As hard as it is to believe, here we are at the end of another year. Last year at around this time, I took the opportunity to look at how we might approach a year-end reflection and planning process as a sacred practice. This idea — looking back and forward to be more intentional and integrated in my approach to life — has become even more important to me over the past year, so I thought I’d bring these ideas forward again in case any of you would like to jump-start your 2020 in a similar way.
There are three major steps to my process:
- Identify Values: I say without exaggeration that nothing has contributed more to my sense of happiness and well-being than clarifying my values and trying to live them out. It’s the first step in living a more intentional life since it often diagnoses how it is the ‘trances’ of our daily routines and habits are disconnected from what we truly believe to be most important. I like to do this annually, to validate what I’ve come up with before and to see what sticks out as particularly urgent or important right now. I find that while my values remain fairly consistent, different ones will emerge as priorities every year.
- Year in Review: There are many ways to do this, but last year I developed one based on the Ignatian Examen. This is a way of reflecting on the year that has been that focuses on successes, struggles, what worked well, and what areas might need attention going forward. My template is available for you to use in the resources section of the blog.
- Goal-Setting: Bringing together the values and lessons learned from the first two steps, the final step is to set goals for the coming year. (See also the post on ‘Discernment of Desires‘ for some further thoughts on setting goals that are aligned with your values.)
Whatever your year-end practices look like, I hope your 2019 ends well and you enter 2020 with a renewed sense of excitement for what the new year can bring!