Not only does Thanksgiving represent food, family and football, but for me at least, it also represents a time of reflection and self-renewal. It is an exciting time that begins the process of setting goals for next year. That’s right; goals for the upcoming year should not be decided on New Year’s Eve after too many glasses of champagne! Goal setting is a process that takes time and thought to really set you up for success!

The goal setting process begins with a good hard look back at the year and there is no better time than the Thanksgiving season to do this. Take a look at your goals for this year and ask yourself some questions:

  • Which ones did you accomplish?
  • How did it feel when you accomplished them?
  • What new friends and connections did you make?
  •  What current relationships were mended?

If you haven’t grabbed your journal and dusted it off, this may be a good time to do so! There is a lot of power in recording and reflecting on all the “good” from this year. Celebrate the good and write it down. Make a list of all those who helped you on the way, supported you and just flat out made you laugh along the way. Make it a point to demonstrate your gratitude towards these people before the year is out! Write a note. Send flowers or better yet give them a huge hug and tell them how much they mean to you! Your attitude of gratitude will make a huge difference in your life and theirs.

Once you are done looking at the good, take some time and look at the bad.

  • What did not happen the way you wanted it to?
  • Which goals didn’t you accomplish? Why not?
  • What can you learn from these situations?

You see, bad situations or outcomes are only bad when we fail to squeeze and pull the good out of them. Taking an attitude of gratitude for your mistakes and unfortunate situations helps you to rise above them and learn from them and ultimately be stronger as a result of them. This is something we can and should be grateful for! In many cases, the goals we did not accomplish probably should not have been goals. Or we find that our strategies were flawed. Either way, we can take what we learned from this reflection and apply it to our goals and strategies for next year.

One final step that is crucial to the goal setting process is to reevaluate, restructure if necessary and recommit to your vision and mission. Remember, this is your final destination. Your goals should be steps along the way to this final destination. Without vision and mission, we are driving in the dark and at best can only see as far as our headlights can shine, but that is not the final destination. Pull out your vision and mission statements if you have one. Does it inspire you when you read it? Do new ideas begin popping into your head? Do you feel a greater sense of purpose? Do you feel more alive? If not, you may need to rework these statements. If you do not have a clear sense of vision and mission, start working on it!

Between the food and naps, take some time to reflect this Thanksgiving. Begin a “gratitude list” and act on it. Learn from the mistakes and misfortunes. Apply these lessons to next year. Reconnect with your vision. Do this and you will set clearer, more specific, more meaningful, and more doable goals year after year!

Have a great Thanksgiving!


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