By Heather Skelly

At a retail show during the Holidays, a fiber artist whose name escapes me now told me that she ends each year by reflecting on what she achieved that year and what she hopes to achieve in the following year for her business.

Now, in many ways, a lot of us do this already.

At some point, whether it be a fleeting moment or a more marked occasion, we spend some amount of time looking back at what we’ve accomplished and looking forward to what we’d like to do.

But this artist’s method struck me as unique.

On Dec. 31st of each year, she meets with a small group of artist friends. Each person brings a list they created the prior year that highlights what they’d hoped to accomplish that year.

One by one, they go over the lists and evaluate what they were able to achieve and what they couldn’t.

All of this is done out loud.  That way everyone can give and receive advice about their lists. Together, they try to come to conclusions about why something did or didn’t work.

Then they create lists for the following year that they’ll go over as a group the next Dec. 31st.

What’s interesting is that the artist told me that the Holidays are her favorite time of year, not just because of the chance to see family and friends and exchange gifts, but because of this meeting. It’s become a tradition for this group of artists and something they rely on to help move their businesses forward.

It never takes place at someone’s studio or office and there’s always food and drink involved. Sometimes it lasts for hours, but the group always stays on topic.

And the tone of the discussions is always kept positive. I remember this artist telling me that it was like a pep rally for your business.

Few people really take the time to reflect on their businesses with the added benefit of being with people who were there when they set out their goals and know their intentions.

It may not be feasible for everyone to create a group such as this, but the importance of positive reflection and evaluation cannot be understated.

So at the very least, create a new tradition this year of reflecting on your business. Invite some friends over and celebrate what you’ve achieved. Or set aside some time on your own to write down your accomplishments and some goals for the future of your business. Keep it positive — be celebratory.

After all, it’s the Holidays.

About the Author: Heather Skelly is the former editor of The Crafts Report. This article originally appeared in her Editor’s Journal in December 2005.