It’s the end of 2016, and I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there are many, many, many people who are blogging and posting and recommending that we should all be reflecting on what 2016 has been, and what we’ve achieved, and who we are, and what we’ve done, and to set goals for 2017 and to move forward with our vision and move forward with our plans for achieving this ultimate, wonderful life that we so desperately want.

I’m also one of those people, but unlike a lot of people, I understand that goal-setting doesn’t always work and at times goal-setting can lead to feelings of frustration, feelings of failure, and can open a can of worms around a comparisonitis that leaves us feeling less than, deflated, and defeated.

When we think about reflection, it can be as simple as breathing. We breathe in, we pause, and we breathe out. A reflection at this time of the year doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that. Breathe in, pause, reflect, breathe out. We need to get over some emotional hurdles around reflection before we can actually make use of that pause in our breath in.

You see, we make reflection more difficult than it needs to be!

Exhibit A:

“who has the time to reflect and review? We’re so busy, busy, busy at this time of year, and I need to be busy, busy, busy and I’m so busy, busy, busy and if I wasn’t busy, busy, busy I wouldn’t have the time anyway because I’d just make myself busy. BUSY!”

Exhibit B:

“if I pause and actually reflect, what if it’s all bad? After all, I’m not as deliriously happy as I thought would be, therefore it must be bad, ergo, I must be bad.”

Exhibit C:

“but I’m not as good as all those other fabulous people who are posting about how awesome their year has been. I don’t want to reflect on how much I sucked this year.”

I want you to take a moment and go back in your mind to January of 2016. Grab a piece of paper. I want you to write down the first four things that come to your mind that were going on for you in January of 2016. Who were you? Who were you serving? What were you doing? What were your intentions? What were you hopeful about? What did you want to learn, know, and do in 2016?

It’s now December, 2016. What has changed? It’s not good or bad. It’s just what is. What has changed? Have you changed? Have your clients changed? Has your business changed? Did you see change where you wanted to see it… or where you didn’t want to see it? Change is okay. Change doesn’t mean good. Change doesn’t mean bad. Change is just change.

Now it’s time to ask: what is the evidence actually saying? For those of you who know me, you know how much I love numbers and hard facts in my business. Why don’t you take time to pause and reflect on the stuff going on outside of your head? What were the numbers telling you in December of 2015? How does that compare to December, 2016? While you’re at it, why don’t you have a look at your numbers for the whole of 2015, from January to December, and then compare that to January to December, 2016. What has changed? Have your numbers gone up? Have your numbers gone down? Have they gone sideways? There’s no good. There’s no bad. It just is.

Picture this: it’s now December, 2017. What could your business, what could your life actually look like? It’s not good. It’s not bad. It just is, but what possibilities are out there for you?

What is one big word, or short sentence that could be used to describe how you want to be in 2017, not what you want to achieve, not what you want to do, but how you want to be?

For my business, Purple Co, my phrase for 2017 is “work the plan“. It’s boring. I don’t really like it, but it’s what needs to happen to make sure that I can achieve the things I want to achieve and experience the quality of service provision for my clients, my customers, and my consultants that I want. For me, my phrase next year is “to bravely disrupt” because like everyone else, I can get scared and fall back into what’s safe and what’s ‘normal’, but I know that I’m called to disrupt, to ask questions to help people think. Next year is my year of being bravely disruptive.

When we take time to pause and reflect, it’s no more different to breathing. We breathe in the goodness of 2016, we pause, reflect, and we breathe out all that 2016 has meant to us. We can leave it behind. It’s not good. It’s not bad. It just was. Now, I don’t know about you, but you may have found this goal-setting activity or reflection activity a little different, a little unusual, comfortable. If you’d like more, then I have more for you.

This is where my first book in the series, From Clinician to Entrepreneur, comes into its own. I know that traditional goal-setting rarely works, so I want to share with you how I’ve learnt to set goals and to make them work to build a plan around my whole life, not just my business goals. This is a workbook that I’ve been working on over the past two years to bring to fruition just for you.

If you’d like to know about it or purchase yourself a copy, all you need to do is click here.

Wishing you a fantastic, wonderful Christmas season, a wonderful new year, and looking forward to connecting with you further in 2017.

~ Jo


Jo Muirhead is a Rehabilitation Counsellor with over 20 years of experience in vocational rehabilitation, and a mentor to allied health professionals who are ready to make freedom, flexibility and fulfilment happen in 2016 and beyond.

Click here to get the first workbook in the series created exclusively for clinicians in private practice: Why Goal Setting Doesn’t Always Work (and how to make it easier).


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