Before you start choosing goals for the new year, it’s important to step back and take a look at the year that’s finishing—take a personal inventory, add it all up, and see how you did. After all, businesses take inventories regularly to recalibrate, confirm, and set themselves up for a successful future—so should people.

Personal inventory

What were your successes, and where did you come up short? What has worked, what didn’t? Which were good decisions, which were bad? It’s time to decide whether or not you are proud of each detail you see, and to begin stepping in the direction of improvement and healing.

We have so much room for improvement. Every aspect of our lives must be subjected to an inventory of how we’re taking personal responsibility. It’s important to learn the lessons of life quickly or you’ll be apt to repeat them. The tuition for the lesson gets steeper each time though, so it’s better—and less painful—to learn it the first time.

Questions to guide your personal inventory

Skip this step, and you might not even realize you are off-course until too much time has passed, too many resources have been spent, and your life is on the rocks. Open your Daily Notes Section on your PlanPlus Online homepage–and write your thoughts…

  • What was your biggest triumph last year?
  • What was the smartest decision you made last year?
  • What was the greatest lesson you learned last year?
  • What was the most loving service you performed last year?
  • What is your biggest piece of unfinished business from last year?
  • What are you most happy about completing last year?
  • Who were the three people who had the greatest impact on your life last year?
  • What was the biggest risk you took last year?
  • What was the biggest surprise last year?
  • What important relationship improved the most last year?
  • What compliment would you have liked to been given last year?
  • What one word best sums up and describes last year’s experience?

In every case of a business inventory, time is set aside for an important task. Those taking that inventory might think there are other, more pressing matters, yet we know the inventory is needed.

The same is true for the personal inventory. In the moment, it never seems necessary, and in the moment, there’s always something else to do. The most effective leaders (and achievers) get past the moment and look at the bigger picture.