Business PlanningThe interesting thing about planning for a new year is, if you are not careful, it can become a drug we take this time every year to numb the pain and discomfort of goals unmet.

By ignoring the past and turning our gaze to the future where hope and possibility lie, we miss the opportunity to draw wisdom from the year we just lived.

I know, because for years, I would roll into the new year with great anticipation and leap headlong into crafting a vision for the coming year. With my “Pollyanna Persona” in tow, I would dream of new products, triumphant launches, and a rapidly expanding network and community – all without a moment of reflection on the past year.

While I am all about looking at the “bright side” of life and focusing on what we want rather than what is, when you fail to take time to look in the rearview mirror and reflect the year you just lived, you miss the true wisdom your past has to offer.

It was this truth, seven years ago, that inspired me to create the Rearview Mirror Exercise, which now represents Step 1 in my annual planning process.

By reflecting on 10 powerful questions (5 on what went well and 5 on what missed the mark), you can glean from your answers, clues to what you want more of and what you do not want to repeat in the coming year. Through these 10 questions, you become more informed and aligned with what’s important to you. Through these 10 questions, you gain wisdom and discover what works for you and what doesn’t.

In the end, you come away with greater clarity around what you want your entrepreneurial journey to be this year.

That’s a pretty good deal. By investing 30 minutes answering 10 questions, you can step into next year with new insights and greater clarity that enables you to make wise, conscious decisions about where to invest your time and resources.

If you have a team, ask them to complete the exercise as well. By celebrating your wins together and pinpointing what you don’t want to repeat, you’ll step into the year with a more aligned and solid team that is committed to a common vision.

When you take time to look back over the year you just lived before turning your attention to where you want to go, you give yourself a gift. Through this exercise, you get to celebrate where you kicked ass, honor where you stood in your power, and acknowledge the times you moved through the fear and took courageous action.

But looking at the past is not always easy.

It requires a big dose of self-love and compassion as we forgive ourselves for the miss-steps, misses and disappointments. It also requires that you slow down long enough to reflect on where you’ve been, so you bring a more informed and conscious perspective into the year ahead.

If you are committed to making 2022 your best year yet, take time today to complete the Rearview Mirror Exercise.

Let Your Past Inform Your Future

What went well?

  1. What are you most proud of accomplishing this year? (Go for 5 or more things you feel good about.)
  2. What projects, campaigns, promotions, or events brought you the most joy?
  3. What projects, campaigns, promotions, or events brought you the biggest results? (Notice which show up both in this and the previous question.)
  4. What 3 key business relationships did you nurture this past year that you can benefit from in the coming year?
  5. Where did the money flow from easily and without a lot of stress or effort?

What didn’t go so well?

  1. What projects or promotions didn’t turn out as planned and why?
  2. Were there decisions that were made, or projects taken on that, in hindsight, you would have done differently?
  3. If you had a “do-over card,” what would you have done differently last year?
  4. What do you wish you had done more of last year?
  5. What do you wish you had done less of last year?

Give yourself the gift of answering these 10 powerful questions and as you do, notice what comes up as a result. What often arises for me is a new level of clarity and distinctions that inform what I want next year to be.

Click here to download the Rear View Mirror Exercise.



Looking for inspiration for creating a plan to take your business to the next level? Find out where you are on track in business and what missing pieces may be holding you back. Click here to take the Business Acceleration Quiz. I’ll respond with some thoughts and inspiration. ;0)