It’s a simple question: Yes or No?
December is a great time to look back at your year and assess how you’ve done against the goals you set for yourself. The key is to be brutally honest about both the results and the effort you put in.
If you can’t look yourself in the mirror and say you did everything you possibly could, which means you were as organized, prepared, diligent, open, reflective as you could have been, it’s time to take a colder, honest self-assessment. Sometimes you need a bucket of cold water thrown in your face to face facts.
I’m not offering criticism or trying to damage your confidence. Let go of any frustration or pain you have about this. Consider it a sobriety check.
Hard work is an easy thing to fudge. You can be very, very busy and not working hard, just making it seem that way. Or you could be working hard but not in the right way. These are easy traps to fall into.
I also recognize it’s not possible to go a whole year and get it right all the time – I’m not holding anyone to that standard. But there are many of you who continue to look for shortcuts, who don’t prioritize preparation and are looking for an easy way out. You are not willing to be a little confused, and seek comfort too easily.
If I ask myself if I’ve worked hard enough this year, I would say no. I’ve absolutely made progress compared to last year, but the gap is still too large – I for sure can do better. For example, there were too many times this year where I sacrificed sleep when I shouldn’t have, chose easier activities over the hard work, and was sloppy with my diet. Why did I make progress in other areas, but not these? That’s what I’m going to be asking myself over the next few weeks.
I can do better. I’m sure most of you can do better too. The key is to push yourself to do a truly honest assessment, with openness and humility. If you don’t, you are that much more likely to fall off track.
Celebration & Evaluation
Now a sobriety check is not a rebuke. It is meant to inspire honesty, not doom and gloom. I’ve also done a number of things this year that I worked my ass off for and that I’m really proud of – put on around 7 lbs of muscle and am the most functionally strong I’ve been in decades, if ever, and I’ve launched a new program The Mental Game of Trading LIVE, which has been a great way to connect with more traders and challenge me to grow.
My guess is that you have accomplishments that are worthy of celebration. When making your self assessment you want to look closely at your accomplishments, celebrate them and analyze how you did it. Then put that same analysis on where you fell short.
Celebrating wins is critical because it gives you a chance to truly recognize your accomplishments and skills, which helps stabilize your confidence. It can also be extremely motivating to acknowledge your results and that can help guide goal-setting for the next year.
Evaluating progress helps you identify where you need to focus your energy and it can help you identify roadblocks that have slowed your progress down.
Some of you are naturally going to want to focus on things you are bad at and analyze where you fell short to the exclusion of celebrating wins. Some of you will do the opposite. Whichever way you naturally lean, do the other thing. It’s the classic case of: if it feels good, you’re doing it wrong. Being uncomfortable while making this assessment is a good thing.
I also think there is value in doing some of that work publicly because it boosts both the celebratory aspect and the accountability for completing it. With that in mind, I invite you to send your wins and progress reports to me on X @jaredtendler and I will share some on the next Office Hours.
Preparing for What’s Next
With your 2023 honest self-assessment done, it’s time to prepare for 2024. I recommend starting with the Goals Worksheet (instructions for completing it here) and then updating your A-C Game Analysis.
Remember, none of these tools are meant to be one-and-done. Revisit them regularly to reflect on your progress and set new goals – that’s how you continue moving your Inchworm forward.
And when you are done with the assessment and have started the planning, take some time to recharge if you can. I’ll personally be taking off the last two weeks of December for some well-earned time off. I look forward to reconnecting with all of you in January!