The end of every year is a time for reflection and contemplation. Often, contemplation wins out, as we are eager to look to the new year and plan out our personal and professional goals.


Yet, I think, now that we’re in December, that reflection is more important. And, without the proper reflection, contemplating our future goals can be limited and less effective. I think we should think about looking back at 2012 to determine how we best define ourselves and our success.


What can be very rewarding is finding closure on what we’ve accomplished and where we’ve been. It’s important to jot down your accomplishments for the past year. This will help you form the foundation for what is to come in 2013. This exercise will give your brain a sense of closure and a feeling of success.


Here is what to do:


  1. Write down on paper, in a journal, in your computer, or record what you have done the last year. You may look at your calendar to help jog your memory.
  2. List all of your accomplishments and personal successes. Nothing is too small. Think about your career, your family, community service, finances, etc.
  3. Then, dig deeper. Think of accomplishments that go beyond the traditional way of thinking (major work projects, awards, raises)? Did you learn to communicate more effectively, earn a new certification, or express your brand in a new way?
  4. Ask a close friend, spouse, or colleague to review your list, and whether they have any additional accomplishments to add.
  5. Finally, draft a few lines on each accomplishment, noting the value you added to your firm. Be specific. Include the challenges you faced, the actions you took, and the results of your actions.


These professional accomplishments can now serve as the basis for your 2013 goals, and be used in your résumé. Not only will you realize that you have accomplished much in 2012, but you will be more prepared to enter 2013 with highly achievable goals.