What have you learnt from 2021?

On the back of 2020, the last twelve months have presented further challenges for everyone.

You might have supported friends and family suffering with their health You might have been horrendously busy and struggled to take time off. You might have experienced long-term furlough, even suffering redundancy when your company opened again.

Whatever life threw at you during 2021, it’s been a tough one. And yet, I honestly believe there’s always something to learn from every situation.

The end of any year is the perfect time to reflect. 2021 is no different. With luck, you’ll have a break over Christmas, perhaps giving you a few quiet moments to look back on the highs and lows of the last twelve months.

Create your Wheel of Life

When you review your year, consider work AND personal areas. Everything in your life is related. Should you have personal challenges, they’ll impact your work life. And vice versa.

So, throw it all into the pot when you’re reflecting on how it’s gone.

Learning from past performance and experience to create future goals is the perfect example of your growth mindset in action. It’s a positive approach I encourage you to embrace.

Read about the value of building your growth mindset

As a visual whole-life reflection tool, you can’t beat the Wheel of Life. It reminds us that to go forward smoothly, we must achieve balance across all areas of our life. One part cannot succeed without the others.

First, consider the areas of life that matter to you. These might include your career, family, social life, health, and finances.

Scoring from one to ten, how happy are you with each area?

What changes could you make to increase that score?

What must to do in 2022 to achieve this?

This helps you understand where to focus your efforts to create a more circular wheel. A wheel that’ll take you through 2022 more easily.

Ask yourself these reflective questions

It’s important to know which questions help you reflect fully. I always ask myself these five. Why not grab a notepad and jot down your thoughts? That way, your brain fully engages. And it’s incredibly valuable to refer to as you plan 2022.

So, here goes…

What have been your biggest achievements in 2021 – and why?

Look at your personal life as well as your work. Some achievements might be huge, others much smaller. But important to you.

What have you found most difficult during the year?

It’s not negative to reflect on your challenges too. They help you learn how to do things differently as you go forward.

How did you feel when a colleague or friend made you feel good about something?

First identify the thing. Then consider how you felt. 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.

What have been your biggest lessons from 2021?

Again, look across all aspects of your life. Why have you chosen these examples? How will they affect your actions in 2022?

What was the biggest risk you took in 2021?

We all take risks in life. And we should. Consider your biggest one during 2021 and why you decided to do it. Does it seem as risky now? Did it pay off? If not, what would you do differently next time?

Finally, do you journal? If so, look back and pull out your biggest milestones. Notice how you were feeling at the time. Consider how far you’ve come since then. This is all about your personal progress, nobody else’s.

Two core goals

Reflection is crucial to make further progress in life. By understanding what’s happened, what’s worked, and what hasn’t, you can prepare for the future. There’s a lovely analogy that you must prepare the soil and your environment to help you flourish – just like gardeners do.

But let’s keep this simple. I want you to achieve something from your reflection.

Select two key goals for 2022. Identify those that’ll have the biggest positive impact on your life – both personally and professionally.

Now, commit them to paper.

This step is important. Research confirms you’re more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. It embeds them in your brain and keeps you focused.

Now, break these two goals down further, if you can.

What will be the outcome of achieving this goal?

What must you do to get there?

What must you overcome along the way?

Can you progress your goal in stages?

Who can help you?

When is your deadline?

They’re YOUR dreams – go and get them

It’s too easy to feel now is not the right time. There’s enough going on in the world. And yet, you’ve got dreams and aspirations, just like the next person.

So, what’s stopping you?

Of course, you might hit some issues as you progress. That’s inevitable whenever you pursue your goals. But my advice to you is simple:

Don’t let the weeds grow around your dreams in 2022.

You can choose to make them happen.