I first read about performing a year-end review from Sarah Susanka in this November’s Kripalu online newsletter. And in a moment of synchronicity, I found a blog (OK, I checked out other blogs written by Carrie’s participating in NaBloPoMo lol) which led me to other posts about performing a year-end review. (This one even had a free spreadsheet to download, which is like my kryptonite.) So I definitely want to do it this year, and I’m going to start now.
I used to abhor writing new year’s resolutions. I felt like it was just undue pressure put on myself and ways that I would simply count my failures. Talk about fearful, coocoo thinking! But a friend has led by example and showed me how resolutions are helpful guideposts on our journeys, ways for us to focus our energies and make sure pleasure fills our precious moments on earth.
We (are forced to) write goals and accomplishments at work each year. Why not do it for my personal life? I can put on my new year’s resolution list things that matter to me, that I want to enrich my life. And in review, I can see how I managed to incorporate them, what the challenges were, and if they lead me to other passions.
Two (of the many) suggestions Sarah Susanka offered in the Kripalu newsletter intrigued me (I really recommend you read the newsletter, or check out Sarah’s webiste, www.notsobiglife.com):
- Make a record of all the significant things that have happened to you over the past year. What books, movies, or experiences have moved or inspired you? What people have come into or departed from your life? What challenges have you faced?
- Next, take a look at yourself in the present. Who are you becoming? What is your experience of your life today compared with last year? What parts of it are enjoyable? What parts are frustrating?
How cool to keep a yearly journal like this, and have them to look back over. In my experiences with keeping gratitude journals in the past I have learned that by bringing my attention to the sweet but fleeting moments in life allows those moments to resonate more fully. I still remember instances I noted in my gratitude journal 10 years ago, and still feel grateful for them. Attention is a beautiful thing.
The Life Lists are a higher level than New Year’s Resolutions. I see NY Resolutions as specific things to integrate in your daily/monthly life, whereas a life list is a more higher-level “To Do” list (without all the pressure to cross things off!). I think I will try to write a Life List too, to see if the method resonates with me.
33 days ago I create “Fall/winter 2011 Goals” on my iPhone’s notes app. The first goal? “Start writing.” NaBloPoMo is one example of how I’m expressing that goal. And, although challenging, I’m loving it! (Look at these great posts it’s inspiring me to write!)
The big one from last year’s New Year’s Resolution List that has re-gifted itself to me throughout the entire year is “Do Yoga Regularly.” And I have. Between yoga at my work’s gym on Thursdays or the local hot PranavayuYoga class on Mondays I have been able to make more time in my life for my practice. And the blissed-out happy rewards, both known and unknown, are many.
In interest of full disclosure, here’s my entire NY Resolution list from January 4, 2011:
Do yoga regularly
Minimize “to do’s”
Don’t second guess my decisions
Live with awe
Follow my intuition
Allow writing time 1x a week, 15 minute minimum
I didn’t revisit this list often, but it was never far from my mind. When my husband and I were struggling with vaccinations, after researching and speaking to doctors and other parents, we made up our minds and I resolved to not second guess my decision. Every decision has consequences and resolving to accept and deal with what may come helps me be more free to follow my intuition and ignore the nasty fear of failure.
I minimized my to-do’s by putting less things on my to-do list. Probably like yours, my to-do lists spanned appointments to blog posts to read to everything in between. I let myself relax about not doing everything and was happier when the top three things on my to-do list was in sync: me, my husband, my daughter.
So I’ll consider this a kick-off to my year-end review. Have you ever done one before? Will you now? Do you make resolutions? Are you drawn to blogs written by people with the same name as you ;)? Let me know and more in the comments. :)