This life is more than just a read through.
Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Three years ago, my husband and I started something new. Instead of plunging into the New Year and moving on to the next without a backward glance, we decided to get our previous year’s diaries out and go through each and every day of the year and rate each thing.
Yes. Every. Single. Day. Some days were boring. Clean house. Do garden. Grocery shopping.
Other days were meetings with people. Some days we’d be in Europe, the US, Asia, the Pacific, Sydney, Melbourne or Dunsborough.
In reviewing every day, we see patterns and then we judge the year on some loose criteria:
Did we spend enough time with people we care about?
Did we overbook our schedules and not allow enough downtime?
Did we keep connection with people and organisations to ensure continuity?
Did we do new things?
What didn’t we enjoy and what could we choose not to do again?
Did the year align with our values and beliefs?
This process takes several hours. Two people times 365 days equals 730 days. Even if we spend one minute on each day that’s 730 minutes, so we set aside at least a day doing this review.
This sacred quiet time of reflection has become an addition to our usual planning day. It means another day set aside for reflection and thinking.
We also set aside time for personal reflections and have often used Amanda Vivier’s reflection books to guide us.
There’s something beautiful about reflecting and thinking and it helps us to clarify what’s important to us.
After the review, we set our intentions for the new year–we are not big on goals. We think they come naturally out of our big intentions. Our values, beliefs, and priorities in life are pre-commitments and the things we choose to do generally fall into these parameters.
In Emotional Agility, Susan David writes about the continuity of self. ‘Taking time for the long view leads to actions that benefit the long-term.’
Taking time to reflect on the past year and think about your intentions for the new year means you are on track to have a year in tune with your values.
Taking time to think about linking who you are now with who you’ll be in twenty years creates continuity to yourself. Will you look back in twenty years and be glad you stopped to think about what you want out of life and the sort of person you want to be?
A year is a limited amount of time. It’s already February–the year is in full swing. It makes sense to try and ensure that we use our time carefully, thoughtfully, and with intention.
Taking sacred thinking time will ensure that this year adds up to something meaningful and purposeful.