During the summer of 2009, I tracked how I spent my time. I was prompted to do this because I often couldn’t tell you what exactly I did during my summer break by the time school started. I knew I was productive but I couldn’t remember specifics from one afternoon of floating on my raft to the next. I began listing my accomplishments, books I read, new workouts I tried, new artwork I made and trips I took.
By the end of 2010, however, I had found Chris Guillebeau and his blog, “The Art of Non-Conformity” and began utilizing some of his suggestions for reflecting on an Annual Review . During the ending weeks of December, and possibly sliding into the early weeks of January, I take time to note past accomplishments and future goals so they won’t escape out-of-reach and out-of-memory as days get hectic. For me, the older I get, and the faster time flies, it is reassuring to read through the goals I had a year ago and recall all that I’ve done to fulfill my life. This makes me feel good and it helps me further continue down the Path Of Life with an idea of how I can use my time in the days ahead. Although there are a myriad of templates and suggestions online about how to reflect upon the past year, Chris’ method utilizes two primary questions:
• What went well in 2012?
• What did not go well in 2012?
This reflective tool not only helps me organize the year ahead, but it helps me easily track the highlights of my life, in the very short form of a bulleted diary. In my Annual Review, I also continue to include notes on books I read and travels I took as these continue to be important aspects of my life. Last December, one of my goals was to start this blog. By reading my thoughts on that from a year ago, it makes me feel proud to know that I not only accomplished that, but also inspired a few people along the way. Looking forward, I will visualize what lies ahead and how my blog may change when I live overseas.
This past holiday week I’ve been fortunate to spend time with my daughter who lives out of state. She is about to begin her last semester of college and is entering into a time of transition – just like I am. All we’ve grown accustomed to is about to change. We are both considering new jobs, new cities and new people. We are about to step out into a place we’ve never been. As she watches my life unfold, she is observing how life continues to be about change. We’ve talked about how exciting a new time can be and how stressful it can be. We feel out of control because we have opportunities that we didn’t have before and we have no way of knowing what the future holds. Although she and I work out decisions through our faith, there is still the first step, which can be scary. Risks are involved. Taking that first step has the power to alter the course of not only your life but also the lives of others. It’s a big deal.
During these last days of 2012 I want to thank you, my readers, for inspiring and motivating me. You have been my accountability partner to stand firm in being courageous as I take the next step. Thank you so much.