How last years archives improve this years goal setting

Since mentioning “Archiving” in a recent post and in other media, a number of people have asked me to explain why I do the exercise and what benefits I get from it. TheGoal setting Miriam Webster dictionary definition of Archive is:   to file or collect in or as if in an archive <archivedocuments>” the word can be used as both a noun and a verb. I have been setting written goals for a great many years, I have tried a few different systems, having many or a few goals, in all areas of my life or just 1. For the last few years setting 90 day and 12 month goals in 4 areas of my life has worked well:

  • Business and Financial
  • Health and Exercise
  • Personal
  • Social

I set between 4 and 6 goals for each category. I also write out a detailed vision statement of how my life will be 3 years in the future. Both sets of goals and my vision statement are printed out and mounted on the wall of my office where I can see them all the time. This system has worked well for me, but 4 years ago Melisa Pearce – one of the best coaches I have worked with – introduced me to the idea of “Archiving” the year just ending.

The idea of the exercise is to learn from the year by celebrating the successes, putting the disappointments into perspective, dealing with them and letting them go, then using the lessons to help plan an even better new year. The exercise is very simple I start by reviewing my journal from 1 January, (a good reason for keeping a journal or diary) I record all the important milestones, achievements, events, goals achieved, disappointments, unexpected happenings on a word document – a pen and paper works just as well. Then I go through my daily action plan notebook, gratitude and success journal and add the important entries to my lists. Now I have a long list of achievements and a short list of disappointments.

The first benefit from the exercise is to see, in one place, how much I did achieve during the year. We tend to forget what we did accomplish over 12 months, so this is a nice Christmas present. Then I answer these 3 questions:

  • How did I limit myself and how can I overcome these limitations in 2012?
  • What have I learned from this exercise?
  • How will I improve in 2012?

In addition to providing us with an excuse to pat ourselves on the back for the achievements, the exercise helps put the disappointments in perspective and put them behind us. It is amazing how 12 or even 3 months down the line, hurdles that seemed insurmountable at the time, have become minor irritants or disappeared completely. When I have finished the exercise, I print out my lists and answers to the questions, make notes of what I want to use in my goal setting exercise, then put the lists in a file and put it away – literally in the archives.

Hope that explains it:

Next post will explain how my daily routine helps keep me on track and get things done. – A big problem for most work at home entrepreneurs and writers!

Melisa Pearce can be contacted through her Touched by a Horse website. I have no commercial interest in her coaching business, I mention her because she is good.


Wishing you success in all your endeavours.


Peter Wright




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  5 comments for “How last years archives improve this years goal setting

  1. January 8, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Peter, this is one the most well-thought strategies I think I’ve ever seen for developing an effective vision for your life and business. So many people can benefit. I think in the past year I’ve interacted with more people who are feeling lost and scared than ever before. I will share this post in the hope that it can inspire people who are struggling.

    • admin
      January 8, 2012 at 8:00 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Jayna, glad you liked it.

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