It’s easy to get overwhelmed at this time of year. The culture has conditioned us that we need to jump out of the starting blocks on January 1 with a plan in hand, ready to go. And if you’re not quite there yet, you might feel “behind.” You are in exactly the right place.
Over the weekend, I participated in an Annual Review workshop led by my friend Tiago Forte and Taylor Pearson, another productivity blogger in my sphere of consciousness. I also began the process of visioning for my year as part of the Feminine Wisdom Way program led by Christine Arylo, one of my feminine wisdom mentors.
Unlearning Old Patterns
It used to be unthinkable for me to carve out time for this type of activity; not just “planning,” but the process of reflecting on the past and considering what I want to create in the year to come. It hardly seems productive.
In full transparency, I felt a little bit behind as I showed up for these gatherings.
My final week of the year was consumed by the logistics of moving and day-to-day survival. I moved twice in the final week of the year. When you’re just trying to survive, it’s hard to create the perspective you need to think of the big picture.
Although I facilitated my own year-end reflection process for a group in mid-December, I haven’t yet completed my personal year-end reflection process.
I found myself quickly getting caught up in that old patterning of feeling “not ready.” I heard faint echoes of that voice in my head that said,
It’s already a week into January. I should have had this all figured out by now. I need to start DOING things and making progress.
I’m slowly learning to tune out that voice and to accept where I am in my process. I’m realizing that the most productive thing we can do is actually a process of undoing this rigid conditioning that we must be in a certain place by a certain time.
Unlearning and undoing is a slow process. So I found myself feeling a bit anxious about taking the time to gather with other people instead of “doing the things I needed to do.”
My anxiety was quickly laid to rest. In both gatherings, there was an emphasis on the importance of taking the time and creating the space for this reflection and planning, of consciously choosing where we want to go before we step on the gas.
Creating space to gather with both groups reminded me that there are other people who are choosing to live with greater intention and clarity. It reminded me that I am in exactly the right place, that I’m in the right timing — my timing.
Equally as important, I learned some new approaches that I will be incorporating into my own reflection and planning process.
Living the Way of Nature
Four years ago, I took to heart the advice my grandpa gave me to take my cues from nature. One important lesson I’ve learned is that nature doesn’t abide by hard deadlines. The way of nature is to weave things through.
As much as I may sometimes feel “behind,” I know that I’ve been consciously weaving through since last year.
There are aspects to this calendar year that I started to put in place in the fall, before most people were thinking about this coming year: programs I’ve committed to participating in, business currently in the pipeline, commitments to certain projects — a website overhaul, new offerings.
My process of reflecting and gathering ideas is continual; I’ve made it a part of my daily practice and pause monthly to assess where I am. I’ve learned (and it’s a daily practice to remember) that I cannot implement everything at once. Part of the process is to listen and feel into what is being called from me at this time.
Reflection and planning weave together. The past informs the present and future. For me, January is a month for reflecting and expanding, then narrowing down my focus to determine what I’m going to seed for the next quarter and into the summer.
The Heart of Productivity
Productivity is not just about “getting things done,” but about doing the right things that will most effectively advance me toward what I desire.
Very few people take time to consider this. Instead, they get wrapped up in all the “things to do,” as they blindly chase “happiness” and wonder why they’re not happy.
Doesn’t it make sense to ensure that you’re heading in the right direction before you put the car into high gear and step on the gas?
You Are Exactly in the Right Place
If, like me, you’re feeling a little behind in your process, remember that the best way to get perspective on something is to be outside of it. This week, we are enough removed from the year of 2018 to have the perspective of distance while still being close enough to see it clearly.
You are in the perfect place to pause and look back at the year that just ended.
Rather than get caught up in the feeling that you have to start now, give yourself the space to determine what it is you truly desire. Before you simply move your goals and projects from one year to the next, it helps to consider whether those goals and projects are still relevant to you.
Reflecting on the past year and distilling what you learned — not just what you accomplished — is the best way to begin planning this coming year.
Slow down. There is no race. Pull what you need to pull from last year and let what you learned inform where you are going. You may just find that happiness is in the path, not at the end point.
You’re not too late.
You Are Not Alone
Over the coming weeks, I will be sharing more tips for how to engage in this process. I’ll also be pulling back the curtain to share some of the components of my process, and what I’m pulling out from last year.
I’ll be doing this as a way for me to cement what I’m seeing and learning by sharing it, and as an offering to help guide you through all stages of conscious reflection and planning for the year.
When we engage in this process in community, we all benefit. If you have questions or insights along the way, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to post in the comments, where everyone can benefit from it, or send them to me directly: hello (at) mymeadowreport (dot) com.
We’re in this together.