The holidays provide us with a natural hiatus to stop, reflect and press the ‘reset’ button.

It’s a great time to set our intentions for the coming year.

The Power of Reflection Four Step Cycle, The Leader's Digest, by Suzi McAlpine

For the past three years I have set aside a few hours over the Christmas break period to review the year retrospectively and set some goals for the year ahead.

I used to be somewhat derisive of this reflection/goal setting lark.  Until I noticed it was a habit practiced by the most successful (and happiest) people I knew.

Without a speck of exaggeration, my goal attainment, balance in my life and yes, even my happiness, has improved dramatically in direct correlation to practicing this simple exercise.

Today’s post is part one of a three part series, where I will share with you simple tips to help you achieve your goals.

What next?

Set aside 30 minutes to an hour and find a quiet space where you can be without any interruptions.

Suzi McAlpine, The Leader's Digest

Answer the following questions, ensuring you cover the entire wheel of your life, not just your professional one.

How has 2013 been for you?
Has it been a year of considerable change?  Or, has it been a quieter season?
In a few words or images (if you are a visual person), when you think about 2013, what springs to mind?
What have been the highlights? There are always some if you really look for them – even in the darkest of times.
What are you most proud of? What were your biggest achievements?
What were the lowlights?
Where have you fell short of achieving what you had hoped?
What are your continuing lessons to be learned?
What and whom are you grateful for?
What got in the way of achieving what you wanted?

You can use journaling to help answer these questions. Wherever possible, let the thoughts flow uninterrupted. Stream of consciousness writing (or in my case typing) can provide some insights.

The next chapter of this three-part series builds on your reflections and goes deeper to provide “so what?” insights.

How did you find this exercise? If you have any other tips (or questions) you have found helpful in the ‘stop, reflect and reset’ phase please share your comments below.

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