also can look at the steps you’ve already taken toward your objectives. This helps you become more focused as you’re setting new goals.

Look at the forward progress you made

Even if you didn’t hit your targets, you did make forward momentum. No matter how small you think your progress was, write it down.

    • You participated in an online summit
    • You became an expert in something
    • You hit an income goal–for a month, a quarter
    • You started creating regular content
    • You grew your email list

All of these wins are significant, and all are things you can build on for more success. And they will all help you to see that you’ve set yourself up for even bigger things.

Pull out those goals you set at the be beginning of the year and pair up accomplishments with any forward progress you made. You’ll start to see that while you may not have reached that big goal, you’re closer than you’re giving yourself credit for.

Now that you know you’ve made progress, start thinking about what you want to do next year. Having strategic objectives will help you build a framework that allows you to execute within your business in a way that will get you closer to your goals. That’s why I recommend having a strategic map as you plan out your yearly goals. It helps you to take a step back and identify if that new idea or opportunity is aligned with your goals.

And before you head off to start planning your new year, write down three things you accomplished this year. It doesn’t matter how big or small you think those things are. Forward progress is forward progress!

How are you at planning? Can you strategize with the best of them? Or do you have all the ideas (and no idea how to execute)? Tell me in the comments below!

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