New Year, Who This? The Power of a Mindset Audit

Written by Shannon Hartsoe on December 14, 2023

Explore the concept of a ‘mindset audit’ for the New Year, underlining the importance of introspection, goal setting, and preparation for 2024—in any economic condition.

It’s that time again – your social media posts and inboxes are about to be flooded with  “new year, new you” posts and emails. Love ‘em or hate ‘em there’s no doubt that the turning of the calendar page from December to January offers a fresh start. It’s not just a new day or a new month, here we have a brand new, shiny year – 365 days brimming with possibility and potential.

For a lot of you, 2023 was incredible. For others, not so much. In fact, we’ve heard from lots of folks who can’t wait to put it in the rearview mirror –  clients who didn’t have the stellar performance they’d hoped for, freelancers who saw business decline, mass layoffs in the tech industry. It wasn’t all wine and roses. (Our CEO, Maari, has already declared 2023 over – 2024 is a 13-month year.)

You’ve probably heard “where one door closes another opens.” In my mind “one door closes and you kick down the next one,” but maybe that’s just me. (I’m a firm believer in making our own opportunities.) But, whatever your vibe is, it’s true that we often can’t move forward until we let go of the stuff we’re carrying. So whether you’re in the “everything is awesome” camp or you’re setting 2023 on fire (figuratively, of course), let’s take stock of the past and prepare to kick ass in 2024.

Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It’s the courage to continue that counts.” It doesn’t matter if your 2023 scorecard is full of Ws or Ls, 2024 offers a new beginning – starting with your mindset.

In a business context, “mindset” can feel a little fuzzy. What does it mean anyway? Is it affirmations, yoga poses and motivational posters? No, no, and no.

 This article from Forbes says that mindset is crucial to a business leaders’ success and outlines what experts believe are the two main types of mindsets – “fixed,” and “growth.” People with a fixed mindset believe that their thoughts, talents, etc. are unchangeable. Maybe they approach life with a “that’s just how I am” mentality. People with a growth mindset, however, are open to personal development. They’re charting new courses, learning as they go and, even when the outcome isn’t exactly what they had hoped it would be, they’re learning from their experiences and applying what they’ve learned to future goals.

And that’s where the audit comes in. By auditing your mindset in 2023, it’s possible to change the course of your 2024 – whatever it brings.

The word “audit” conjures up boring vibes and painful processes (think taxes). But in the world of mental health a “thought audit” can yield powerful results. “Change your thoughts, change your life,” as the saying goes. Or in the words of Peter McWilliams “Our thoughts create our reality. Where we put our focus is the direction we tend to go.” If the idea of auditing your thought life for all of 2023 sounds daunting, break it down into a few important areas and see if you can find a pattern.

Here are five questions to get you started:

• What were the things I spent this year focused on? Were they positive or negative? Do I want to keep focusing on them or let them go?

• What did I allow into my life (people, activities, work) this year? Were they good or bad? Do I want to move forward with them next year?

• What were my goals this year and how do I feel about them now? Do I want to adjust anything for next year?

• What new beliefs did I discover this year about myself? Are they helpful or limiting? Can I adjust them moving forward?

• What am I most proud of from this year? What future accomplishment can I think through and plan for next year?

Use these questions as a springboard alongside this audit tracking worksheet to help you get a snapshot of the past year and help with your planning for the year ahead.

But don’t stop there.

Now that you’ve completed your mindset audit and identified key areas of change, use that knowledge to kickstart an incredible 2024. Another article from Forbes outlines the importance of goal setting. The author starts with some bad news – the economy in 2024 is likely to get worse before it gets better. But by documenting your goals and setting small attainable steps to get there, business owners and entrepreneurs (that means you, too, freelancers) can make the best of things. The author’s advice is to take it one step at a time.

The late management expert Peter Drucker said “What gets measured gets improved.” That’s good advice for everyone from household managers to CEOs – you can’t see what needs fixing until you know where you are.

Begin by writing out your goals. Take stock of previous successes and struggles and use what you learned to help move your goals forward and superpower your 2024. Create a timeline to help you track your progress. Whether it’s once a week, once a month or once a quarter, or some combination of those, sit down regularly to assess your current situation. Are you where you want to be? If not, what needs to change to get you there? What are you learning and how are you applying that knowledge to your plan? Course-correct often.

(Having trouble setting and keeping goals? Try this free goal planning checklist from Uncompany. This nifty little gem will help you set SMART objectives, prioritize effectively and stay on track. Think of it as your all-in-one planner and accountability partner.)

And finally, as we close out this year (an interesting one for us too) we appreciate all of you, freelancers, our clients and the community who supports the way we work. The relationships we build are the most important product we leave behind and what we’ve gained in knowing you is invaluable. We hope you have a restful holiday season and we look forward to crushing 2024 with you. Heads up. Eyes forward. LET’S GO!