Sometimes, the Best Way to Move Forward, is to Look Back

It’s been said that you can never know where you’re going until you truly know where you’ve been.

In a few weeks 2018 will be here. You may have already started your annual planning, looking ahead to what you want to accomplish in the following year. Unfortunately, many of us are so focused on moving forward and setting new goals, that we fail to assess where we’ve been and appreciate what we’ve accomplished.

many of us are so focused on moving forward and setting new goals, that we fail to assess where we’ve been and appreciate what we’ve accomplished.

There is nothing wrong with being driven, but when we never take the time to look back, we fail to appreciate what we’ve accomplished. Assessing where you have been is a critical part of any goal-setting plan. Taking the time to figure out which goals you’ve accomplished, which goals you’ve failed to accomplish, and which ones you totally forgot about or took no action on at all, is crucial.

Taking an honest assessment of the goals you haven’t accomplished, can help you identify your weaknesses, and thus, where you may be tripping up on the road to achieving your dreams. If, for example, you look at your failed goals and realize they were all too aggressive for the amount of time you had to dedicate to them, then perhaps you can re-adjust the way you set your goals or find more time to work on them. If you look at what you HAVE accomplished and notice a common thread among all of those goals, it may give you a better indication of where your strengths lie and what your objectives should be.

Appreciating how far you’ve come can have another positive benefit; it builds confidence. Driven, forward-thinking people, tend to only be concerned with how far they have left to go to accomplish their goals. When you are solely focussed on how far is left to go, you’re focussed on what you lack and what you haven’t yet done. When you focus on where you’ve been, and how far you’ve come, you appreciate how much you have grown, and accomplished, and your confidence will increase that you have what it takes to go the rest of the way.

So I challenge you this week to make an extensive evaluation of 2017. Make a list of all of the things that you’ve accomplished. Now make a list of all of the things that you haven’t accomplished but planned to. What do the items in each list have in common? What can you learn about yourself but examining both lists?

Once you’ve completed an honest and thorough assessment, you will be ready again to start thinking about 2018. Stay tuned for next week’s post to give you a guide on effectively planning your year.