This is part of a series on how I do my annual review. In this piece, I will share some new additions to my annual reflection process.
The Habit of Noticing
Notice what you notice. — Verlyn Klinkenborg
Author Verlyn Klinkenborg says that the skill of writing is the skill of noticing. The same skill is essential in creating a stand-up comedy set. And it is a crucial habit to develop to deepen your self-awareness.
What we notice in the world around us is a reflection of something that is within us. Often, it reflects our shadow self, a part of ourselves that we don’t acknowledge. At a minimum, it tells us where we invested our energy.
Here are three things I’m adding to my annual review process that help me cultivate the habit of “noticing.”
(1) Events that Captured My Attention
I am a prolific journaler. When something grabs hold of me, I’ll often journal through it until I get to the root of why it captured my attention and seized my energy.
Also, we often don’t realize how much the energy of what consumes our attention impacts us. If you felt like you had a “bad year,” maybe it was because you spent too much time scrolling through Instagram or reading the news.
Paying attention to the things that seized my attention gives me insight into myself. What are the events that pulled my focus and energy? What about those events captivated me, enraged me, stoked my compassion and empathy?
Whether it’s world events, industry events, or events in my personal or work life, I invested focus and energy in these moments. If I spent the time and energy to journal about something, it’s worth noting what that was and what I discovered about myself in the process.
This is a treasure trove of wisdom about the self.
One pattern that I’ve seen in five years of recording daily “magic moment” is that often my magic moments involve discoveries. I love discovering a new product, book, class, concept. Whether it’s new only to me or really new, I love the thrill of expanding my mind around something different.
It’s easy to lose track of time; years tend to blend together. It would be great to be able to look back see what I discovered and when.
Also, sometimes we discover something and think “this is life-changing.” When I look back, I’ll be able to see if that held up.
What types of things did you discover last year? Consider the following categories to get you started thinking about this:
- New Fitness activities
- Restaurants in your neighborhood
- Events and conferences
- Concepts, mental models or frames
- A new shortcut or path in your city
- A new aspect of your identity, your likes or dislikes
(3) Connections and Relationships
Our environment has a significant impact on our energy, focus, and motivation. And a big part of our environment is the people we spend time with. It’s a helpful practice to make note of how we feel before, during, and after interactions with the people in our lives.
During one program I took, I noticed that every week before the group call I would be in a good mood, looking forward to the call. But after the call I would be in a bad mood. The energy of the call left me feeling down.
Many people stay in relationships past their ending time because they either don’t see or don’t acknowledge the energetic costs of those relationships.
It helps to notice what you notice.
What Do You Notice?
Consider what you notice throughout the year and how you can add it to your reflection ritual. Which of these resonate with you?