lessons from a year in review

It could be a sign of age, but I’d prefer to believe that my long-standing interests in psychology and human behavior explain my love of goal setting and tracking progress.

My methods have definitely evolved over the years. You can read the latest version of my goal setting approach which marries habits and a vision board into the same process.

Last year, I added a more formal year end review. As I’m a private person (who is working on being more open and vulnerable), I captured a few takeaways from that review.

January ended recent-ish which means if I’ve made any progress at all toward goals I identified, I’m already ahead of 70% of Americans who give up on resolutions by Feb 1.

I’ve outlined a few of the external and internal changes that I’ve made and observed from this window into what makes me tick.

External changes

  1. I’ve read 6 books in about 6 weeks, more than I read all of 2018. It’s not an explicit goal to read more but more of a happy accident from my morning and evening routines to manage anxiety. Specifically, I’ve cut out screen time 1 hour before bedtime and during my commute. End result: I feel more energized and enriched and have more tools to manage anxiety.

  2. I noted that many of my wins came from deepening relationships. I entered into hermit mode during the last few months of last year which limited my quality time with friends. I’ve booked one group trip to San Diego and have two other girls trip plans in the works. End result: Positive anticipation and more generosity

  3. Last year marked the first time I missed hitting all of my professional goals, After licking my wounds over the holidays and reflecting on what went wrong, I’m in learning mode. I have two coffees scheduled to talk to peers in my field (futures/foresight/corporate innovation) with more in progress. End result: less anxiety

Learning from 2018: Internal changes

  1. I live with both depression and anxiety; that said, go to mood issue tends to be anxiety vs. depression. I know that if I practice healthy habits like eating a diet of Whole Foods, get enough sleep, workout regularly, and see enough sunlight, my anxiety will pretty much stay under wraps. So of course, I’m perfect at this everyday right? All jokes aside, I feel like I’ve hit my stride with not slipping on practices that keep me in top mental shape.

  2. Related to the point above, this foundation of self care and consistent anxiety management has generally blunted my typical anxiety response when I have encountered triggers this year. Rather than sliding into the death spiral of catastrophizing, I can say “That sucks,” and generally move forward with doing what needs to be done.

  3. Unlike last year’s goals, my 2019 goals were more realistic. I am a recovering perfectionist. Last year’s goal setting was proof of what happens when perfectionism goes off track because those goals had a small chance of success even in a perfect universe much less the real world I live in. Don’t forget about the A in SMART goals: attainable.