By Sunny Simon

Steven entered my office announcing he was on the countdown. Catching my puzzled expression my client explained it was 19 days and counting until we could advance the calendar to a new year. Scowling he admitted dreading all the upcoming holiday parties where friends and relatives would query how he fared in 2016.

I realized Steven had some setbacks during the current year, but few of us experience the perfect 12 months where everything goes right and all our dreams are fulfilled. Although Steven wanted to work with me on creating new goals for 2017, I changed the game plan. It is important to do a year in review and clear the decks prior to setting goals for the New Year.

Determined not to let him dismiss the entire 365 days as a lost year I challenged him to recount small victories and hard-won lessons. First I pressed Steven to relate one thing he accomplished during 2017 that made him proud. After pondering the question for a few moments, I watched as a glimmer of satisfaction crossed his face. Steven proceeded to tell me about a new website he created for a client that significantly drove traffic resulting in increased sales. Over the next few minutes we drilled down on a few more triumphs worth a fist bump or two.


We cannot learn from our mistakes and leverage actions into valuable lessons if we don’t get analytical. During the second part of this exercise I asked Steven to review a situation where he failed with a critical, yet objective lens. He cringed and indicated a discussion would be too painful but I refused to give in. At that point we discussed a complex business situation, detailing ten key factors on my white board as lessons learned.

After completing the exercise Steven was ready to honor his holiday party commitments with a positive attitude. As I bid him a Happy New Year, his parting words were, “You know, 2016 wasn’t such a bad year after all.”

How about it? Don’t let the year end with having a serious discussion with yourself or a trusted mentor about the past 12 months. Before you can even think about committing to new goals and objectives, you must clear the slate. What worked? What didn’t and why? No guilt allowed just clinical objectivity.

Once you have completed a year in review, I believe, like Steven, you will greet 2017 feeling like a more successful, more self confident you.

Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching and the author of the blog,