heartWe’re creeping toward the end of the year, do you know what means?  It’s time to start planning for next year.

Wait a minute!

Are you forgetting something?  Before you start planning for NEXT year, it is important to take stock of what you did THIS year.

Before you start complaining, “This year just wasn’t my year…”, I want to say that you’ve probably accomplished a lot more than you think you have over the past 12 months and it’s time to celebrate!

Just remember, you cannot know where you are going unless you know where you are now.  Every journey has a starting and ending point. The more familiar you are with your starting point, the easier it is to envision the end.

Celebrate Your Accomplishments

Here’s a quick exercise to help you take stock of your year.  Take a piece of paper and fold it in half vertically (you should end up with two long narrow sections).  Label one side “Then” and the other side “Now”.

Keep the following life and business areas in mind as you make your list:

  • Family & Relationships
  • Financial
  • Reputation
  • Audience Reach
  • Charity & Volunteer Work
  • Business Vision
  • Spirituality

Write down where you were “then” versus where you are “now” for each of these areas, and any other areas that are important to you.

If you found this exercise to be a little difficult, keep reading.  I have some suggestions to make it easier on you next year.

Set Yourself Up for Success Next Year:

Here’s how to make this exercise easier on yourself next year:

  • Create a business diary. This can be as simple as a Google calendar or a notebook in your Evernote with a new note for each day or week. Spend a minute or two at the end of every day and jot down anything you might want to remember later. For example, you might make a note about being published in Huffington Post, or getting re-tweeted by someone with a great following. You may also want to include things like product launch dates and results, affiliate promotions, ad campaigns,, and anything else you’ll want to remember or reference later.
  • Create a “Yay Me” file. Here is where you’ll record all the good stuff. Glowing emails from clients, exceptional reviews, even particularly flattering photos should be saved and pulled out whenever you need a pick-me-up.There are lots of ways to build this file, but don’t be afraid to get creative. A fun scrapbook with plenty of color will lift your spirits every time you see it. I  just keep a simple file and whenever I start to feel like business is getting hard, I pull out the e-mails from clients and remember why I’m doing this in the first place.

Remember, what you focus on and appreciate grows.  Take some time to honor your accomplishments this year and set yourself up for success in the next year.