Some people are goal people. They make the lists. They check them off one by one and track their progress. This works for them.
I try to be one of those people. I love dreaming about the future and how I can change and grow.
But the truth is, I’m not very good at the hustle part of the goal digging. I’m trying to be better. And I’m going to share more of this later.
But what I am good at is being a noticer. I have learned the value and reward of reflecting on my growth over time.
When I wanted to create my Best Nine grid from Instagram, I was intrigued by what was created by a computer program. But I didn’t relate to it. It wasn’t MY best nine. I have different feelings about what I feel best represents myself over the year and I wasn’t going to let an algorithm tell me otherwise.
Once home from our looooooon travels, with the Christmas decor finally tucked away in its place, and with a tiny moment in my day when I had a bit of quiet and a hot (for now) cup of coffee, I sat down with my notebook, pen, and the photo roll stored in my Cloud to discover what I learned over the last year.
I first learned about this process from Emily P Freeman who shares seasonally with her readers about What We Learned. She makes a point to write down throughout a season, Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, what she notices and learns from. I love this ritual. But I have already established I am not good at keeping track of the things I am doing on a consistent basis by writing them down. But that doesn’t mean I am not paying attention.
I realized in the hustle of my days, my method for keeping track is found right there on the photos stored on my phone. My journal is in the words I share in my feed.
So I scrolled through the pictures armed with some questions to help my process of noticing. Then, I was able to take all the things I learned over the year and turn them into my Reverse Checklist. Its a backwards way of creating goals but it works for me.
For someone who struggles with goal lists, this process was so fulfilling.
It was such a great exercise I would like to continue this process not just each year but also seasonally.
What about you? Do you need a different way to look at goals and growth? Would you like to join along? If so, here is a short over view of my method to get you started.
Questions to ask yourself…
What was hard?
What did you hide from others?
What made you smile?
What did you forget about? And why, do you think?
What are you proud of?
What do you want more of?
From this list, flag the pictures that answer or trigger any of these questions.Pick a number to focus on. Maybe 5? 10? Whatever feels right. The number doesn’t matter. Take each picture and journal what you learned based on these questions. Then, take this lesson and turn it into an action item.
You did that thing. Good for you. It belongs on your list.
Even if the moment brings up negative feelings such as something hard or something you were hiding from, the simple act of noticing this is the goal achieved here. For example, you have 13 pictures in your phone of your toddler throwing a tantrum over the most ridiculous things. The bucket list item then could be “Allow toddler to feel all the feelings.” Or “Learned NOT to go grocery shopping at 5:00 PM.” Seem trivial? It is not. Every lesson learned or hard thing done needs to be celebrated. The small things ARE worth celebrating.
I also believe that by noticing what brings us joy, peace, or pride, we can decide what we want to add more to our lives.
I’ll be back at the end of February to share what I learned in Winter (and also I will laugh because I will know “winter” is far from over.)
But if making a point to look back on your year or your season seems too formal, perhaps this is a practice you can do at the end of a really hard day. Sometimes its in the middle of what feels like a drought we discover there was beauty all along.