Can you believe that 2021 is just about gone? I’m sure that part of that is because we felt like 2020 was three years rolled into one, so 2021 feels short by comparison! Nevertheless, New Year's Eve is right around the corner which, of course, will naturally lead to various resolutions — both personal and professional — that can potentially fall apart quickly if you’re not fully prepared to make them happen.
The first step to success in 2022 is to look back on 2021 with an end-of-year self-reflection. And yes, it’s helpful to look at both the good and the bad, which is exactly what we’ll be doing today.
Did you accomplish everything on your agenda this year?
This first reflection requires a little bit of self-awareness and honesty. Practically speaking, we rarely accomplish everything we set out to do in a given year. It’s difficult to predict what we’ll face on both a personal and professional level.
That being said, you did accomplish some things; it’s those things I want you to keep in mind despite the goals you didn’t hit. In other words, it’s good to acknowledge what we didn’t accomplish, but it’s more important to lift yourself up with the understanding that you did a lot of amazing things these past twelve months!
Did you develop any new skills this year?
Personal development includes growing your skillset, whether by improving your existing ones or building new skills. They may be incremental or they may be extensive.
Either way, take a moment to think about the things you’re doing better today than you did at the start of 2021. And, if there are still new skills you want to build upon, take a mental note or write them down. Quantify how they will help you to be motivated next year.
How much bigger is your network today compared to January 1st?
We all need connections, whether personal or professional. Another key aspect of personal development is to grow your network so that you can influence others and vice versa.
So, who did you meet this past year? How did they affect your working habits, your management skills, or other aspects of your career? Likewise, what lasting impact did you have on them?
Your network may be only 5% larger, but as with your skills, make mental (or physical) notes as to how your larger network has made you a better person and more effective in your current position.
Did you keep a success journal?
So far, I’ve mentioned writing things down. As amazing as your memory may be, the fact is you won’t remember everything. Self-awareness teaches us to document important details, whether by using the notepad app on your phone or in a dedicated success journal.
There are a plethora of journal styles out there if you prefer paper and pen. Regardless of your method or if you choose to go digital, write down everything you can remember from 2021. This success journal will help you realize what you did well this year, what you can improve on next year, and it can guide you when it comes to making those annual New Years Resolutions — and sticking to them too.
Is your LinkedIn profile reflective of your successes?
Once you’ve written everything down, it’s worth taking the time to update your LinkedIn profile with relevant accomplishments and projects from 2021. These can be helpful both from a recruiting standpoint as well as when demonstrating why your firm is the right choice for customers.
Add your new skills while you’re at it and expand your description for your current role to better reflect your value.
Do you have goals for 2022?
Finally, as we move through the personal development process we need to talk about next year. You don’t want to end 2021 without taking the time to look back on everything that you did this year.
Likewise, you also shouldn’t ring 2022 in yet if you don’t have a general idea as to the things you want to see happen next year. Self-reflection can help you decide what is an appropriate goal for next year and what may have been a good idea on paper, but not important when you look at the grand scheme of things.
2021 end of year self-reflection can make 2022 your best year yet
We all faced challenges in 2021 and we’re likely to face just as many in 2022. The thing I want you to remember is that you never have to go at it alone — I’m here to help.
Few of us will ever hit all of our goals, but we can look at what we accomplished with a renewed sense of determination. Our skills and networks are always growing, and documenting (both offline and online) is a great way to look back and encourage ourselves to keep moving forward next year.
Here’s to your 2022! I know it’s going to be an amazing year!