As we count down to Christmas and the long-awaited summer break, it's the perfect time to reflect on your 2018 career highs and lows, successes and challenges, as well as plan ahead for 2019, detailing what you want to achieve next year. Great questions to get the ball rolling include

What were my biggest successes this year?

Don't be modest, give yourself a pat on the back. Take some genuine time out and detail things that worked well, and your achievements. These could include exceeding sales targets, speaking at a conference, getting a positive performance review, shiny new qualifications or being given responsibility for coaching and mentoring new team members. Don't forget to write these achievements in your CV so you don't forget them.

What did not work well?

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Be honest and upfront with yourself as no 12-month period ever goes smoothly. Failure is part of being human and, as leading entrepreneurs tell us all the time, every failure gets you closer to success. Failure is part of learning and if you are not learning you are going backwards.

What were my key learning points this year?

What were three things you learned this year that you can apply in 2019? Two of my biggest are "no man is an island" and "always ask for help when you need it" ... Embarrassing to admit this at 47 years of age.

How was my work/life balance this year?

Did you spend your two-week South Pacific holiday in June answering queries from Steven in sales? Did you get to spend enough quality time with your family rather than a group of relative strangers you just ended up working alongside?

Am I still enjoying my job? Can I see myself doing this for the next two to three years?

This is a tough question as there is no such thing as a perfect role. However, on balance, do you enjoy it more than you dislike it? Is this role something you can bare to be in for the next two to three years, before you get a promotion or move to another organisation?

What do I want to achieve in 2019?

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What challenges do you want to overcome in 2019 and what do you want to accomplish? Making a tangible list of the positive outcomes you want to see in the next 12 months is very important as it helps to crystallise your thinking and make these outcomes more measurable and tangible. Have some fun with this, and think about your life as a whole, not just your career.

Should I stay or should I go?

Is your current working environment supporting your long-term career goals and aspirations? While every job has its ups and downs, is your career pointing in the right direction overall based on what you are doing now?

Taking some time over the summer break to answer these questions openly and honestly will ensure you set yourself up well for the year ahead.

Contact Tom O'Neil and the team at CV.CO.NZ for a free CV or LinkedIn assessment or to be your personal career coach. Visit CV.CO.NZ or CareerCoach.nz to find out more.