This is an exciting day.
Every year for the last four years, Brandon and I have done an annual reflection together.
It all started when we both decided one year to use Natalie MacNeil's "conquer your year" planner, so shout out to Natalie for providing the framework for this annual reflection to happen!
For the record, if you don't have solid daily and weekly habits yet, we both highly recommend that planner because it really helped us to set the right habits, patterns and track quarterly versus annually. You set up three month sprints for your goals versus an intimidating, ever changing 12 month plan. That made a huge difference for us both. We found that over the course of a year you can lose track of what your goals are and they can become kind of meaningless. But in three months or 12 weeks (with a reflection after each smaller chapter), you can really stay focused on where you're going and what you want.
Three months is a more forgiving timeframe because even if you are a little bit off track on something and you under or overshot the timeline that it's going to take for whatever project or life thing you're doing, it's only three months. And at the end of the three months, you reflect on how it went. You reassess anything that still needs to get done and then for your upcoming three months, that's where you would hone in that focus.
When we first started tracking our goals, they were SUPER ambitious goals and not very clear. We would set goals like "I want to make $250,000 a year", but not have any metrics laid out or a tangible plan on where that number even came from. We would set these huge, awesome goals and not have an inkling where it came from or what it took to achieve.
It just sounded cool. So as we've continued our tradition of the annual reflection, our goals have gotten more clear, concise and tangible.
And that's not to say setting big goals isn't an awesome idea! Because IT IS. But the *key* here is to focus on what you can control, aka "the input", instead of that lofty number or "the outcome" that you hope you're going to hit and don't really have any control over.
I definitely learnt that lesson this year of all years and really learned to surrender the outcome and instead focus on the process and truly, I found so much more joy in all of it because of that too.
So, armed with pens and journals each year, Bran and I started to get really intentional about our reflection and goal setting.
And today is a very special day because we're bringing it to you so you can dive in and also experience the clarity and excitement of a year end reflection retreat. (If you want to skip right down to the podcast episode and get your copy of my Year End Reflection and Goal Setting Journal, feel free to do so!)
This journal is the exact reflection we use annually. And I love it so much because I know it works for us personally, so I also know it'll work for you! It just helps you get super clear on what you want so you can have more of that and less of what you don't. For example, In the 2020 goal setting section, I have specific categories laid out for you to get clear on what your best life LOOKS like and what it FEELS like.
No more ambiguity or ending the year feeling like you're barely treading water.
It's time for PEACE AND CLARITY, people.
Tracking our habits and goals in three month sprints really helped us get clear on the habits that were important to us, the habits that were making a difference and then removing the excess stuff that we didn't really need to be tracking. And it took a couple of years to get rid of some of that stuff. But it really helped us get clear on the things that were important for us to track. And at this point now, we are tracking only the very essential things because some of the others are now concrete habits in our life!
We had to go through a lot of trial and error to get to this place. And we also had to process a lot of junk internally and externally over the course of a few years to get as clear as we are now.
Reflection is not for the weak hearted. It will bring up stuff you don't want to look at. But once you bring it up, look at it and process it, you can heal it, grow from it and step into the next best version of yourself.
And even though I still occasionally overload my schedule. I found that it really helps me to get honest and clear on what is actually important and what is not. Looking back at the end of each three month period and then at the end of the year has been so valuable for me. I learn from it every time. And I'm always so surprised at how much we've achieved, how much we've done, how many fun activities we've done, travel and stuff like that. It's so easy to get caught up in the "next thing", the "next milestone", the "next chapter". But when you take the time to look back, it's incredible to see all that you've done in a year and I think it's so important to reflect and celebrate all of those small moments along the way.
During our annual reflection, we go over some key categories such as:
- favourite moments from this last year
- the lessons learned this year
- personal wellness protocol right now
- what I'd like to do more of
- what I'd like to do less of / change / stop
- 2020 goal setting (including setting a word for the year, affirmations, your vision and really getting clear on what you want it to look like and feel like in each of the categories)
For example, instead of writing 2020 goals this year, what I wrote was: "my life in 2020 looks and feels like", and then I broke it down into my specific categories. For example, in health and habits, I made a list of what it looks like and feels like for me to have optimal health. What that looks like is: going to bed around 10:30, sleeping until I need to, drinking a warm glass of lemon water first thing in the morning, meditating first thing (no matter what), journaling every single morning, going for a walk with my audio book, getting in a workout sometime around noon, eating at regular intervals, connecting with my loved ones, working from a checklist for my coaching business. These are all things that help me feel my best, that that's what it looks like.
As you can tell, we really dive into this reflection and treat it very seriously.
It just works my friend. And I hope you'll give yourself the grace and space to try it.
Finally, at the end of our 1-2 day reflection, we share our notes with each other and go out for a nice meal with wine. We are then able to fully enjoy the Christmas season and all of the holiday celebrations with our families, knowing that we've already closed out the previous year and set ourselves up for success with the upcoming one. Win friggin win.
So, because I want to give you this gift of reflection and goal setting so you can see what I'm talking about here, I put together a beautiful, 28page PDF version of all of the questions that we use to reflect and goal set. And it is yours asap for only $15CAD.
Here, take a sneak peek inside the journal...
Using the questions and prompts inside this PDF journal, in the order they're laid out, has helped both Brandon and I IMMENSELY these last 4 years. And for the first time ever, YOU CAN HAVE A DIGITAL COPY OF THE JOURNAL to do your own reflection too!!
Oh mama, this makes me so excited!!
If you would like your own copy of the "Year End Reflection and New Year Goal Setting Journal", email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will personally respond back with how you can get your hands on this beautiful, effective, 28 page year end companion.
OR... if you're more of the "I want it now" type, simply follow this link to my PayPal and enter $15CAD as well as your email address in the notes section, and as soon as you send the money, I can send you your journal! Easy as pie.
Once you receive the PDF file, you can either follow along from your computer and use a blank journal to write out your answers, OR (my suggestion), print out the entire journal and use the journal spaces provided to get a really solid experience out of the whole thing.
Happy reflecting my friends.
Let's end the year feeling calm, contented and confident in what is to come for 2020.
ps - want a little extra help with how to set up your annual retreat? Check out this blog post I did last year after our reflection for some tips!
pps - are we connected on Instagram?! I hang out in my IG stories alllll day long @mariebarkerwellness if you want to come check out the shenanigans!