Where will 2017 take you?

Make time for your personal development in 2017

At the end of the year, many companies are carrying out performance reviews. You may have had your manager ask you: “What do you want to do next year?” While getting on that one project you so wanted, this question gives you the opportunity to think about something bigger. Where do you want to go?

No, I’m not asking you to think about your 5 or even 10 year plan. Yet, focusing on a goal and knowing what you’re working towards will help you answer this question. Where do you want to go?


As the year is coming to an end, take some time, find a quieter spot and reflect on 2016. You may want to bring your work and personal calendar to go through the year. Often, looking a calendar entry can refresh your recollection.

There may be smiles on your face and your brain may want to bury other memories. You can learn from both positive and negative moments and use them as a starting point for your reflection. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • Which projects and activities did you enjoy? Which ones let you grow?
  • Which new fields did you explore? Any you want to learn more about?
  • Which interests changed?
  • Which of my qualities helped me overcome challenges?
  • Do you want to live and work in 2017 like you did in 2016?


Looking at your reflections, was there anything that surprised you?

As a next step, categorise the different insights, for example, helping others, teaching or outdoors. Is there a common theme amongst these groups?

Set the tone for the new year

Taking your reflection and your insights from 2016, you can now determine which ones you’d like to focus on in more detail and set an overarching tone in 2017.

  • What do you want to see, discover and/or explore?
  • What skills do you want to learn, improve or master?

We often make the mistake of choosing too much. For 2017, make the conscious decision to limit yourself and pick only 3-5 areas where you’d like to develop yourself further. You have 365 days where you can work on these goals. Break them into smaller, more palatable pieces.

Create your own development plan

You can either use a template (here’s one from University of Cambridge) or create your own development plan. Here, you’d describe your overall goal for 2017 and decide on the time frame. Be realistic when you’re determining the deadline. How much time can and will you really be able to work on it each day, week or month?

Outline the specific actions you’ll take to achieve this goal or any smaller goals leading to the overall goal. As you’re defining the actions, keep your strengths in mind and make them work for you. Describe your goals in a SMART way and ask yourself: “When do I know if I’ve achieved my goal?”

For 2017, what are your goals? One of mine is to pass a specific professional certification. I’ve been dragging on for way too long and am fed up with this status. So, in 2017, I will complete the review of all the required topics and, more importantly, will pass the exam! I’ll let you know how I got on!

In the meantime, do share your goals for 2017!

Until next time,

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