When I think back on 2018, I see one of the most challenging years of my life.
The Florida summer heat coupled with bouts of anxiety had me trapped indoors for months, going stir crazy. Not to mention working from home most of the year and not realizing how hard it’d be to lose a great source of socialization.
It wasn’t until I did my annual reflection that I realized how much GOOD STUFF was actually mixed in. There were a lot of heart-warming joyful moments and experiences.
And now I’m feeling really excited about getting over this hump of a hard year and starting fresh. It feels like anything and everything is possible!
Do you feel that way too?
I never used to put much thought into a new year. I didn’t reflect about how my year went and what I might like to do differently.
I took the passive approach, letting life just happen to me, repeating the same old patterns and getting the same old results, AKA same crap different day.
But ever since I opened up to intentional living, I regained my power to create a fulfilling life.
I still remember that life-changing A-HA! moment in a course I took about scheduling my priorities and values every week.
It BLEW my mind! It’s such a simple concept, but I just never took the time to think “Hmm what’s important to me? What makes me feel good? How can I plan to do more of that this week?”
I was hooked, and from that moment on, I began to know and love myself in a much deeper way than ever before.
Today I want to share a process with you that I use to reflect on the past year and plan for the next.
Sometimes I even go through it monthly or quarterly, because why wait until the end of the year to get more aligned with what feels good?
You’ll really find this process helpful if:
- there’s something you really wanted to do this year that just didn’t happen
- you want to get to know yourself better – what really lights you up?
- you’re in a period of transition and what you enjoy is changing
- you’ve had a tough year (like me) and want to reflect on the positive aspects
- you’ve been going through the motions and want to take the driver’s seat of your life
- you want to set yourself up for an amazing fulfilling 2019!
5 Steps for a Fulfilling Year
To complete this process, you’ll need some documentation of what you did throughout the year, such as a notebook/journal or calendar. If you aren’t yet in the process of documenting anything, send me a message and I’d love to help you find an easy way to get started!
List out your top values. By values I mean, what’s important to you, how you want to be spending your time, and what makes you feel GOOD.
Aim to keep this to around 5 general things, like quality time with friends, health + wellness, career growth, fun, adventure, etc.
There’s no pressure to come up with ALL of them right now because we’re going to revisit this later in the process.
Pull out your calendar, journals, and notebooks (anything with documentation of how you spent your time), and list out your favorite moments of the year – everything that you enjoyed.
If you’re like me and have tons of journals, this could take a little while. I broke it up into 3-month chunks over a couple of days, and ended up with a list almost 5 pages long – not bad for having a really tough year! In fact, I love this part because it’s like taking a beautiful walk down memory lane.
Throughout this step, you may realize more of your values, so go ahead and revise them.
On a separate sheet of paper, write at the top “My Favorite Things” or “How to make a great year” – whatever resonates with you. Then write 4 column headers: People, Places, Activities, and Feelings.
Now read back through your list of favorite moments, and ask yourself: What made this moment so great? Was it the people you were with? The place you went to or the activity you did? Or was it how it made you feel? Based on your answer(s) write something down in one (or more) of the 4 columns.
For example, in January my friend Shannon came to visit me. We had lots of great conversations while walking along many of the waterfront parks in my town. What made this time so great were several things: Shannon’s company (people), deep conversations (activities), and being outside at the park (places).
In another example, I really enjoyed competing in a Toastmasters public speaking competition because it made me feel courageous (feelings).
When you’re done with this step, you’ll have a beautiful blueprint of what fulfills you. It’s great to hang up or keep in a handy spot so when you feel like something in your life is lacking, you know you can give yourself anything on this list and you’ll feel content.
Take some time to reflect and write your answers to these questions.
Are there other things you enjoy that didn’t make your list? Perhaps you didn’t make quite enough time for them this year (hey that’s okay, that’s why we do this).
For me, badminton didn’t make the list. I love playing so much but I think I only did it twice this year. There’s also some friends I’d have loved to see more.
Were your values well-represented? Did you make enough time for them, or could some use more attention?
One of my values is fun and laughter, and I definitely feel like I could have used more of that.
Has anything gotten in the way of doing more of what you love? If so, can you let go of or decline something? Can you circumvent it?
The Florida heat and anxiety definitely made it hard to have fun this summer. My plan is to continue going to therapy for anxiety and hopefully go visit
some friends for a good chunk of time this summer.
What do you already have planned for next year? How do these events align with your values? Are you excited? If not, is it possible to back out of it?
I’m feeling really excited about all my plans in early 2019 – a game night with friends, a women’s business conference, and other events to support me and my business!
This is where it all comes together: creating an action plan based on everything we’ve gathered!
How can you incorporate more of the people, places, activities, and feelings that light you up? Come up with 3-5 action items you can do in the next couple of months to get your year started on the right track.
It could be:
- inviting a friend to join you in one of your favorite activities that you usually do solo
- committing to renewing your passport so you can plan a trip to Europe over the summer
- meal prepping on Sundays so you have healthy nourishing foods for the week
- contacting the organizer of a local club you’ve been eyeing for awhile
- planning monthly date nights with your significant other
Once you have your list, please leave a comment below and share how you liked this process! What are some of the actions you’re committing to next year?
If you found this helpful, then consider repeating the process monthly or quarterly. It’s a great way to create accountability for yourself and your long term commitment to intentional living.
Wishing you a deeply fulfilling 2019!