Plan Basics

Reflect and Refresh

Now's a good time to look back—and then look forward to the new year!

As you'll see in your Weekly, you can learn a lot about yourself by taking a good look at what's behind you. But assess yourself without judgment or blame. You simply want to reflect on the goals you set for yourself this year so you can continue your progress into 2018 and onward. Apply what you learn to set your "what"—goals for next year—and decide your "how": steps you might take to achieve those goals.

 

Trace it back

Let's say one of your beyond-the-scale goals was to go the gym more often. If you didn't achieve it, try tracing back the behavior chain of your actions and thoughts. Did you wind up working too late most nights? How did that happen? If you realize that, say, you didn't keep track of time well, could you add an appointment in your calendar that pops up to remind you to finish up in time? Or maybe it wasn't so much about working too late as it was—being honest, now—that you didn't really want to go to the gym. What made you feel that way? Did it seem like a hassle to get there? Or you felt uncomfortable and didn't know what to do? What is the step before those thoughts? Maybe it takes 20 minutes to drive to the gym. Maybe you are unfamiliar with the equipment.

 

Plan for the future

Keep going, tracing your thoughts, feelings, and actions all the way back to "I should go to the gym tonight." Along the way you'll be able to spot where your intentions and your actions diverged. And then, even more important, you'll be able to solve for those moments and bring yourself back on track, so you can set realistic, achievable goals going forward. Maybe, for instance, you'll plan to switch your gym sessions to the morning, or switch to a closer gym.

 

In the same way, you can use the behavior chain process to see how your steps led to a successful outcome so you can duplicate it elsewhere in your life. If you need some inspiration, check out our Success Stories, each packed with ideas and realistic, how-I-did-it advice.

Set your course for a happy new year of living well and succeeding!