"In every affair consider what precedes and follows, and then undertake it. Otherwise you will begin with spirit; but not having thought of the consequences, when some of them appear you will shamefully desist."

With the start of a New Year (Q1) about to get underway…there’s one critically important thing you need to do BEFORE it arrives!

I long ago discovered a key strategy that has allowed me…and my clients to continually grow, improve and prosper quarter after quarter, year after year.

In fact, it’s been so effective in driving my own personal productivity that its enabled me to increase my income…and hit my performance goals for 38 consecutive quarters (over 9 years).

What is it?

It’s called an After Action Review (AAR), and it’s all about measuring and reflecting upon your year-to-date performance…reviewing lessons learned from choices made and consequences received…as well as analyzing how you responded to challenges, opportunities and fears.

In this post, I’ll show you how to put this powerful resource to very good use.

To start on the right foot and make this your best year ever…you need to perform an AAR right now by analyzing what took place in this current year (the good, bad and ugly) and leveraging every nugget of knowledge for all it’s worth.

Unfortunately, that’s where the problem begins…as practically every company and individual resists this important discipline.

As a result, they don’t learn enough from their mistakes nor their accomplishments…and continue to repeat history rather than create it.

Today that changes!

There are five steps in the AAR process, and for you to knock the ball out of the park in the new year…you NEED to immediately begin implementing the ideas that are generated from this exercise.

Step 1. Identify Your Three Greatest Accomplishments.

Always begin the review process by focusing on your wins. Even if this has been a challenging year for you…odds are if you look closely enough there’s something, somewhere to be proud of.

Step 2. Analyze What You Learned from Each Accomplishment.

Now that you have identified your three greatest accomplishments, go back to each one.

This time though identify what you did right, and determine how you can use these accomplishments as a springboard for even bigger wins in the new year.

The goal here is to leverage, optimize and amplify all the things what you are doing correctly in order to accelerate your goals and drive bigger results.

"Good luck is when opportunity meets preparation, while bad luck is when lack of preparation meets reality."

Step 3. Identify Your Biggest Disappointments and How You Let Yourself Down.

I know this question feels like putting a kick me sign on your back. But heck, you’re here now, so why not confront this beast of a question straight up and get to the root of the problem.

Allow me to prompt you…

• Promises broken.

• Poor execution.

• Standards compromised.

• Opportunities avoided.

• People betrayed.

• Values downplayed.

Before you leap forward, you must liquidate and close the door on habits, behaviors or attitudes that are holding you back. You will not be as successful as you can be in the new year if you remain stuck in your old ways.

Step 4. Analyze What You Learned from Each Failure or Disappointment.

A word of caution here…do not resist analyzing your past sins and mistakes. Doing so would be a shame as this is where the best learning comes from.

No matter how great everything in life is going — we all make mistakes. The trick here is to be a mature adult, to analyze them…and find out what preceded them, what could you have done differently, and how can you prevent them from reoccurring and haunting you in the future.

In order to make sure you don’t limit or undermine yourself in the new year — you need to bring these self-defeating actions to the surface, confront them, and most importantly determine what you must do differently to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes all over again.

Download How to Turn Your Resolutions Into Reality

Step 5: Use This Information to Set Goals for the New Year.

If you’re not constantly auditing yourself, your habits, your schedule, your strategies and the way you manage your time…you’ll never perform at the top of your game.

That’s why you want must reflect, review, and respond to the information obtained through the AAR process.

The purpose here is to build into your schedule, your interactions, your management style or whatever else you’ve surfaced in the previous questions and build yourself a new, improved and superior approach.

View this AAR exercise not as an opportunity to beat yourself up…but as a chance to uncover the goals and priority activities you need to focus on.

The 100 Day Challenge is a rapid execution system used by more than 675,000 high-achievers to achieve life-changing results in 100 days. Don’t do it unless you want spectacular results.

The strategies you’ll learn in the 100 Day Challenge have elected a president, grown non-profit causes, won gold medals and fueled movements. Now it’s your turn to win bigger faster!