Another year is nearly over. We worked, we had fun, we struggled, we learned new skills and we have grown as human beings.
But what are we — wooden logs slowly being driven by the current of life’s river or are we fish, choosing our own direction?
With the fast lifestyle we have, it is often hard to keep track of all the things that matter.
Maybe you have previously written a “New-Years-Goals-List” for this year. Maybe you didn’t. Maybe you accomplished more than you ever expected to. That’s all good.
Nonetheless, one particular practice always ensures I know where my focus is and what matters to me most and helped me a great deal in life — the resume day, or so I call it.
For this, I chose one or more days where I can afford to go somewhere quiet for a few hours, make a solo trip or even take longer get away.
Once there, I eliminate all distractions in form of phones, computers, kids, passing trains, animals demanding attention and get to work.
If you are willing to try this life-changing, little practice, I composed a short list of questions to ask yourself. It consists of two parts, focusing on the current, ending year in the first one and on the future year in the second. Don’t skip the first part, as it is fundamental to reflect on our actions to learn and improve in the future.
You shouldn’t judge yourself, nor give explanations or excuses. It’s not the purpose of this exercise. The idea is to get a broad overview of what you have accomplished, of how far or not you have come. Also, if some questions don’t speak to you, skip them. It’s about what works best for you.
This is what you’ll do:
You’ll write down all your major accomplishments for that year.
You’ll write down new things you learned.
You’ll write down what you are particularly proud of.
You’ll write down about the remarkable people you met who had the most influence on you.
You’ll write down what you learned from those people.
You’ll write down all the people you are thankful for.
You’ll write down your nicest and toughest experiences.
You’ll write about your biggest fails and falls.
You’ll write about your best investments.
Also about the worst.
You’ll write down where you didn’t show up or didn’t deliver enough.
You’ll write down what you could’ve made differently.
Next, you will write your major goal for the next year:
You’ll write down things you want to accomplish.
You’ll write down how you picture your perfect day, even if it is still far away.
You’ll write about things you want to do, places you want to visit and skills you want to learn.
You’ll divide that main goal into several smaller goals and write about them.
And most importantly, you will write about how you want to feel.
Because in the end, no goal really matters if it doesn’t make you feel good about it.
Maybe you want a stable job which will allow you to buy that nice car you always wished for (although there are probably better alternatives for spending money). If you work 80 hours a week and end up being sad and lonely, no car in the world will help you feel great. What you want is to feel good. You don’t want that long vacation, you want the feeling of being relaxed and happy that comes with it. Maybe also some breathtaking, envy-causing photos. You don’t want the promotion at your job, you want the recognition or/and salary that comes. Be very aware of why you want what you want, as it might have a big influence on your decisions.
You may or may not believe in the exercise of visualization, but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is, that it will give you a clear vision on how you want to live your life, and a blueprint on how to move in that direction. In case you do believe, I guess I don’t have to explain to you what a clear vision of your future can do.
And if you want to be extra productive, you will take another day like this after the following three months into your new year, checking on your progress.
And then in another three months.
Until you reach another year and then, looking back, you will notice the change and your own personal growth.
It worked for me, so I know it will for you too.
If you want to take it a step further, I recently read a great article by Ryan Holiday where he goes a bit deeper about changing your habits. You can read his premium article here.
What do you think about this practice? Do you have your own rituals and habits of goal setting? I would love to hear about it!
Also, subscribe for more articles on life, travel, relationships, and location independent working.