There are four questions about 2017 I ask my Learning Set members and people I mentor. The first 2 are work related. The answers form the bases of setting their 2018 goals. Outlined below are the four questions, their explanation and some typical answers to help you reflect and help you in your own goal setting.

Question 1: What are the 3 things you are most proud of in 2017 that you achieved at work? These are issues you tackled yourself not delegated to someone else to achieve.

Often the greatest achievements are when you have gone out of your comfort zone. Conquering the risks. Be proud of your achievements. Take the time to reflect and celebrate. What was once out of your comfort zone is now routine so you can lift your bar. Great work!

Answers are varied from leading and achieving accreditation, successfully leading a restructure, introduced new model of care, developing a relationship at work with someone whose personality drives you to absolute frustration. Taking ownership of problems you would have previously avoided.

Your 2018 goal is lifting the bar. Get out of your comfort zone and achieve…

Question 2: What in hindsight could you have done better at work and what are the key lessons learnt?

Invariably many of the answers are about dealing with a difficult person. “I wish I started the performance management process earlier” “I wish I confronted the issue earlier.” Process issues often arise when people have made the wrong assumptions.

Lessons learnt may be challenging often it is about admitting you may be biased in your thinking or hold a fear that stops you making the right decision.

Your goal for 2018 is to practice the lesson learnt. Articulate as honestly as possible. What were they? If it is a repeated pattern, also answer “why do I do that repeatedly?”

Question 3: In your personal life – close relationships: what was the good, the bad, the ugly. When something turns from bad to the ugly it usually taps into your key area of vulnerability. 

Personal relationships usually deal with work / family balance. What percentage of time are you mentally thinking about work when you are physically at home? 20% , 80% or putting it another way – when are you not at least 80 % present when at home. This makes the assumption that being 100 % present is almost impossible for anyone except the elite athlete and only when they get into the ‘zone’.

Ugly issues at home are often a result of issues at work that tap into your key vulnerable spot and it makes it almost impossible to leave work issues at the office. The more you need to be in control of a situation the more likely you will take things home mentally to resolve.

The 2018 goals are almost always about enhancing personal relationships. Very rarely are they about spending more time at work.

Question 4: The essential you. The ‘I am’ – What do you do to nurture yourself, the core essence of who you are and how much time did you dedicate to ‘you’?

This is the most difficult because few nurture themselves. They simply put themselves last and feel guilty if they contemplate only the rare luxury such as a weekly massage .

In reality most spend less than 4 hours a week nurturing themselves, Ideas include reading, walking , taking a non-work related course, being creative, hobbies, gym, time alone. Sitting in front of the TV and not knowing or caring what is on, having time walking in nature.

Goals are set for 2018 based on how much you realise that a healthy and more content you means you are a nicer all rounder.

Sharing and verbalising your goals with trusted others makes them real and provides greater understanding.