September: the perfect month for reflection
Anne Elliott shares her thoughts on making the most of September to reflect on the year to date and using the opportunity to look ahead.
September is a strategic month. You’ve enjoyed the summer weather and hopefully found time to rest with family and friends. Now is an opportune time to focus on the last quarter of 2022.
Often, we leave reflection until the end of the year. But we’re often tired by then, we just want a Christmas break. Taking time in September as you refocus after the summer months ensures the last quarter of 2022 goes to plan. It also helps you start 2023 with clear direction.
Of course, the world has no shortage of drama right now. It’s a challenging time for everyone. More reason to reflect and refocus so you spend your time in ways that help reach your goals.
What has your 2022 looked like (so far)?
Try asking yourself my five core reflection questions and consider how the year’s been for you. Make the most of your reflection time and write some notes. Committing to paper (or screen) helps you engage fully.
What have been your biggest achievements in 2022 – and why?
Ensure you look at your personal life as well as your work. Some of your achievements might be huge, others much smaller. Consider what matters to you. It could be a sporting achievement or making more time for family, just as much as a promotion or business skill development.
What have you found most difficult during the year?
Don’t feel negative reflecting on your challenges – we all have them. Unpacking what you find difficult helps you learn how to do things differently as you go forward. You know that way didn’t work, so maybe you need to learn and try a different approach.
How did it feel when a colleague or friend made you feel good about something?
First, identify the thing. Positive feedback on your work performance? Thanks from a friend you helped out of a tight spot? Next, consider how you felt and describe it in as much detail as you can. This is the likely state you want to create more of in your life. Be clear on what it feels like so you can recognise it more easily.
List your biggest lessons from 2022 so far?
Again, look across all aspects of your life to select key learnings. Consider people and relationships too, in addition to what you’ve actually done. Why have you chosen these examples? How will these lessons affect your actions moving forward?
Describe the biggest risk you’ve taken in 2022?
We all take risks in life. And we should. Consider your biggest one this year and why you decided to take it. Does it seem as risky now? Did it pay off? And what does that look like? If it didn’t work, what would you do differently next time?
Three goals to complete 2022
You can’t achieve everything in the next three months, so set yourself up for success. Define three things you intend to focus on and detail the milestones you want to reach by the end of December. They might be challenges to overcome, or performance goals to achieve.
Of course, these goals might accompany you into 2023 too. Just consider how far you can take them during the remainder of this year.
Some of these goals might concern your personal life. Things you want to achieve or a work-life balance you want to reach, for example.
Maybe you need to let go of something. When it’s holding you back there’s nothing more positive than letting go. Can you do this in the next three months?
If discovering a new role to better align with your priorities is key, many vacancies exist right now. It’s a great time to consider your options and act on them.
Start 2023 with focus
By reflecting in September, you’ll achieve more before the year ends. Three months is a quarter of the year – plenty of time to move the dial on your goals.
But this isn’t just about the next quarter. Your plan for 2023 will build on what you achieve in the coming months. By reflecting now – not leaving it until you’re ready for another break – next year will start with enthusiasm and purpose. You’ll achieve more in the first quarter of 2023 too.
With so much going on in the world, the greatest gift you can give yourself is time to reflect. As you settle back into your normal work-life routine, there’s no time like the present.