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Well it’s the start of another year, actually as I write this it’s the second week of the year and it’s tempting to write a motivational piece around fresh start, new goals and….and….

But, most of us are aware that with all the greatest of intentions our New Year Resolutions often quickly disappear into the mist. In fact, statistically the vast majority of New Year resolutions will have already been broken or will be broken within the next four weeks.

Now before I switch you off totally and you accuse me of just being an old grouch there is a positive spin on the whole New Year thing.

On one side 1st of January is just another day marking the day the earth starts on it’s next 365 day orbit of the sun. On the other hand it also marks the day to take stock. It is time to reflect and consider. It’s out with the old in with the new.

Indeed, I often hear ‘thank heavens that year is over things will now get better!’ putting some mystical relevance to this day. Our fortunes are not going to miraculously change with the change of a year number.

When we think about it, New Year Day highlights the passage of time. It marks the passing of the last 52 weeks and allows us to welcome the next 52 weeks. It is a great time to Stop, Review and Reflect.

Just how quickly did last year go? Like most of us it seemed to fly by. Indeed it seems the older we get the faster the years seem to pass. Can you remember how long school holidays seemed to last?

So, let me ask you a question. What happened in the last 52 weeks? Can you truly remember what you did last year? Take a little time to think about the four weeks of February. What happened, what did you do, what where your thoughts, what were your feelings?

Now you may think that was easy as something major happened to put the period into context for you but for the majority of us it was just another month. Choose another month and review how much you really remember. Days blur into weeks that blur into months and suddenly a year. Life is busy doing stuff and we don’t give ourselves time to reflect.

No we certainly don’t want to live in the past opening up all the sores of yesterday but let’s learn from those experiences to build a better future.

With the passing of each year let’s aim to build on the experience you have gained in the last and previous years. To look forward to taking your understandings from say the last thirty years into your thirty first year. Now that has value.

There is an old adage that goes something like this. ’When we spend our money we can always make some more but when we spend our time it’s gone for ever. So invest your time carefully.’

In my book, The Levels: Can your Business Step Up to the Growth Challenge? I discuss the difference between experience and understanding. Here’s a short abridged extract that gives a little background.

The Levels model will make you more aware of what has happened or is happening in your business right now. Your role is to constantly review your experience to date.

After each of the following chapters, my challenge to you is to Stop, Reflect and Review. Write down your experiences so far, how the topic covered in the chapter relates to your business and what steps you can take to make a change.

So, step 1 is to learn how to review and becoming aware that you may need to change the way you do things if you want to move forward and grow.

When you take a good look at your experience to date you may be in for a surprise. Maybe the CV says 10, 20, 30 or 40 years’ experience in a particular field. Interestingly, what we think of as 40 years’ experience gained in the cut and thrust of business can actually be only 5 years’ experience that has been repeated over and over again. It just gets photocopied in each successive year.

By truly understanding your experience and how you have arrived at where you are now, you will become aware of many more opportunities that you will be able to exploit in the near future.

The next step is then passing on that understanding to your team so that you can really take control and maximise the opportunities.

Let’s make the New Year a time to understand, to leverage our experience to impact the future. Start to review regularly. Make it at the end of each week. Write it down, not just a diary of events but what you were thinking and feeling. Seek to understand what has gone on. Re-read your weekly reviews every quarter, take the learnings and seek to understand. At the Year End you have gained a wealth of understanding to invest into the future.

Enjoy reviewing, it’s a powerful tool.