You Can’t Grade Your Own Homework: How to Get Organized for 2016

Report card with A+ in a manila envelope

With the new year around the corner it’s a good time to get organized.

For many of us, however, thinking of this kind involves an interior monologue along the lines of, “Wow, it’s almost 2016…Gosh, I want 2016 to be different for me….2016 is going to be MY YEAR…Wait a minute, does that come in my size….?” 

In other words, the holiday season is upon us.

Which is why I am recommending a buddy system (at the very least) or, if you’re feeling ambitious, perhaps putting together an ‘accountability team’ with whom you will be meeting throughout the coming year.


Simple: you can’t grade your own homework.

In other words, whether it looks like slacking off, or jumping through hoops, it’s hard for many of us to see the places where we might have been shirking/stumbling. It’s also difficult for many of us to see how far we have come.

This is where your team comes in.

Because sitting down with others and speaking your goals out loud goes a long way toward our actually following through on what’s needed to achieve those goals.

Why? Likely because while many of us are quite comfortable letting ourselves down; we are far less comfortable letting others down. 

What recommendations do I have for how to proceed?

1. As with any endeavor, you will improve if you play with people whom you feel have a stronger ‘game.’ Pick people who are going to challenge you.

2. That said, you don’t want to leave every meeting feeling gutted, so include people that will be comfortable when you succeed. (There’s no point in my sugar coating that—some people don’t want you to succeed. You know who they are. Now is not the time to try to change their minds.)

3. Pick people who will take this commitment as seriously as you do. Once you decide how frequently/the format for your meetings, they need to be ironclad. Beware the ditherers/the ‘my time is more important than yours’ types/the ‘I know I should do this—it sounds so interesting—but….’

Now is the time to put your team together. Now is the time to make 2016 an A+ year.

Frances Cole Jones