The past can’t be changed: review it, learn, reset and move on

Negative people suck the life out of your ambition and progress, writes Andrew Armitage

2023 promises, from an economic perspective, to be a particularly challenging year.

However, most business leaders have entered it head on with a clear plan to tackle the continued uncertainty.  Insight into what worked / didn’t work well will define if the 2023 strategy and plan will be a year of ‘business as usual’, or when they decide to try something new and do something differently.

It’s nothing new, we find ourselves in the same position every year. The new year is always seen as a natural breakpoint from both a business and personal perspective — we review our goals and objectives to see if we’ve achieved what we set out to achieve. Then we readjust or reset. Perhaps instead of leaving this to an annual review,  we should be treating each month like the end of year — heralding in new beginnings and new behaviours that take us closer to our goals more frequently.

To achieve this, what needs to die in 2023 is our own business bad habits

For one, our mindset. Along with our inhibitions, procrastination and self-doubt. And let’s add to that the concept of  imposter syndrome. Basically all the things that held back our progress should definitely remain in the year 2022 and entry to 2023 firmly declined.

I’ve always believed that if all you ever do is all you’ve ever done, then all you’re ever going to get is all you’ve ever had. Hence the phrase ‘nothing changes, if nothing changes’. We’re our own worst enemy. We fear judgement, being found out and failure. But, we’ve got to clear a path for change.

Much as we have ourselves and our own shortcomings to blame for our lack of progress, we also need to ensure we remove productivity killers. For example, you might treat your inbox as your to do list, but in reality it can often be someone else’s ‘wants’ list. As a slave to our inbox, we’re putting other people’s priorities above our own. Of course we need to do that from time to time — especially if you are working in a client service business. However, we should create space for this to happen on our terms, not someone else’s. The famous quote from Bob Carter, “Poor planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on mine.

In addition, being around negative people sucks the life out of ambition and progress

We hear from top team coaches around the world how a work environment can dictate performance. That’s not necessarily about having a nice office or a clean desk to work from. It’s about the people and the culture – especially the encouragement and team support you can develop and/or find in whatever your workspace looks like.

Going back to reviewing and resetting goals and objectives there’s something that should not be thrown away at the end of each year (or each month) — and that’s the lessons we’ve learned — both positive and negative.

We should learn from our mistakes. Only then can we put ourselves in a position where we are unlikely to make the same needless ones again. We have to carry forward our experience for our own benefit and that of others around us. However tough these lessons might have been, they give us the benefit of hindsight to help make more insightful and more effective / impactful decisions.

I for one always prefer to look ahead. It’s where excitement and change happens. There’s little to be gained from continuing to look backwards. Review it once, and move forwards. The past can’t be changed — so why dwell on it? Whatever the past means to us, we’re still in control of the future. So long as we’re not recklessly disregarding the life lessons and values our past has taught us, the future is where we can influence and shape ourselves and those around us. This is best done when we’re striving for something new, releasing ourselves from whatever it is that means we’re not quite there yet.

Featured image: Renato Marques / Unsplash

Andrew Armitage, MD and Founder, A Digital

Andrew Armitage is the MD and founder of A Digital, a digital agency based in the north west of England. He's a podcast host and the author of Amazon best seller Holistic Website Planning: Positioning your Website at the centre of your Digital Transformation. Working with clients including the NHS, Hawkshead Relish, Windermere Lake Cruises and James Cropper plc, he has grown A Digital from a spare bedroom into a thriving team.

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