A valuable best practice shared by successful leaders is to take some time to bring closure to the prior year and open the new year.

The first step is to reflect, or “look-back,” on the past year to review your successes, shortcomings, learnings and insights. The second step is to project or “look-forward” and set intentions for the upcoming year regarding your goals and what type of leader you aspire to be.


Reflection and looking back gives the brain an opportunity to pause and learn from your experiences. This insight can guide future leadership attributes and courses of action that are important to you.

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Here are some reflection questions:

  • What were my successes from 2020?
  • What did I learn from my successes?
  • What were my 2020 challenges and disappointments?
  • What did I learn from my challenges and disappointments?
  • Who have I become as a leader as result of this past year?
  • What am I grateful for regarding this past year?
  • Who needs to be thanked from 2020?

As Peter Drucker said: “Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection, will come even more effective action.”


Projections give you the opportunity to plan your future intentions. This is important because where focus goes, energy flows. Projections will help you concentrate your attention, time and resources so that you can step into being the best version of yourself as a leader.

Here are some projection questions:

  • What would a successful 2021 look like?
  • What is my “one-word theme” to guide my behaviors for 2021? Examples: focus, kind, bold, patience, resilient.
  • In 2021, What will I start doing? Stop doing? Continue to do?
  • What is required of me to be my best version of myself as a leader?
  • What will be the highest use of my talents?
  • Who will be on my team in 2021?

As Jack Kornfield said: “Intention leads to behaviors which lead to habits which lead to personality development which leads to destiny.”

Pam Solberg-Tapper, president of Coach for Success Inc., is a Duluth-based executive coach, professional speaker and adventure marathoner. For questions or to submit questions or ideas for future columns, please contact her at pam@coachforsuccess.com or 218-729-0772.