Making Your List, Checking It Twice: How To End The Year With A Bang

There’s one more month to go before Christmas and soon, we will be decorating our trees and ushering in a brand new year. But, before we start singing "Auld Lang Syne," let us rewind and reflect on the past year.

Did you accomplish all of your goals? Did you fall short? Here are some of the items on my checklist that I hope you may find useful:

Did I stay true blue?

It’s important not to get sidetracked or deviate from your original goals, but it's also important to stay open to the infinite unexpected possibilities that may await you in the future. Similar to a business, we must have some sort of a strategic plan for our lives.

Whether it happens every few years, annually, quarterly or monthly, it’s important to have a game plan. I do it annually and then mentally check back every few months to ensure that I’m on track. That’s my first step toward realizing my goals.

Although things may not all happen at once, it’s important to have faith in the unknown and relinquish your attachment to the outcome. When we cling to one outcome rigidly, we close ourselves off to other opportunities that may present themselves along the way.

You may walk down the street on your way to the post office with that goal in mind, but you may also meet a friend who could deliver your package directly to its destination. The latter is only a possibility if you are able to engage that person in conversation and remain open.

If you remain rigid and unable to be flexible, you will never know what else is out there.

Did I commit?

Sometimes, life gets so busy that we forget to follow through with our goals. In order to scratch off achievements on our to-do lists in life, we need to stay organized and dedicated enough to live up to the expectations we set for ourselves.

This past year was my first as an entrepreneur and I learned many things along the way. I executed some things according to plan and monitored them closely, while with other things, I started too late and failed to follow through. But, it’s all part of the exciting learning experience.

I am glad that there are people in my corner who were there to offer support and guidance. It’s important to first have a plan and create a system within your work space to regularly remind yourself what you need to do and when.

Did I set realistic goals and timelines?

Goals are important, but being practical is equally as important. When you rush in too soon or force something, most times, you will end up having to re-do it and in the process, you will expend twice the time and resources. And, you don’t want that!

So, to avoid the risk, do your research and assess your goals adequately. Give yourself breathing room for unexpected delays and setbacks. It's important not to beat yourself up over the details, as hiccups are natural aspects of life.

You may also find it useful to solicit the help of a friend who is an expert in the requisite area or to get some professional help, like a coach or mentor.

Did I learn from my challenges?

For many years, we may have been doing things the same way, but expecting different results. Life is about learning; if something isn’t working, perhaps you need to change it up and do something different. Perhaps you need to have a backup plan, should things not work out by a particular time.

When you learn from your past, you will be able to chart a better future. I have found it useful and cathartic to blog. Suddenly, my thoughts and concerns focus themselves, as hindsight is often 20/20.

Did I give back to those in need?

“To whom much is given, much is expected.” This saying rings true for events in both business and personal lives. When we contribute our talents to good causes and return to others what we have received, we often reap the rewards tenfold, as doing so creates a cycle of reciprocity. Also, it feels great to give and great to know that someone else is better as a result.

Make your own checklist and end the year with a clean slate.