Have you forgotten all about your new year resolutions? Don’t stress! The possibility of a positive year of joy and growth isn’t dependent on the arbitrary date of January 1st. In fact, now that the holiday decorations are back in storage and the dust has settled on the new year, it’s the perfect time to dive reflecting on the past year and consider how you’d like this year to look, without the pressure of the “new year, new you” conversation. Set aside one hour for your personal year in review and discover your intentions for the year ahead. So, find a quiet space, make a cup of tea, grab a pen and paper, set your Time Timer for 60 minutes, and let’s get started.
Look Back on the Past Year
First things first. Have you ever completed a time audit? All this means is simply to begin tracking your time, taking note of everything you do over the course of day or week to learn (a) where your time is going, (b) what you’d like or need more time for, and (c) what you’d like to spend less time on.
From here, you may begin to see a clearer picture of what’s working for you and what’s not. What would you like to leave behind in the past year? What you’d like to bring with you moving forward?
Looking past on the past year, what do you notice? If you go back through your calendar or planner, what things did you spend time on that were important, worthwhile, brought you joy or growth? You may ask yourself some or all of the following questions and write down your answers:
- Were there any highlights?
- Did you read any good books?
- Did you enjoy spending time on certain relationships?
- Did you make time for your physical and mental health? For creativity and play?
- What did you learn this past year? What things weren’t helpful?
- Where were your biggest time wasters?
- Is there one word (or maybe a few) that you would use to describe the past year?
Look Forward to the Year Ahead
Now consider, what word (or words) do you want to use to describe this year when you reach December 31st? What would you like to make more time for? Is there anything you’d like to start doing or stop doing?
Once you know where you want to spend your time this year, schedule them in! Put them on your calendar, just as you would for a doctor’s appointment or a school exam. Allot time for these activities, and use your Time Timer to allow you to focus on them, without distractions.
Celebrate Where You Are Right Now
If you have some big, lofty goals this year, go you! You can meet these goals more effectively (and with less stress!) by breaking them down into smaller, “SMART” goals, i.e. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. Plan to review your goals regularly. It’s helpful to celebrate where you are in the present moment and pat yourself on the back for making daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly progress that improve your life and move you towards your long-term goals.