How to establish your core value and emotional tone for how you want to feel in 2022.
On Wednesday, December 29, I taught this year-in-review process to a wonderful group of people. A number of interesting and important conversations took place as a result of the questions and what different people shared. We could have easily gone down the rabbit hole to explore the adjacent ideas. It was fascinating to witness the shared challenges that the group identified and resonated with, namely, setting boundaries, seeking contentment, and belonging versus trying to fit in. Perhaps the last two years of COVID-19 had something to do with that, or perhaps that’s simply an expression of core needs and being human.
Suffice to say, this is a powerful and insightful process, and I look forward to sharing it with you. It’s a simple journaling process to review the meaningful highlights, milestones, and insights that shaped your life this past year. Give yourself one to two hours to work your way through this review. You may want to add to it over the next few days as you remember more details.
Reflect on the events of this past year.
Allow yourself to answer freely and without judgement. Don't consider this to be an assessment of your past year. Instead, consider the facts of what happened, what stands out, and how those experiences shaped you. Jot down recollections as they come to you. You are welcome to come back and add more colour. Review your calendar and journals for forgotten highlights. Include major events, significant habits, and goals you pursued and accomplished.
Step 1 — Define 2-3 significant new beginnings
Define 2-3 of the most significant new projects, books, habits, job/career, friendships, or relationships that had a meaningful impact (positive or negative) on your life, and what was so important about each one.
Step 2 — Define 2-3 milestones for this past year.
What stands out in this past year as a significant event, be that a significant goal or something you accomplished that took a lot of time and effort? Make a list of 2-3 milestones and describe why each one was significant and how it changed you.
Step 3 — Define 2-3 key insights.
Think of insight as shining light on an awareness you’ve never had before, and how that changed your perceptions. Describe 2-3 key insights or life lessons and how each one made an impact on your choices and actions.
Step 4 — Refinements: What did you stop doing?
What work, projects, habits, friendships, relationships, and so on did you quit. List the top 2-3 things that you stopped doing. Why did you stop each one? What were the lessons learned from making those choices?
Step 5 — Emotional Tone
- Looking back on the year gone by, what was the most emotionally uplifting experience? Name that single most empowering emotion.
- What was the most difficult emotional experience? Then name that single, least desired emotion.
Step 6 — Values
- What was most valuable to you about your most uplifting experience, above? Describe the value with a single word.
- What value was denied or restricted during your most challenging emotional experience? Again, describe the value with a single word.
Step 7 — Your Purpose
If you know your purpose or mission statement, write it down now. If not, what makes you feel most like yourself, that makes you feel most fulfilled, happy, and alive? Consider the empowering emotion you felt in Step 5 and the meaningful value from Step 6. Write your purpose as a single sentence.
Step 8 — Create emotional alignment & self-mastery.
Answer this final section ONLY after you have completed the above questions.
- What has this process taught you about yourself that you didn’t know before?
- How can you apply what you’ve learned immediately in your life?
- The smallest, easiest action is like tipping over the first domino which hits the next domino, causing a chain of ‘pre-programmed’ events to follow. What is the Simplest, Smallest Action you can take that will help you to implement what you’ve learned?
- What is a trigger you can create to remind yourself of the empowering emotional state and value that you want to experience?
A final question to connect with humanity
If there was only one person (or a community/volunteer organization) you are grateful for in 2021, who is it? How can you honour them?
Let me know your biggest insight from doing this process in the comments. May your 2022 be filled with happiness, contentment, and more freedom.