It’s that time of year! No, I'm not talking about Christmas. It’s time to find a quiet space to sit with your favorite hot beverage, pen in hand, and review the year. I find that creating this space around the holidays, when most things are shutting down, to be the perfect time to really reflect on the year.
In this week’s blog, I have a few quotes for you to consider and a free download with some effective reflecting questions. These questions will help you consider how you use your resources, the highs of the year, and what you might put in that “been there, tried that” column.
I encourage you to create that space for yourself. Even if it's only an hour, it will create a much clearer picture of what your 2023 next steps should look and feel like!
Let’s begin with the basics of Reflecting.
It’s clear that as we go through life, we will have countless experiences. Some that include joy and sadness, some that produce a result or outcome we desired, and some that don’t, and some experiences that we want to repeat, and some that we never want to experience again.
How do we know what those experiences have taught us? We need to take time to reflect. You’re probably thinking, "That takes time I don't have." Yes, it does take time, but maybe it’s carving out 10 minutes at the end of each day to reflect on just that day’s events. Maybe it’s a formal re-cap and review each month.
We do need to make this time because in the long run, by making the time we are saving so much time for ourselves. The quicker we evaluate – especially those experiences that weren’t great - the faster we learn which will save us in the future.
John Maxwell says, “Experience isn't the best teacher… evaluated experience is."
I encourage you to spend time evaluating your experiences on a regular basis to learn what you need in order to take a better next step.
Consider Your Resources
Everyone has two key resources: time and money. When you’re reflecting, consider your resources. How did you spend both since you last reflected and evaluated?
After spending over 20 years in the financial services industry, I’m a big proponent of knowing what’s happening with the money that comes in. How am I spending it? Each year when I do my Annual Planning Session, both personally and for others, I always include a financial element. Knowing our financial numbers is important.
This time of year is also a great time to review all your paid subscriptions. How often are you really using all the streaming services you pay for? I know that cancelling a subscription can trigger a little FOMO. If you cancel, you might not be able to join in the office conversation about that show or movie. I say don’t pay for it until you need or want it.
On the surface those $5.99 or $9.99 per month subscriptions may not seem like much but when you compound that by 12 months it’s $72 and $120. Instead, that money could be a great investment in a much more enjoyable experience, a good start to a small savings account, or another more valuable investment.
Apply this same evaluated concept to other expenses and see how much you can find to reallocate to something even more valuable.
If I say 168, did you immediately grasp that 168 hours is how much time we all have each week?
Yes, this includes the time you spend sleeping, eating & bathing – all things we must do!
Let's do a quick exercise. Write down 168, then subtract the recommended times for each type of activity we should do to remain healthy (amount of sleep, exercise, how long we should take to consume a meal, etc.). Then subtract the real amount of time you’re in your car to and from work, the time at work – what do you have left?
If you’re in a deficit – what do you change?
Steve Jobs said, “My favorite things in life don't cost any money. It's really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time."
When you do your evaluation of the year, consider - How did you spend your time? Who did you spend it with? What did you do during your granted 168 hours each week? How many unnecessary meetings did you sit in or facilitate? Really dig deep to see where you can claim some time for you.
Start with what you need and want in your schedule. Another activity I do in my annual planning session is designing that ideal week and identifying those non-negotiable portions of time that you won’t allow another person’s priority to take over. For progress to happen – whatever our goal – we’re going to have to commit time. That time has to be inserted in your non-negotiable bucket!
You’ve done the reflection and you have a better picture of your resources, maybe even designed your ideal week. Getting started is the biggest obstacle for so many once you’ve identified what your goals or next steps.
Arthur Ashe said, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can."
One of the key things we all need to remember is that when you are starting, you’re not going to be where others are that have been on that journey longer. To make progress, you just have to start where you are right now. One minor change can have a compound affect that produces a major result. Using what you have, what can you do?
Looking at your notes from your reflection time – what’s the first thing you want to do differently?
Now, what’s the first step to creating this change?
Marie Forleo says, “Starting small and sucky beats staying stucky."
This quote has been one of my favorite after reading Marie Forleo’s Everything Is Figureoutable. It’s a reminder that it’s going to be uncomfortable and maybe feel like a disaster when you get started or start doing something you’ve never done before, but ultimately, no matter how yucky it can feel, it beats staying stuck.
Start small so that you know with confidence that in a year from now, you won’t be in the same place, thinking about the same dreams, wishing you had started.
Complete your Year-End Review for 2022 using the free download below, consider your resources, and get started on making 2023 your best year ever!
If you need help, you still have the option to join me live at my next live Annual Planning Session on January 21, 2023. Check out the details HERE.
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