As the New Year approaches and your thoughts turn to making 2018 profitable and productive, it’s also time to consider where you’ve been—and whether or not your work year held up to expectations.
Reflecting on your work year can certainly help you learn from your mistakes, but it’s also a great opportunity to bring your attention to the positive and how you’ve grown as an employee. Here are four questions you should be asking to better understand yourself and your goals.
1. What Parts Did You Enjoy Most?
Reflection should always start on a high note. There will always be decisions you regret or tasks you could have performed more effectively. However, starting the reflection process by thinking about what parts of your work year you loved will reignite your passions and give you a clearer path to your goals.
Was there a particular person you always enjoyed teaming up with? Did one project stand out to you as something you are especially proud of? Did you thrive most in the situations where you took a leadership role?
When you ask yourself these types of questions, you’re doing more than just reflecting nostalgically. Pinpointing exactly which parts of your job you enjoyed most can narrow in on your skills and where you should be focusing your energy.
Knowing your strengths can help you advance your career and develop concise goals for your future. If you aren’t able to think of anything you enjoyed, that’s a clear sign you should be moving in a different direction.
2. What Did You Learn?
Every experience you have in your career can be used as a teachable moment, but which of these moments really stuck out and were useful to you?
These lessons may go beyond just technical knowledge. While learning a new program or hard skill is critical to advance your career, you should also think about soft skills. Did you learn how to be more decisive or develop your communication abilities further? Are you proud of the progress you made on your public speaking skills or your knack for conflict resolution?
Thinking about what you learned throughout the year can bring into focus how you grew as an employee, and this should be used to set yourself up for success in the upcoming year.
3. What Needs to Be Left Behind?
Was something holding you back during your work year? Perhaps it was a bad habit that kept you from completing all your tasks in a day, like a distracting phone app or social media addiction.
Taking the time to reflect on your work year gives you the opportunity to identify what worked and what didn’t. If you need to discard some old habits and limiting behaviours, now is the time to develop a strategy to change the situation.
4. What Were Your Goals and How Have They Changed?
When you have specific goals for your career, you work harder to advance toward them. Maybe your goals were small, such as improving your typing speed or communication skills, but anything that helps you look toward the future can benefit your career.
As the New Year approaches, now is the time to reflect on your goals from last year and assess how they’ll change moving forward. Perhaps you were able to get that promotion you were working toward. If so, now is the time to ask yourself, “how did I get there? And how can I take what I learned and turn it into a strategy for self-development?”
Determining which path you took to achieve your goals is a perfect way to develop and set concrete plans for the upcoming year.