The question is, how are you doing?

Well, it’s that time of year again. You know, when you see all those friends and relatives you haven’t bothered with all year, then say how much you’ve missed them and care for them. You might even give them presents. At least a card.

Then, with the new year comes fresh resolutions. It’s a time to review and renew, a time to get those priorities in order. You might reflect on the things you meant to do but didn’t get around to. And you might regret not doing some things with old friends and family because now you’ll never get the chance. They didn’t make it to 1999.

So, if you look back on the last 52 weeks, how’d you do? How did you really measure up? I mean, how did you measure up to that person you see in the mirror every morning?

Did you manage to slice the pie with some equality so you were able to enjoy your family, your friends, your community? Did you take enough time for yourself? For relaxation, for reading (fiction), for hobbies, for exercise, for spiritual renewal? Or were you, perhaps, too busy to enjoy the simple pleasures?

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with hard work, or success, or material things. Of course, from time to time, some fall into the trap of believing that “things” will satisfy us. Most of the time, we’re able to enjoy material acquisitions without the delusion of believing they’ll bring us contentment. That comes from within.

You and I know successful people who effectively function in business without sacrificing health or relationships. The question is, how are you doing? Try to recall where you stood a year ago. Review what your plans for this year were and evaluate how your life and your activities compare to those expectations.

Chances are, you’ll be pleased with the comparison. Generally speaking, we don’t give ourselves enough credit and don’t realize how well we’re doing until we really take a long look at things. It seems that when people take an inventory, negativity comes first. One wants to load up on perceived liabilities without accurately calculating the positives.

Remember, this is a review by your standards, no one else’s. For this type of performance evaluation I don’t need much input from family or co-workers. They just may have a unique agenda and, frankly, sometimes I can’t possibly win those votes. I know, deep down, how I’m really doing and it’s up to me to make changes where necessary.

Many of us have had a unique opportunity to enjoy a standard of living others might envy. We’ve enjoyed advantages others haven’t. So, it’s usually part of the annual process to be grateful for those. If, on the other hand, you consider yourself totally “self-made” then you probably haven’t read this far anyway.

I suspect the plans I make for 1999 will be quite similar to the ones I’ve made at previous year-ends. They won’t have much to do with business. That part will look after itself. No, once again my thoughts will be on making certain I do my best to measure up to my perception of my potential, to my unique set of personal values .

It’s important to remember that my standards aren’t your standards. Indeed, my life objectives may be at variance with yours. But it’s important you and I at least understand what our overall individual plans are. Planning and reviewing isn’t an exercise we should restrict to the office. The exercise has even more validity in the really important facets of our existence.

For years, I was somewhat defined by my employment and there were times when the business always came first. In retrospect, it should never have held #1 ranking for long. Now that I’ve had more time to contemplate the past and consider the future, I recognize there’re still a lot of things I want to do. So I better stop planning and start doing. My wife says I’m just getting old. But it’s not a bad thought for you and me.

After all, I’ve got to report to that guy in the mirror again tomorrow.