Happy January! Not in any folder (DW#306)

January is an exciting time. A time for new beginnings. Almost half of us make a commitment to making a positive change in our lives for the new year by making resolutions for self-improvement or set goals to achieve something meaningful.

For the next few days, we will be talking about goals and resolutions and what we can do to greatly increase the odds of actually keeping and completing them.

But before we do that, there is an important action that we need to take. And that is to intentionally complete last year.

Did you know that January was named by the Romans to honor Janus, the deity of beginnings and transitions? Although Janus was called upon to bless beginnings, the Romans knew that he had two faces, one looking at the future and the other at the past.

What this meant was in order to look forward, they needed to glance back at what had passed.

Many successful people and organizations today "glance at the past" by doing an "After-Action Review" to improve performance and get better at what they do. A Harvard Business Review study that looked at the impact of this on success noted that this process is effective because completing the past is an essential step to a successful future.

As the authors of the HBR study said, an After-Action Review is "a living, pervasive process that explicitly connects past experience with future action."

What we can learn from this idea is that in order to make meaningful changes, we need to learn from our actions in the past and reflect upon what worked, what did not and what we can do differently.

So go ahead. Take a few moments to write a reflection on last year.

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