By Johanne Bouchard EBS Business Columnist

While we love to disconnect and chill out over the holidays by relaxing and enjoying quality time with our families, it pays to be reflective. Whether you’re a business owner, leader, entrepreneur, employee, investor, or board director, I invite you to sit back and look at how this past year has unfolded for you in business and in your career.

When we take a true pulse and reflect, we gain clarity about what worked, what was disappointing, and how we could have been more effective and possibly more patient and tolerant. We also confront the truth about where we missed the mark.

In having a clear picture, we can define what should change and how we intend to create the outcome we’re capable of producing and hope to realize.

Set a block of time aside to sit in your favorite chair, review the past year, and take notes. There’s nothing like writing down your thoughts to give you ownership of a situation and to reveal accountability steps to bring about necessary changes as you begin a new year.

As an employee, did you like your job? If not, how much of it depended on your attitude or by being in the wrong place with the wrong people? Make notes for the new year about what you can do to improve your experience, versus what someone else in the workplace could do on your behalf.

If you have taken critical feedback personally, commit to receive it objectively in 2016. If you’d like to advance in your company, commit to the behaviors that will help you do this, like punctuality, proactive communication regarding deadlines and status, setting and managing expectations, and being a team player.

As a business owner, did you take the time to establish a culture with your employees, and do you feel they are representing the image you wish to convey? Did you competitively serve your customers? Ask yourself honestly where you could have done better to foster customer loyalty and lead a motivated team of workers who felt invested in your business, then write a list of steps you can take in the new year to go further.

As a board director, did your contribution have an impact, and did you leverage your skills, experience and talents? Do you feel that you belong at the board table going into 2016? Evaluate your experience in this role and how well you performed, but also consider whether you felt that the time you invested was well spent. Be honest with yourself about whether you want to continue, and if you do, create some clear goals for how you can best contribute going forward.

As a leader, did you empower your team, making appropriate changes when necessary? Did you take the time to poll and to listen to your team members? Did you micromanage or did you effectively delegate? Trusting and humbly listening to your team is critical, and comes from managing yourself and choosing the right team members. Look ahead to determine where you need to improve personally or in personnel going forward.

Life is short. We don’t have to feel suffocated by work or in our daily life. We all have gifts, innate talents and skills, and we must take the time to express ourselves to be fulfilled and contribute with our full potential.

Have clear intentions about how 2016 can be a great year for you in business and in all aspects of your life. Envision the possibilities, and take ownership of going after what you know you should do.

I wish you a successful and prosperous 2016!

Johanne Bouchard, a former high-tech marketing executive, is a leadership advisor to CEOs, executives and entrepreneurs, as well as an expert in corporate board composition and dynamics. Visit johannebouchard.com to learn more or download her recently published eBooks “Board Composition” and “Board Basics.”