As we near the end of the year, many people are taking time to review and reset. Are you?

Whether you are a nonprofit founder, staffer, volunteer, or board member, you can benefit from taking the time to review your year and plan for the next.

In fact, I would dare say almost every successful businessperson performs this exercise at least annually, if not more often.

I’m not talking about setting New Year’s resolutions. We all know how easy those are to break.

This is a more comprehensive look at where you’ve been, what you want to celebrate, what you learned and then charting where you want to go. It is a vital, and important part of organizational or department planning and preparation and can also be a great thing to do for our personal lives as well.

The set up: Take time away, even if it’s just a few hours (a day is better), where you can turn off your phone, have no distractions and really think about these three questions:

  1. What went well?
    • Actions you took that yielded success or positive outcomes
    • Achievements or wins you want to celebrate
    • Marketing strategies that led to your desired results
    • Personal things you did that you feel great about
  2. What could have gone better?
    • Actions you took that did not go as planned or yield the desired outcome
    • Marketing strategies that did not produce
    • Personal things you did (or didn’t do) that would have provided more fulfillment
    • Lessons learned from the “failures” from the year
  3. What do I want/need to achieve next year?
    • Set a maximum of 3 large goals (vision) for the year
    • Brainstorm action steps you can take, resources you think you’ll need, etc.
    • Create sub-goals that are SMART-Y

You will want to have your calendar handy so you can review it to help remind yourself of everything that happened, both good and bad, throughout the year.

And when you get to question #3, let’s dig in a little.

It can be easy to cast a big vision and set several goals. And let’s be honest. How many goals can you realistically focus on or achieve at once? Set three large goals. Goals that are a stretch, but not completely unrealistic. And if you achieve all three before the year is up, you can always set more goals!

Take a little time to think about what you’ll need – in broad strokes – to achieve your goals. What resources you will need, people you’ll need to involve, etc.

Set some sub-goals for each goal. Again, no more than 3-5, so it stays manageable. I know you’ve probably heard of SMART goals. Those are goals that are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic (or Relevant), and Time-bound. I’ve got one more letter to add to the mix thanks to my friend Jen Patterson and that’s “Y”. What is your why? Why is each goal a “must?” SMART goals are great, but when you tie them to a “why,” they become even more powerful.

If you know why this goal is a must for you; what it will feel like to achieve it; what it will mean for you, your colleagues, and those you serve– it will make it more likely for you to keep pushing through when things get difficult. Knowing our why is vital to our success – with our goals as well as our organizations.

These few steps can give you the opportunity to celebrate and learn from the year just ending and set you up for a great year to come.

Here’s to a productive and fulfilling 2022!

Cami (Operations Catalyst, The Stacey Wedding Group)