2019 – Time for Goal Setting? My Start/Stop/Continue.

Hi there punters,

Given that it is the start of the year most of us think of what we will do differently in the upcoming year. A nice simple approach is to do a start/stop/continue.

This is a self reflection and goal setting technique that you can do yearly, monthly or weekly if you want. You can use it for personal goal setting or business or both.

  • What are three things that I should START doing?

  • What are three things that I should STOP doing?

  • What are three things that I should CONTINUE doing?

(You can specify a number like I have done here, or you can leave it open ended…)

Here is my start/stop/continue for 2019 (well, for now at least!):


  • Learn more about positive psychology and about being more positive generally. I tend to be a glass half empty person – someone who thinks of the down side of things before the good stuff. Whilst this can be useful when workshopping new ideas or strategies, it can also be a bit of a drag. Positive psychology is an interesting area that might help me understand the power of positivity (without being too sickly :))

  • Be a bit more free spirited. I tend not to deal with surprises well or when things don’t go to the plan that is running inside my head. A classic example is seeing people on a train that I don’t expect to see. Rather than going up to them and saying hi – I tend to get flustered. Why? My plan was to find a seat and read my book. Now I feel compelled to chat. I should be happy to do so.

  • Appreciating the ‘present’ in people more. This sounds weird, but I don’t appreciate people (personal or business) enough for what they are doing right now. I overlay the present with what may happen in the future or what has happened in the past. For instance I am not comfortable simply saying ‘that’s really helped me out’ or ‘that was a great job you did’ because it may not motivate people to do better next time. Dumb. Just keep it simple stupid!


  • Saying ‘But’, ‘Should have’, ‘could have’. We all suffer a little of this but I seem obsessed with supplementing praise with something deflating! My son hits a good score at cricket and I have to say something like ‘That’s great but you should have put that full toss away!’. When something good gets delivered at work I will say ‘well we got there but we made heavy going of it!’ Time to just enjoy things for what they are.

  • Negative worrying. I go way over the top with worrying. Its energy sapping, unhelpful and keeps me awake. And it’s usually about silly things about what I ‘should have’ or ‘could have’ done. It’s that fixed mindset, perfectionist type behaviour that can be so negative. The energy I waste with unnecessary worrying could be spent in a much more positive way.

  • Holding back with what I think. I have always been, and will continue to be, a quiet person. However there is a difference to being quiet and keeping quiet. When you are in a position to put forward an informed view that might help your audience then why not offer it up? I often think to myself ‘Well that is not my area so they won’t want to hear what I think’ or ‘they didn’t ask me so I don’t have to butt in’. I have enough knowledge and experience to contribute in lots of different ways, so why not go for it!


  • Balancing family and work. I like work and I like working hard. These days I struggle sitting on the couch for hours or sleeping in. But I don’t let work take over. I want to be there for my family, even if they don’t want me to be! You never truly understand what impact you have on others – especially those close to you – but being absent is not a strategy I am interested in exploring. So I am happy driving dad’s taxi and putting up with endless crappy pop songs on the radio!

  • A yearn to learn. This often comes from a lack of confidence in myself (which is not a good thing) but I always feel I need to know more and get better at things. I am not always comfortable with myself and what I know and what I’ve achieved. I need to do more. This can be construed negatively but it also has a positive side. There are so many stories of the best sports and business people (e.g., Michael Jordan, Jack Niklaus) who never rested on their laurels, but kept practicing and working harder and harder, even when they were the world’s best. I’m not comparing myself to anyone but I want to keep learning until the day I drop.

  • Show, don’t tell. Being a parent, particularly of teenagers, teaches you very quickly that the more you tell someone to do something, the less likely they are to do it! Yet we lose sight of this in our professional lives. We get carried away with a new project, new product or process and we expect everyone to adopt it. I like to think I focus on the WHY, the what’s-in-it-for-me, the benefits to individuals and teams rather than ‘profit, efficiency and optimal effectiveness’…

So that is my Start, Stop, Continue for now. What is yours? Why not try one for yourself and one for your business?

Have a great 2019 in any case!