2016 in review: how to review your year, and my own reflections

Happy happy holidays. I hope you’ve been having a delicious, loving holiday season so far and have been taking care of yourself throughout it…we all know that the holiday season can be exceptionally busy, and sometimes emotional.

I’m really excited to write to you today about “reviewing 2016”, because one of my passions is being a purposeful DESIGNER of my life, and helping others to do the same.

One of the most empowering shifts I have gradually made in recent years is becoming an intentional creator of a life I absolutely love, instead of just going along with the status quo or what is put in front of me.

This still takes a ton of awareness and effort.

It’s very easy for me to operate with old patterns (that DID used to serve me, but no longer do) or to move along in old grooves that simply feel comfortable.

It’s much harder for me to WAKE UP, realize something isn’t working anymore, and CHANGE.

Ugh, change.

Not comfortable.
Exciting sometimes, but scary.

I’ll be honest, when I sat down a couple of weeks ago to review 2016, I had a lot of unexpected emotion. And not the fun kind of emotion.

As I looked back on my year, I cried.

While the year overall was a good year, and I had tons of exceptional, incredible, life changing moments, I had a lot of moments that DIDN’T feel that way too.

I saw – on paper – many parts of my year that felt stale, blah, unfulfilling, and old.

I know myself well enough at this point to know that as I get older, I only get more and more fiercely devoted to living a life that feels freaking awesome whenever possible. I also know that the parts of me cheerleading for that kind of life are going to push me to make some changes.

While I feel so ready for that, and so excited, it’s also hard to let go of the old.

But while I was sitting there reflecting (and crying…ha), I also felt so proud of where I am with my relationship with myself.

I know that my desire to push myself to create a life that feels even better comes from the immense amount of love I have for myself. The more we love ourselves – truly love who we are at the core – the more we want for ourselves.

I also felt this really profound sense of self-trust. That no matter what new decisions I had to make, I would be completely okay. I could choose anything, and figure it out, no problem. I was surprised at how little fear I actually felt.

This is just another reason that I really advocate for us all working on exceptional Self-Care. The more we do this, the more we fall in love with ourselves, and the more self-trust we create.

When love and trust are there, we come to expect a life that continues to feel better and better, and we know we can handle anything that comes with it.

Okay, so let me explain a bit about how I went about reviewing this year.

One caveat, though: I’d really encourage you to find your OWN process that really works for you. If mine feels dull and like a pain in the butt, don’t do it! Do whatever works for you.

Step One: I sat down in a nice environment, whipped out my google calendar (this is another reason I keep a detailed calendar) and a notebook, and month by month, bulleted main highlights. So I started in January. I wrote “JAN” in my notebook, and then looked back at my calendar, going through my days. All the dinners, events, work things, travel, etc. Anything that stuck out as a highlight, I wrote down. Main people I met, my favorite moments, new ventures, key events. Just anything that stuck out (can be good or bad moments). I kept this as a really rough bulleted list for each month.

Step Two: After I had my brief bulleted lists for each month, I went back and starred / circled / hearted my favorite moments. I looked for things that made me literally smile just to see on paper, or things I was clearly so excited about.

Step Three: I noticed what WASN’T on my list, or things that weren’t a part of what was circled. Were there any major parts of my business that weren’t on there? Social life? Dating life? What was missing? This is where I got real with myself — I noticed a couple major areas of my life that just didn’t make the list, that I really wish did. Make note of these things.

Step Four: I took out a new piece of paper and condensed my “Things I loved” list, just to have it all in one spot. I had about 20 main things. Then, next to each thing I wrote one or two words about WHY I loved that thing. So for instance, I met my girl Libby who I ran a retreat with and next to her name I wrote “expanding, love, new, connection”. These words don’t make a ton of sense, but they are just what I felt in the moment.

Step Five: I then looked at alllll the words I wrote for the “WHY’s” in Step Four and condensed that down to just a few words. This is the essence of what really lit me up in 2016. These are the feelings that made me feel the BEST. This is super important to drill down on… it shows us what is lighting up our souls at this current juncture in our lives. (Remember, this can change all the time.) My big words that kept showing up over and over again were: NEW, COMMUNITY, CHALLENGED, FUN, LOVING, CLOSENESS.

This was really interesting to me…

I had a sense for this, but seeing it on paper really confirmed what I was already feeling. Two years ago, 2015, was really about me finding myself after a tough breakup. I spent SO much energy learning to unconditionally love myself, learning to love solo time, really digging deep into who I was and creating a super strong bond with myself.

This past year, 2016, however, was more about community for me. I started it off traveling to Asia for two months which was an epic solo adventure, and through that, I cemented my ability to be independent, but also softened into a crazy sense of community, connection and love everywhere around me. Coming back from that trip, and for the remainder of the year, it was less about my independence, and more about community. Love. Connection. Deep closeness with others.

I think I had to go through a bit of a “solo” phase for a while, but it was interesting to note how the solo stuff is no longer as fulfilling for me.

Step Six: I then made a short list of things that clearly weren’t working for me in 2016. My little “Let Go Of” list. Ugh. Hard. Not fun. Sad. But has to slowly happen or at least be reduced. It’s so important to at least be conscious of this.

Step Seven: So I think this is maybe one of the most important steps. ACTION. It’s one thing to know more of what we want to create, it’s another thing to actually make it happen. So I looked over my review and the things that made me feel how I wanted to feel, and I said “okay, if I want more of these kinds of things and these kinds of feelings moving forward, what can I take action on NOW for January / February / March to make sure I am deliberately CREATING more of this in my life.”

So I challenged myself to take two clear action steps toward creating more of the good stuff in 2017. I reached out to a few people who I wanted in my life MORE, scheduled some things with them, and signed up for an event in NYC that in the past I would have probably not gone to (but in my reflection, I learned that I really like going to wellness events in the city).

Taking action now puts you on a trajectory for change and for being deliberate about how your year begins. Like I said in the beginning of this email, this takes effort. It feels weird. It takes us out of comfortable grooves and puts us in new ones. ACTION is what actually creates the change.

Man, my emails are just so long these days! Phew!

So I hope that you gained something from seeing how I review the year. Like I mentioned, please do this in whatever way feels good for you – I would just really encourage you to do some sort of a review.

You deserve an incredible life that feels amazing.

The way to create that is to know what you want to create and WHY.

One of the best ways you learn what you want, is to look back at what turned you on and what didn’t in the recent past. These are KEY INSIGHTS into YOU!

So I would encourage you to give yourself the beautiful gift of slowing down, looking back at what lit up your soul in 2016, and deliberately create more of that in 2017.

And, to look back on what fell short, and gently let that go, or slowly move away from that in 2017. Of course, we can’t let go of everything, but we can reduce the amount of time and attention we put into those things.

Happy Soul Searching!

I’ll be writing to you the first week of 2017 and talking about creating the habits you actually WANT to create and my little trick for how to do that and actually stick to it.

Also — I’ll be heading to France with my family today, so if you want to follow along on my France adventures, I’ll be posting on Instagram!

Lots of love, and wishing you a very happy new year. Thank you for being an essential part of what made my year fulfilling.

Love,
Jamie

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