The holiday season and the start of the year is often when we take a closer look at our lives: who we have become and where we want to go. We can compare our accomplishments to siblings, friends, or our past selves. However we measure success, whether it’s with small personal goals like losing a few pounds and quitting a bad habit or strategic goals like seeking higher monetary gain or devoting yourself to religion, our self-value is fueled by achievement. This is the time of year when we review our report card, and we are often more critical in grading ourselves than anyone else. How do we focus on goals that have been and need to be accomplished? Sales trainers use “Victory Logs” because they understand how much rejection and tenacity salespeople must have to land a sale. When it takes 25 or more calls for every hopeful conversation, logging the victories becomes an important tool to keep on calling. So it goes with the team you manage. When you conduct written exercises in introspection year-round, after each success occurs, it becomes much easier to pat yourself on the back for a year well done and set new aspirations now.

Consider setting up several sections in your success notebook: Personal, Career, and Team success stories and future goals.

My eLearning company, Web Courseworks, sent out Portfolios as our annual holiday gift to remind people to “Note your successes.” This was inspired by Jeff Cobb’s blog post and Steve Job’s 2005 commencement address at Stanford.  You and your team will have personal and business ups and downs. During the down periods, it becomes especially important to look back on your “Victory Log” as validation for the positive work you are accomplishing and your role as a member of the team.  Learning is also a big part of the note-taking effort.  If you read Jeff Cobb’s blog Mission to Learn, a key message is that your personal commitment to life-long learning is interconnected to personal success and your team’s ability to accomplish goals. The Internet makes the effort at continuous learning a low-cost endeavor, and Jeff organizes it in the following categories: Perspectives, Tools, Experiences, and the Organization.  Ultimately, Jeff comes back around to remind you that the basic habit of note-taking is one of the most critical tasks you can do while learning and achieving.  Our memories are short, and consistent reflection on what we are learning and trying to accomplish is critical.

So with your annual reflection—both personal and with your team—write it down (yes, keep a hand-written notebook), not just the New Year’s resolutions, but the successes you have along the way. This effort will give you the ability to reflect on goals and celebrate your successes throughout the entire year.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you!