January sure feels like a long time ago. And that may be a problem.
As you look ahead to what you want to accomplish for 2024, your goals will be informed by what you were able to do in 2023. And as you look back, you’ll naturally see recent events more clearly than those from the beginning of the year.
That “recency bias” may cloud your goals if you’re not careful.
⚠️ Recent failures may draw too much attention to growth in one area, or they may tempt you to set goals that encourage underperformance.
⚠️ Recent successes may overinflate your confidence, leading to unachievable goals; or they may tempt you to overlook areas where you may need continued growth.
⚠️ Challenges from earlier in the year may be forgotten, along with the kind of investments that would help you improve.
⚠️ Successes from long ago may be overlooked, and you forget resources you may have to help reach more challenging goals.
⚠️ Natural business cycles may mean themes from earlier in the year have passed from your mind, which may mean those important themes are also left off the goals and objectives for next year.
How can you combat this recency bias?
✅ Review your calendar for major events or changes in schedules over the last year.
✅ Review recent purchases or contacts made over the last year. Consider the circumstances in which those purchases or contacts occurred.
✅ Recall your most significant successes and failures for each quarter.
✅ Review available data and metrics for trends across the whole year.
✅ Invite input from peers, friends, mentors, and colleagues who can supplement your memory and perspective.
Just being aware of your tendency for recency bias is a good start. Deliberate choices to counteract it will help you make better goals for your coming year.