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It’s that time of the year when you look back at what was, has been or could have been, and at the same time, look forward to what can and should be in the New Year. Yes, it’s the end of another year and there’s a lot to be reflective, and grateful, about.

Looking back is a productive exercise if done dispassionately; what went well and what could have been better are always useful at the end of a project or assignment. For project management, a ‘Post Implementation Review’ is a critical aspect of making improvements to structures and processes. However, in our professional and personal lives, regretting ‘what might have been’ is a waste of time and energy.

So, with the experience of hindsight, what goals are we setting for 2013 and beyond? How far will you stretch?

On the corporate front, are we developing new competencies and new skills? Are we making an effort to widen our professional circle by engaging with industry bodies and professionals? Will we update our CVs to show great achievements?

On a personal level, are we committing to a work-life balance, diet and exercise? Will we work on our relationships, read the books we have been meaning to and lose that excess flab? Perhaps you have wanted to learn a new language or take up para-sailing for fun; are you going to do it next year?

The trouble with most of us is that we mindlessly make New Year resolutions but do not back it up with any commitment. If we hope to grow, we must (repeat, must) stretch outside our comfort zones and venture into the great beyond.

Good luck and Happy New Year.

– Leon Menezes
The writer is a senior HR practitioner, executive coach and professional writer.

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on December 30, 2012.