We hear a lot about the importance of being in the present moment. “Be here, now.” as Ray LaMontagne sings (click here for a post on this!) But there are situations where time travel can not only be fun and entertaining, but actually productive.
Each year in early December, the sales team I used to lead and I would conduct an Annual Business Review. This was the process of goal setting for the upcoming year, which not only consisted of identifying targets that we wanted to reach, but also included action steps, and quarterly check ins to evaluate our progress every few months.
It was time consuming, but each team team member would present their business plan to their colleagues on a cold day in early December. There was a pride that emerged as each sales professional took ownership of how they would WIN in the upcoming year. I always felt it was critical to do this before January so we hit the ground running day one, after the holidays.
I shared with my team, and will here again, that I actually do this annually on a personal level as well. I time travel 12 months out, and imagine it is a year from now. I draft a journal entry that consists of a look back at the prior year (from the future!) outlining all of the things I have accomplished. When it comes to goal setting, I usually focus on the big five: Health, Relationships (family and friends), Professional, Financial and Spiritual.
There is no identifiable “magic” when we put pen to paper with our intentions, or in this case future accomplishments. Yet the research tells us repeatedly that goal setting is critical to progress and there actually is a documented connection between setting goals and achieving them. I have found this to be true in all aspects of setting targets, both in my personal life and with my sales teams.
I think there may be “apps” for this as some have caught on to how both fun, and effective this exercise can be. It is fascinating to revisit last year’s journal entry, also written for the future, and see what has actually come to fruition. Sometimes the most lofty goals seem to become reality in a mere 12 months. And some don’t, but at a minimum most are closer to attainment than when I authored my future journal entry.
If you are at all interested in this dynamic, and hitting the ground running in 2022, give this a shot. Date your document “December __, 2022” then list the areas you will focus on. It might have nothing to do with the “big five” categories I mentioned. Once you have your categories listed, you write as much as you want about each. But you must do it in the past tense.
For example, if the topic is “health” you can write something like “It’s amazing that I have reached my goal of working out 200 times this year!” OR. “I am so grateful that my blood pressure is regulated and I no longer need medication.” If it is “relationships” it might be something like “I am happy that I was able to connect with these people (name them) whom I have lost touch with over the years.” “Financial” might be something like “I have completely consolidated (or decimated!) the debt I was carrying and it no longer stresses me.”
You get the idea.
The only requirement is that you have fun, and really imagine what it would be like for these things to be true in a year (or less!) My experience with holiday time is that we eat too much, spend too much, drink too much and ram around too much. Then when January hits we deprive ourselves of all the comforts we overindulged in for the last six weeks. Is it any wonder so many people get depressed in January?
If this happens to you, try this little exercise and let yourself go back to the future in a journal entry. I can’t say what the magic is, or point you directly to the supportive research (which is available everywhere) but I can tell you that I have yet to create one of these that didn’t have some if not all aspects of it become reality. Set the tone for 2022 now, so when January 2nd arrives you know exactly what you will focus on!