Looking back to move forward

A Look Back to Move Forward

Tom CoffinsmartPRENEUR Blog Series

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana

Deja Vu

Have you ever started writing or documenting how you want something done only to later find a file that was created previously, sometimes years ago, and you realize, “I’ve already done this work.” I think this happens to all of us.

The first week of January is that mad rush when everybody is writing out their goals and expectations for the new year. Then after a few weeks most will stop going to the gym, start eating the same food they swore they would give up, and fall into many of the same habits that they wish to improve upon in order to lead a more productive life.

Why do some, granted too few, escape this trap and actually succeed and prosper more than others with each new year? They look back to move forward.

Every year it is critical to create a roadmap for yourself. I suggest that roadmap be reviewed in late January or early February. Don’t be bullied by the Calendar. Late January or February is enough time to let the new glow of that shiny new year wear off and let real analysis and real goals kick in.

Start with Goals

What do you want? This is your life. You can choose to attain whatever you want as long as it doesn’t infringe upon someone else’s right to get what they want.

I like to segment my goals each year into: Personal, Physical, and Financial. You can segment yours however it best works for you. I like to write out a statement of what each of these areas look like a year from now.

I’ll give a physical example. As some of you know I had some health issues over the last two years. But, I am all better now. Regaining energy was a challenge. So here is my opening paragraph to myself for 2023.

2023 was a great year. I improved my energy and strength levels. I focused on counting my macros. I reduced my alcohol consumption. I made an effort to walk at least one hour every day, every day. This has resulted into my feeling at my best.


From there I write out what my ideal macros looks like. I created a list of places to walk and what their approximate length in terms of miles, steps, and time so that I didn’t have to wake up each day and make that decision. I planned it ahead of time.

The more granular you get when determining what you would like to achieve the better.

What happened Last Year?

As you create this roadmap for yourself you will have the road behind. It is critical to look back at what happened the previous twelve months. For those of us in business we do this constantly with the financial numbers, right. If you want to grow and accomplish your goals in all aspects of life you need to understand what happened in the past.

Triggers and Motivators

Throughout your year keep a diary of sorts. Write down when things go well and try to define what motivated you that day. What made that difference? Also write down times and circumstances when you didn’t achieve or accomplish what you wanted because something or someone got in your way or triggered a negative reaction.

This is not to blame others for your shortcomings, or mistakes. This is to help you analyze how you handled challenges and obstacles. This will help you overcome them in the future if you analyze them now.

On the plus side, make sure you document why things went well. This is just as important if not more important.

For instance, I found getting up early, like 5AM, gave me a lot more time to reflect on and accomplish tasks best completed in solitude. It provided me with much more energy and focus for the day partly because I had “my quiet-focus time” before the world required my attention.

Review, Edit, Rewrite

This process works very well for many people and is the basis of many books. Some of my favorite quotations that have stuck with me such as: “We become what we think about, Earl Nightingale” and “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe the mind can achieve from Napoleon Hill.”  These have a common element in them. The brain is not the end all be all of your body. It is not the one in charge. It performs certain functions just like your heart or your liver and of course it is very important and very high up on the list of vital organs. But, the MIND is above all else. It controls what you do and what you think about. Choose to build your skillset where your mind can assist you in accomplishing all you desire from life.

You are not locked into what you write down today or tomorrow. It should be reviewed and ensure this is truly what you want and how you want to live and conduct yourself. Review, edit, and rewrite as often as makes sense for you. You are working on modeling your life into the life you want.

Challenge Yourself

Challenge yourself to complete this exercise every year. Review it every month. Achieve your goals!

About the Author

Tom Coffin

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Tom Coffin is CEO/President/Co-Founder of Simply Reliable. He has owned and operated companies in retail, security, Audio/Video, Systems Integration, and Home Automation product manufacturing sector.

Website:   https://www.simplyreliable.com