Reflect on 2019 before setting 2020 goals

At this time of year our minds often turn to the "g word" - goals. Did you set goals for yourself last year? Did you meet them or some of them?

The chances are you didn't meet all your goals for yourself, but that experience has value for the future - if you take some time to learn from it. Take an hour of your time, a pen and paper and start your reflection here.

1. Reflect on the goals you set yourself last year. Do they remain valid and in tune with what is really important to you? Or were they shaped by the expectations of others? Goals are more likely to be achieved if they are relevant to you.

2. What progress did you make? Be kind to yourself - don't just say "It was a total failure" but examine your progress with compassion. Did you start off well and falter later on? Did something unexpected derail you? Identify obstacles and derailers for future reference and think in advance of a method to combat them next time. Write it down - "If X happens, I will ...." If you succeeded at your goals, how did you do it? How can you build on that knowledge to help you in 2019?

3. Monitoring progress can be motivating, but you might have trouble measuring progress if your goal is vague, such as "I want to have a better work-life balance". Try writing down behaviours that are specific - a better work-life balance might mean leaving work before 6 pm three days a week and only taking work home on the weekend once a month, for example.

4. Then next to each goal write down how difficult you think it will be to achieve it, what support you can call on, and how long you think you will need to achieve it. This will not only help you plan but also help you keep track of progress over the months to come. Return to your plan regularly to check on progress and update it.

5. If you struggled to meet a goal and questioned if it was worth the effort, try writing down now why this goal is important to you and what will be different when you have achieved it. Keep this somewhere you can refer to easily (on your smartphone, for example) when you feel demotivated.

6. Did you use your character strengths to help you? Using your strengths to achieve a goal can increase productivity, engagement and motivation and improve performance. If you don't know what your strengths are, take the free test at

Best of luck with your goals for 2020!

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