It’s that time of year where the crush of so many things-holiday parties, gift shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating, merry making, thank you note writing, end of year donating, etc- begins to feel like too much and your chest is tight and your stomach is kinda floppy and now I am about to add one more thing to your list with this week’s post.
But this exercise, I promise, should be fairly interesting and has the potential to give you some powerful perspective, create for you a blueprint of what works and doesn’t, and allow you to start next year with the most powerful of intentions. So even if you can’t squeeze this one in THIS WEEK, do squeeze it in before the end of this year.
So what is it, exactly? Well, it’s an End of Year Personal Summit, a fancy way to say that I want you to sit down and do some reflecting on this past year and how it went:: the joys and challenges it brought you, what you learned, and what you might do with that learning.
The EYPS is all about ending your year intentionally so that you can start the new year on purpose. Ready to begin? Here is how to hold your summit of one.
Step 1: Schedule it and prepare. Summits don’t happen without some effort. So schedule some time on your calendar for this one. Aim for at least 30 minutes. Choose a time of day and a day of the week when you are going to be your sharpest, especially given upcoming travel and celebrations. Also gather what you need. You might want your calendar from this past year, your vision board (if you made one), your camera or file of photos you took this past year, a journal from this past year (if you keep one), some blank paper and pens. You can also go further and get some soothing music, a delicious drink, or a candle ready.
Step 2: Go radio silent. When the time comes for your summit, turn on the do not disturb feature on your phone, back away from the internet, and hang a literal or figurative Do Not Disturb sign on the door of the space where you are working and on the door of your mind (to warn those superfluous thoughts to go busy themselves for awhile).
Step 3: Go back. The first official step in your summit is just surveying the scene, reviewing the past year. Flip through your photos. Go through your calendar, to do lists, journals. Make notes about things that strike you, what makes you smile, what ideas come to you, what you are reminded of from the year, any inspiration or insight you have.
Step 4: Ask and answer. Now, it is time to ask yourself some questions. Enjoy these questions; don’t stress about them or overthink them. If you are stuck on one, skip it and then come back to it later. One to a few sentence answers are just fine and your first instinct is usually the right track.
1. Describe yourself at the beginning of 2016.
2. What are five words that describe your 2016?
3. Recall 2016. What are three images that pop into your head?
4. How do those images make you feel in retrospect?
5. What did you do this year that you had never done before?
6. What dates/experiences from this year will remain etched in your memory and why?
7. What was your biggest challenge?
8. What was your biggest triumph?
9. What are three to five great things you did in 2016?
10. What are some important things you stopped doing?
11. What are some important things you started doing?
12. Looking back, what was this year’s gift to you?
13. Describe yourself now.
Step 5: Learn Your Lesson. So I am a firm believer that life keeps handing you the lesson that you need to learn until you learn it. Fail to learn the lesson the first time it shows up for you and life will turn up the volume, making things a big more uncomfortable. Ignore it again? More discomfort. On and on until it is just way too uncomfortable not to learn the lesson. But here’s the thing. It doesn’t have to be that hard or that uncomfortable. You can learn the lesson earlier and save yourself the later pain and trouble. It’s just a matter of paying attention.
So what were your most valuable lessons this year that you want to take with you moving forward? Make a list.
Step 6: Store these notes for the new year. In a couple weeks, I’ll guide you in completing a New Year Personal Summit to get your new year started with powerful intention.