With the end of calendar year now upon us, I encourage you to take some time away from your ‘desk’ to self-reflect.

Whether you do this yourself, or with your team just make sure you do it!

Self-awareness is so important – don’t just cruise aimlessly on autopilot through life like so many do and wind up at the wrong end of the cause and effect equation!

Many driven entrepreneurs that have been in business for more than a couple years will be familiar with Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People” and specifically the habit called “Sharpening the Saw”. If you haven’t read this then I beg you to do so.

This basically refers to taking care of oneself on a regular basis to be able to be more effective in your relationships with others and in your business.

For the entrepreneur, this is probably one of the most important and highly neglected habits.

Entrepreneurs are known for working themselves into exhaustion on a regular basis, blurring the lines between work and home life (much to the disgruntlement of our partners)to the point where they are working seven days a week, 10-18 hours a day.

There are times, no doubt, when this level of effort is required to get an entrepreneurial venture off the ground or to keep it going during tough times.

We have all do it more times than we care to admit.

Much of the time though, this level of work just becomes a bad habit (not one of the “Seven Habits”) that can have negative consequences on the entrepreneur’s health and relationships both in and outside of the ‘work’ environment.

For entrepreneurs more than others, the need to release stress is huge.

The workload as you build and maintain your business is never ending.

Even when you have a solid management team in place, as long as you are running the show the weight of the world will always be on your shoulder’s over anyone else’s.

In sport, coaches and players conduct post-match reviews after every game.

It’s always easier and more effective to do this ASAP to evaluate what went well, what didn’t, where do they need to improve or adapt their training to prepare accordingly to beat the competition and achieve their goals.

For those of us that drive businesses forward, we don’t drive by constantly looking in our rear view mirror as we need to look forward, however we need to regularly check it to make sure we are on track.

So, whether you are Andy Murray or Christiano Ronaldo and number one in sport or Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, or Gary Vaynerchuk, we all need to make sure we’re are evolving, reviewing and innovating in order to stay in the game.

No matter what stage or level you and your business are at.

There are many points you may choose to reflect on, here’s a few suggestions to get you started.

• What did you set out to achieve this year? Did you achieve this? What went well? What didn’t go to plan?

• What do you want to achieve during the year ahead? What do you need to do differently to achieve this?

Where do you get your fulfilment from work and outside of work?

• Do you make time to do activities you enjoy outside of work?

  • What motivates you? Has this changed?
  • What does success look like to you, and what changes do you need to make to achieve this?

• How are your competitors adapting in the market? Are you getting left behind?

• Have you stopped to think if you are focused on the right things at work, or are you just busy without a plan?

Where would you benefit from training or professional development?

• What behaviours or habits do you need to change?

Don’t forget to review and set some non-work related goals as well.

If you’ve had an amazing year, reward yourself and keep doing the things that make you successful, but check for blind spots.

For the year ahead set yourself some stretch goals along the way to push you and reward yourself when you achieve them.

Don’t allow yourself to become complacent, step outside your comfort zone.

What is the one thing that you need to change or adapt that will have the biggest impact on your business or personal life?

Entrepreneurs are known for working themselves into exhaustion on a regular basis and blurring the lines between work and home life

Don’t leave it 12 months before you next self-reflect, continually check on your progress throughout the year.

Finally, after a personal health and wealth check, don’t forget to look at your personal year goals, achievements and losses.

Evaluation and improvement is key in all aspects of our lives and a founding factor in how we achieve all we desire.

Take time to talk to your loved ones and emotional supporters, they are often the ones who have to deal with consequences and fall out of all decisions we make.

It’s easy to take those close to us for granted when we are busy conquering new lands.

Take some time in 2018 to “Sharpen your Saw”, take care of yourself, get some “me” time, and whatever else you need to do in order to be at your best. Your family, friends, and employees will all thank you for it, trust me.