This is the time of year when most of us are setting up our New Year’s resolutions. You know: those things that we promise to do and then they kind of fall by the wayside part way through January, and then we’re in this cycle of disappointment.

Well, let’s not do that anymore! Instead, let’s think about why we’re even thinking about resolutions.

Usually that’s because we want next year to be better than this year. We want to have a break out year. Maybe we want to have an awesome year! That’s what I want to have.

The best way to do that is to start by taking a look back and reflect back on the year that’s just gone by.

That allows us to close the loop on the year. The human brain doesn’t like to have open loops going on – it’s distracting. It gives us a platform, a springboard for the year ahead, and it also helps us avoid sleepwalking through the next year.

So, as we get started, I want you to give me a number between 1 to 10 – 10 being the highest and 1 being the lowest – for the kind of year you feel you had last year.

Just make it a gut check, whatever that number is that pops into your head. Write that down, or remember it if you don’t have a pen and paper. Now let’s take a closer look.

What’s on your highlight reel?

I’d like to start by asking you to think of your highlight reel. This is the set of wins that you had last year, your accomplishments that you’re happy with, the capabilities that you really brought to the forefront, your strengths.

As you’re doing this, make sure you look at the entire year, not just the most recent months. Also remember January, February and March – yes, that was part of this year too!

Secondly, remember to think about the positives. We always are biased to the negative. Human beings tend to remember negative things more than positive. So, remember, this is about positives.

Also, if you’re the kind of person like I am that’s terribly hard on themselves, make sure you are adjusting for that factor. Like glasses, you’re bringing your vision back to 20:20, which is clear and accurate vision.

What’s on your outtake reel?

Then the second thing is, think about your outtake reel. Outtakes as in mistakes, errors, things that you wish had fallen to the cutting room floor if your life was really a film or a TV show.

The reason I say outtakes is that outtakes are a genre unto themselves these days and they’re important, and we can extract lessons from them.

Yes, maybe they didn’t go as well as we wanted them to, but it allows us to take some of the emotion out of it so that we can focus on extracting the lesson. That’s what’s important about the outtake reel.

Who are you grateful to?

Third, it’s about the people and your relationships. Think about the people who you really want and need to thank this year. Who are you really grateful to?

These are people who maybe helped you get those big wins, or who pulled you back from the brink, or helped you avoid an outtake.

Where did you have your highlights and outtakes?

Then, fourth, think about your career. Home in on the dimensions where you really had those highlights and the dimensions where you had the outtakes.

The three dimensions I like to focus on, career-wise, are:

  1. How did you work with People?
  2. How did you work on the Business, and producing results?
  3. How have you worked on your Self?

So, think about the People, Business and your Self – where did most of those highlights fit in and most of those outtakes?

That could provide really useful information for what we’re going to talk about in next week’s post, which is going to be all about how do we look at the year ahead?

My gift to help you have an awesome year

In the mean time, if you’d like more information on how to make next year your best year yet, I’ve got a FREE 10-Point Guide For Making 2016 Your Best Year Yet that you can get instant access to when you sign up to Career Mastery™ Challenge 2016, which starts on January 11th.

The Career Mastery™ Challenge is free, too. It’s my gift to help you get your New Year started off on the right foot so you can really have an awesome, awesome year.

Now I’d like you to scroll on down and leave a comment.

Tell me whether your gut check number was higher than your “after you’ve taken a closer look” number, or the other way around. And maybe you want to share some wins, or maybe even some outtakes.