Feature: Looking backward and forward for a better 2015

With the holiday season finally upon us, you are no doubt exhausted after a manic run-up to Christmas.

When you work for yourself, the year doesn’t offer many occasions to pause and reflect, but the end of the year holiday is definitely one. With the rest of the country going quiet and the calendar turning another leaf, it is the perfect to look back to the year passed, re-assess your goals and plan for the next 12 months.

Regardless of how your 2014 turned out to be, there are no doubt things that you are proud of, and things that you would rather forget. But instead of rushing off to shiny new things, consider doing a proper MOT of your business or your practice. Taking the time to understand what worked and what didn’t, to review the expectations you had for the year and chart the progresses you’ve made will help you understand where you really stand in January 2015, what goals you need to set or abandon, and what actions you need to start doing regularly to get there. If this seems like a lot to get through, you can follow this thorough method.

Not everybody has the habit of creating goals for themselves. Actually, many creatives actively refuse to do so, believing that it suffocates their creativity. At New Creative Markets, we believe that self-awareness of personal goals, although spelled out in many different ways, is the first step to success. Goals can be understood in many terms, from financial to personal or creative. They can be SMART or CREATIVE. But we know that it is not an easy task. Your vision for your business, your practice and ultimately your life direct these. And it’s not always easy to understand what you really want.

The good news is that when you have discovered what drives you, setting goals becomes easier and more meaningful. But the trick is not to stop there but to identify what you need to start or stop doing in order to achieve these goals. Small, repeated actions accrue to big results over time: “We tend to overestimate what we can do in an average day but underestimate what can be done over the course of a year.” (Chris Guillebeau)

How and how much to plan is a question of personal taste. You may decide to plan your year month by months, or in big chunks like before your birthday or before next summer. You may be looking at a better way to plan your week. Or you may decide to seriously plan to increase your revenue next year.

Research has shown that those who track their small success daily are more satisfied with their work and more likely to achieve big wins.

So use the post-Christmas lull to reflect, dream and decide on a few meaningful and ambitious objectives for 2015!