I know it’s just another arbitrary day, but I like to begin the new year looking forward. That usually means I spend the waning days of December reviewing things.

Fail by Flickr user Nimbu

"Fail" by Flickr user Nimbu

My tendency is often to gloss over problems and let myself off the hook more than I should, so I like to carve out some time to really ask myself some hard questions — so I can see where I need to grow.

Here are some of the questions I am asking myself this year:

  • What did I fail at? For projects that did not succeed, or are not fulfilling expectations, what part did I play?
  • Where have I made progress? Where have I not made progress?
  • What have I neglected this year?
  • Are my metrics honest? Do they really measure the outcomes and outputs that are important?
  • Where should I have spoken up? Where did I not act when I should have? What should I have done, and when?
  • To whom do I owe amends? Am I willing to make them? If not, why not, and what will I do instead?
  • What hard truths am I avoiding?
  • What grade would I give myself as a leader, as a service provider, as an employee?

Self-assessment doesn’t have to be a negative exercise, but to me it is only worthwhile if I focus on what needs to change and not just pat myself on the back. It helps to have a dedicated time to focus in on the hard stuff so I can enjoy the good stuff with a clean conscience.

What hard questions are you asking yourself?

Let me know in the comments.