Mid January is a great time to take a look back over last year. It’s also a tricky thing to do – we need to make sure that we don’t get bogged down in bemoaning all the things we didn’t do!

From a mindset perspective, it’s much more effective to review the year with a focus on what did happen – look for the good things; for the elements that made our lives better and also for the learnings and the lessons. We need to avoid beating ourselves up for what didn’t get done, because many of us set out goals extravagantly high!

The problem is that, generally speaking, people with an optimistic mindset often have a problem with goal-setting.  We’re great at “blue skies dreaming” – at coming up with a fantastic list of things that we would love to do. Then at the other end of whatever time-frame the “goal-setting” was for, we tend to be very disappointed because we haven’t made it.

Personally, I think that’s a good thing, as long as you have the right mindset! If we aim for the stars and miss, at least we’ll end up perched on a lamp-post, which will give us a better view! Besides, along the way, we almost certainly had some wonderful adventures and different experiences, which enriched our lives and those of the people around us. We also, potentially, got further than if we had operated from a purely logical perspective.

Having said that, we also need to remember that the middle part of the Optimism spectrum is to be realistic – to do a reality check, before we set off on our adventures. The latest research on goal-setting suggests that we need a combination of “big hairy audacious goals” or BHAGS and more realistic, achievable steps or chunks, to get the best possible outcome.

So, if you had a magic wand, what would you make happen this year? What is the “best possible” outcome for your various projects and parts of your world? Make sure to include a balance of work & play, some personal & professional and include the important people in your life – family, friends, colleagues.

Then think about how you’ll get started on ONE of those ideas. Max Dixon, a speaker coach from the USA, taught me about choosing a “single, simple doable thing” to get a sense of momentum on a goal. SSDTs are a lifesaver in our busy worlds of conflicting priorities. What’s yours for today?