If you’re at all like me, as the end of the year starts to approach, you begin setting goals for the next year in your business or creative endeavors.

But recently I’ve learned that it’s best to take a breath first, and do a little looking back on the previous year.

When you plan for a new year, creating new goals can be a daunting task. And as is much the case with highly creative folks, when we get into the “flow”, our “to do list” for the next year becomes five pages long. Seriously, it’s happened to me.

So this time, before you write your goals and resolutions that you may or may not accomplish in the next year, try doing this instead:

1. Write down everything you’ve accomplished THIS YEAR for your business or creative self.
2. YES, EVERYTHING! All the big projects, all the milestones, all the To Do items that yielded a positive result, all the strife and struggles that propelled you into a positive outcome, etc.

Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?

Give yourself a few days or a week to do this, keeping a blank notepad or computer document open so you can add to it as you remember things. Go back and check your appointment calendar, maybe some old emails, and start the process of remembering those incredibly positive moments where you felt pulled into success – and maybe those times where you didn’t have to “force” your own effort.

I’m in the midst of doing this exercise for this past year, and it’s showing me more where my energy seems to be “naturally” flowing. I’m starting to dissolve away all of the “shoulds” in my head, and hopefully, I’m trusting more in the flow for what’s ahead.

Some things to think about:

  • First, maybe you have a belief that you didn’t accomplish much last year, and looking through that lens – it’s no wonder you might have the “racing novel” of a goals list for next year. When I did this exercise, I realized that I had accomplished a ton of important things, and it shifted my mindset about myself and my vision for my business.
  • Second, by seeing what I did work on, I could see where my actions were directed by a clearer vision of what was important. Sometimes I created the most revenue from doing my “one best thing” over and over. Or maybe I saw that at certain times of the year, I was peaking creatively, and not so much at other times. This also helped me to shift my goals for the coming year.
  • Finally, because I saw that my previous goals weren’t always followed by consistent actions, I discovered the places I encountered self-resistance, and the times where I jumped in with complete enthusiasm. I definitely now see that this coming year, my mantra will need to be, “Get to your ‘No’ a lot faster,” for those times I might be paddling through the “muck of resistance” with projects or things on my to do list that really don’t serve me.

Now, when I formulate next year’s goals, I’m a little clearer on what should shift (either the goal, or my internal mindset), and what really is most important or desirable to me in my business. Plus, I’m not as afraid to “kill off” some great “ideas” that may or may not be totally in the realm of “what’s pulling me” to be a better business owner and person.  With this approach, I get to honor the momentum of this “clean energy” of almost effortless progress that I’ve already tapped into (and I have much less stress!).

Try this exercise! I’d love to hear how it goes for you!

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