I’m a big fan of end-of-year reflection. And new year goal setting. In fact, in past years I’ve even released a Life by Design workbook—a 50+ page document containing years and years of experimenting with different ways to “design” my best life.
The 2019-20 holiday season marked the first year in many that I didn’t release the workbook. Why? Because I didn’t even complete the workbook myself.
And there’s no big, juicy reason as to why.
To be honest, it didn’t even occur to me to do an end-of-year review. Which, in hindsight, was startling, considering what a huge part of my life it’s been in the past. I credit that end-of-year process with so much: starting a book, writing a book, finishing a book, and then doing it over and over again, 30+ times. I’m not sure I would have this career, this life, this happiness without it.
That I simply forgot this year is a real head-scratcher to me!
Though I suspect the reason is rather simple and unglamorous: Anthony and I were preparing for being on the road for a month-long road trip in December. In the midst of figuring out how many pairs of underwear to bring vs. how much laundry I wanted to do on the road, which Christmas gifts to pack into the rental car vs. which to mail, overthinking how much dog food to pack for Bailey, and so on.
Sitting down and getting deep with myself just wasn’t on the radar.
Thus, no formal annual review for the first time in … a decade?
But … surprise! Turns out 8+ hour drive days are really good for refection, and once the trip got underway, I did find myself thinking about where I am, where I’ve been, where I’m going.
Here are some of my realizations …
Key learnings from 2019
It can wait. There’s nothing quite like going mostly “off-the-grid” for a month and deleting the email app from my phone (and muting Messages) for a month to provide perspective on just how little in life is truly urgent.
This too shall pass. That Big Thing you’re stressing over? It’s next month/year’s old news.
That which makes me different is also what makes me happy.
I can be creative or I can be easily-accessible—for me, the two are antithetical.
What went well in 2019
I released my first self-published book: The Prenup. It was an adventure. I’d do it again.
I shuttered my dormant Twitter account in September, and it felt really good to clear that vestigial (to me), ill-fitting platform from my peripheral vision.
Two of my books were recognized in Oprah Magazine. I say this nonchalantly, but truly, it was really cool.
I made huge progress in my Pinterest strategy, resulting in hundreds of thousands of website visits.
After an “oops” move to a not-right apartment in August, we moved into what feels like our “forever” (or at least a really long time) apartment in September.
I embraced minimalism, eradicating both extraneous belongings and bad vibes.
Visiting Paris. I don’t usually enjoy travel, so I was surprised how much I loved that city!
I feel like I’ve really settled into my brand/voice.
What could have gone better in 2019
I didn’t take great care of myself. Mentally/emotionally, I feel amazing. Physically? My clothes are tight.
I chased people-pleasing instead of peace more than I’d have liked.
My newsletter game was a hot mess, even though at the beginning of the year, I’d set an intention for that to be a major focus.
I said “sure” to a bunch of stuff because other (more successful) authors were doing it and because people around me told me I should, not because it felt like me.
After years of not even owning a television, I watched way too much TV in 2019, and my brain feels really mushy.
Redesign my daily routine.
Protect my privacy and peace.
Own my brand.
Action over reaction.
Pivot when necessary.
You’ll notice there are not a lot of specifics listed, and that’s intentional. I’m just not feeling the need or desire to set hard and fast goals this year. Instead I want to take it moment by moment, building a routine that’s designed to give me a clear head, and then use that clear head to figure out what’s next with clarity and purpose, and hopefully, a bit of class.
Lastly, because it’s always been one of my favorite rituals, and one I made time for, even without the full reflection process I normally do: my word of the year. These theme words pivotal for me when I start to lose all those “motivated vibes” in, oh, say, the second week of January. When I need to remember the sense of purpose I had in late December/early January, I find a single word is more impactful than an overwhelming list of goals. And so …
having a composed and self-assured manner
Cheers to that, and to you. Thanks for reading.