Be kind, rewind blog header2

By Julia Capon

Remember the VHS cassettes we used to hire from the local video store? (FYI: if under 30, this is how we used to watch movies and I am showing my age!). They had stickers on them that said “be kind, rewind” and it was so annoying when the previous renter hadn’t, and you had to waste precious seconds doing it yourself.

We often look forward to setting goals for the new year, but how many of us “rewind” and reflect on what we were able to achieve over the year? It’s much easier to plan ahead when you start from a position of knowing what did – and didn’t – work in the past. At work, you might set, review and revise goals as part of your strategy for success. As individuals, however, whilst it is traditional to create “New Year resolutions”, we don’t seem to have an equivalent for “Past Year revelations”. In November, I wrote about being stuck in the mud and how investing time and energy into planning has made my life so much easier, professionally and personally. How planning had become a habit that had taken time but is now paying back in spades. Because I wanted to share this with our community, I created Plan for Impact so that you could benefit too. 

The start of the training focused on pausing and rewinding by asking a few key questions before you hit go on next year’s planning.

Are you ready to be kind, rewind?

When you’re ready to rewind, I recommend removing yourself from your everyday scene and making it as fun as possible.  

  • Divide a piece of paper into four quadrants
  • In the left-hand quadrants, head up a row with Wins and a second row with Fails (I also love to call these “whomp whomps” – those things that didn’t quite go according to plan). 
  • On the right-hand side, title each row with Lessons/Learnings.

Like this:

Under each heading, think about the key moments in your professional and personal life during the year and divide them into a win or fail. Try to get at least three in both the wins and the whomp whomps sections.

Don’t forget to cast your mind back to what you were doing in January, February and March too – it may seem a long time ago, but you might have done a lot you are not remembering! 

“We overestimate what we can achieve in a week and underestimate what we can achieve in a year” – Tim Ferris.

Because this is an individual exercise, be honest. You are the only one who will read it and avoid judging or being hypercritical of yourself if there are more “fails” than “wins” (remember the “be kind” bit of rewinding). Remember, the ultimate goal is to figure out the learnings that can help inform an action plan for 2022, not to be too hard on yourself. 

Once you have your list ask yourself: 

  • What were the lessons from the wins and the fails?
  • Where were you struggling? i.e. look for the barriers that you may have created as to why you couldn’t achieve a goal, dig into where these came from, ask if the goal is still relevant and what needs to happen to turn it into a win during the next six months.
  • What do you need to stop doing, what do you need to learn and, what do you need to continue doing? 
  • What do you NOT want in your life in 2022? To do more, you often have to create space. Let go of something that no longer serves you, so you have room for what does. 

Here’s an example of some of my wins and whomp whomps in 2021:

Other questions to help you during the reflection stage of planning include: 

  • What are the fears you’ve been avoiding or need to conquer to turn a fail into a win? 
  • What capabilities were you missing to achieve a win? 
  • What did you avoid doing because it was uncomfortable but necessary for a win?
  • Who can you learn from or who can help you achieve the win? 

Once these questions have been answered, it will be easy to pinpoint the goals for the year ahead and what you need to do to achieve them. 

If doing the above seems like an impossible task to accomplish before 31 December, don’t stress, nothing bad will happen if you postpone until January. The vital thing to do is to complete the process before launching into those “New Year resolutions” you vow to undertake during the singing of Auld Lang Syne.

Trust me when I say rewind and reflect on 2021 – it is worth doing and one way to be kind to your future self.

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