Although 2020 was a brutal year, it was accompanied with some incredibly useful nuggets. Some life lessons can only be learned when you’re neck deep in poop – and this year was crappy.
I encourage you to take some time this week and reflect on the story you told in 2020. What nuggets can you pull out and implement in your life moving forward? Before we look forward and set goals let’s make sure we learn from 2020 and integrate those lessons into our plan for 2021. Here’s an exercise that can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 4 hours depending on how in depth you want to go. I personally shoot for about 2 hours.
- Get out your digital or paper calendar from 2020 (if you don’t keep a calendar just think about the big things you did in 2020 and start writing them down – positive or negative). Then, take a sheet of paper and fold it in half hot dog style. On one side write ‘Do More’ and on the other side write ‘Do Less’. Finally, have your calendar for 2021 handy.
- Start scanning through your calendar and write down any ‘highlights’ on the ‘Do More’ side and ‘lowlights’ on the ‘Do Less’ side. On a 1-10 scale I’d consider a highlight a 9 or 10 and a lowlight a 1 or 2, we’re looking for the true peaks and valleys here, otherwise your list will be massive. The level of detail you put into your review and how many events you write down is up to you, but I generally shoot for 10-15 things in each category.
- Immediately start adding things from the ‘Do More’ category to your 2021 calendar. Your time is a finite resource, schedule things that are most important to you first so you don’t find yourself wondering how you ‘got so busy with no time to do the things you love’.
- Take your ‘Do Less’ list and type it up. Print it out and hang it by your computer, on your fridge, in your calendar, and anywhere else you’ll see it often as a reminder to say NO so you have the time and space to say YES to the things that light you up.
- Finally, if you keep a journal, flip through the previous year and pull out any valuable insights you gleaned. I personally do a ‘Month in Review’ each month during the year, then at the end of the year I review those and pull out my top 10 lessons for the year. Finally, I cut that down to my top 3, write them on sticky notes and plaster them around until I have them ingrained in my subconscious.
After you do this exercise you can leave 2020 in the rearview mirror and plan for 2021 with your newly acquired insights. DO NOT skip this step! For years I only set goals and never did much formal reflection, trust me it’s a game changer!