For the past 5 years I’ve been doing structured reflections at the end of the year where I review how the past 12 months went – what worked, what didn’t, what was accomplishing, what wasn’t. Here, a basic outline that I set out and republish each year. I love the seclusion that AirBnB provides, but it can also be done on a quiet morning between Christmas and New Year’s.
by Andrew Snavely
When was the last time you took time to think? And don’t choose to daydream instead of looking at your phone while waiting at the dentist’s office — but actually plan a solid chunk of the time intentionally. Thinking,
This was the question I posed 2 years ago when I first discussed my year-end reflection and goal-setting process in my post 18 Questions I’m Going to Ask Myself About the Past Year.
Until a few years ago, my answer to that question was “I never set aside time to think.” And the reality is that this is the case for most of us.
It’s crazy when you feel the ramifications of it all, we’re all kind of bouncing around, thinking some life in between the obligations and stresses of everyday life. After all, “I need to eat better – like wtf,” has been in subtle doses enough times that hopefully we’ll do something about it.
But what happens when life gets more stressful? And we accumulate more responsibility? And others depend on us to take care of them. And the economy gets worse. And health problems come to the fore. And. And. And.
What happens is that micro-dose thinking becomes few and far between, and good thoughts lead to guilt about all the things that have piled up.
That’s why I’ve found an incredibly freeing and motivating way to combat this… plan some time to think.
I rent a cheap AirBnB, preferably one isolated from people, and go out with my dog Lila for a few days. While my “workspace” started out as a quarterly exercise and usually includes some sort of project I’m trying to work on, my year-end retreats are a few days long and I’ve Completely focused deep dive into what was done and done. Been doing nothing over the past year, and slowly putting my thoughts away to try to honestly assess the path I’m on.
If I feel I’m headed in the right direction, I make new short term goals for the new year and celebrate the victories.
If I realize I’m feeling lost, I take a hard look at where I’ve stagnated and begin to outline potential shakeups. This is the time that has really disrupted homeostasis in my life – when I find where I’ve become too comfortable. Or to put it less politely, when I’m in the quagmire of a life.
, Read some of the results of last year’s end-of-life reflection.