We’re now solidly in the final quarter of the calendar year.  For those of you who made New Year’s resolutions, how are you doing?

Or, better yet, for those who have solid career plans and goals, how are you tracking and measuring your success and accomplishments?

This is not a time of the year to beat ourselves up and be discouraged.  Don’t go there!

Instead, it’s the time to review, reflect, and evaluate. 

Give Yourself a Pat on the Back

First, start listing the successes you had this year – of whatever type and scope.  In the over 10 months of 2012, what have you achieved?  Undoubtedly, you have taken a number of steps in your career, and you should pat yourself on the back for it!

Whether it is simply keeping your job – an accomplishment in itself! – or searching for a new job (whether or not successful), ALL of the actions you’ve taken in your career have led you here, so be honest and don’t hold back in giving yourself credit.

You have learned new skill sets this past year, you’ve done new things, you’ve met new people, and you’ve generated new ideas.  Spend time and make a list of *no less than* 25 accomplishments over the past year.

What You Still Want to Do

Next, think about what you can realistic accomplish before the end of the calendar year. 

Perhaps there are a few actions you need to take to finish up a big project – for example, maybe you’ve been collecting notes all year on a research paper you meant to write, and you just need to schedule in a certain amount of hours to compile and finish it before year end.  Do so now.

Or maybe you can take one big action to do something you’ve been wanting to do this year – such as speaking at a Board Meeting, or meeting with a potential “big client.”

Or maybe you can even get started on something new, and get a good piece of it behind you before the next year starts.  For example, if you wanted to learn a new language (Portuguese? Arabic?  Mandarin?), you could start now, and have a couple months under your belt by the end of the year. You’d be surprised how much you can accomplish if you just start.

Don’t take on too much, but consider what realistically you can complete by the end of the year.

What Needs to Be Improved?

Here is your opportunity to look critically at what worked and what didn’t.  This is NOT an excuse to beat yourself up, or be harsh.  Instead, make this evaluation in a way that is both kind and curious.  If you didn’t accomplish a certain goal, why not?  What could you do differently next time to make it more likely?  Maybe you decided this goal wasn’t really as important as you thought.  Be open to letting it go.

This is a good time to do some course corrections prior to the end of the year.  Take this opportunity to reflect, and have fun with it.

And never forget to give yourself kudos for all the wonderful things you already do!

I would love to hear from you what kind of reflection you do at this point in the year, and what tools you use to do so.  Please share…

Aurelia Flores is Senior Counsel at a Fortune 500 company and former Fulbright Fellow who graduated from Stanford Law School. Her website, PowerfulLatinas.com, offers stories of success, along with resources and programs focused on Latino empowerment.

 

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