Looking Back To Look Forward

It’s December…already?! If you are like me, the years seem to fly by faster and faster.

Between Thanksgiving and the end of the year, I’m reminded that it’s a season of traditions. Beyond my personal life, I also have some traditions in my work life.

Carving out time for some self-reflection at the end of the year has proven beneficial and provided insights about what I’ve learned, and what I want to do differently or more of in the year ahead.

I’m not one to make new year’s resolutions. However, I think this reflection activity can shape my plans and goals for the year ahead. It’s a bit like an After Action Review at the end of a project.

If you want to give it a go, here is my list of questions for consideration:

Looking Back: Looking Ahead:
  • What did I do that boosted my career or capabilities?
  • In what areas do I feel more confident? What did I do to        achieve that?
  • When was the last time I did something for the first time?
  • What relationships do I feel good about? Why?
  • What relationships suffered?        Why?
  • What fell short of my expectations? Why?
  • What will I continue doing?
  • What will I say “no” to?
  • How will I take care of myself?
  • What relationships will I spend more time focusing on? What will I do to build a better connection?
  • What do I want to learn?
  • What do I want to be different at the end of next year?



You will notice several questions about relationships.

One thing I know for sure is that life is more meaningful, both personally and professionally, if you have strong connections with others. Relationships are special.

December is a great time to make sure the people in your personal life and work life know how important they are to you. Let them know the impact they’ve had on you. Show your appreciation in a way that will be significant to them.

Repeated studies have found that the happiest people have one thing in common – good relationships. In Eric Barker’s book, Plays Well With Others, he shares scientific research to get answers on what it takes to have better, happier, more fulfilling relationships.

Here’s a fun fact about one piece of that research: If you have three friends at work, you’re 96% more likely to feel happy about your life. Remarkably, that result was not “happy with your job”…it was happy with LIFE!

I hope you can take a bit of time off in the holiday season and can use some of that downtime to reflect and consider how to make 2023 even better. Remember that old African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Martha Duesterhoft if a Partner with PeopleResults. Follow her on Twitter @mduesterhoft or connect via email at mduesterhoft@people-results.com.