This is the first in our weekly "Ask Robina" advice column. Read more about the column...
2022 was a tough year for me personally and professionally, with so much change. I found myself feeling overwhelmed many days and didn’t know where to focus my attention to meet my goals. I am feeling optimistic about the new year, but I really need to nail down a way to prioritize what I should be working on to reach my goals and stop spinning my wheels on things that aren’t really going to make an impact in my life and move the needle. I’ve heard a ton about “mindfulness” and how it can help us stay focused on what really matters, but I don’t think I fully understand what it means and how to get started. Help!
-In search of clarity and balance"
Thank you for entrusting me with something so intimate and powerful. It takes courage to share and ask for help, and I would like to start by offering a hug and multiple high-fives. You did it. It may have been messy at times, exciting at others, tiring, confusing, and happy, but you did it. Imagine a new pilot landing a plane for the first time. It isn’t always the smoothest landing, but you are safely on the ground. Cheers to that.
To address your questions to the best of my ability, I believe it is best to answer in two separate posts. In this post, we'll focus on reflection.
By your own admission, you made it through a tough year that was full of change and overwhelm, personally and professionally. Having those emotions in one area of your life can be a challenge, but experiencing them in both can feel like there is little room to breathe. Yet here we are in a new year and lots of breathing room.
So, let's breathe.
Close your eyes and take three deep breaths. Quiet or loud makes no difference but make them as deep as you can.
When you open your eyes, say aloud, “I am okay. I am safe.”. Repeat this as many times as you need.
Why? Because it can calm the nervous system. When we believe we are in danger but physically safe, the mind and body create the same physical reactions as if in real physical danger. This reaction can happen unconsciously and with everyday tasks, like setting goals.
TIP: At any point during your goal-setting process, if you find yourself blocked, be open to the idea that you might be having an unconscious reaction. To test it out, follow the steps above: breathe and repeat I am okay. I am safe.
Now that you are relaxed and in a calm place, it's time to reflect.
You said you were optimistic for the new year but desired a way to focus on the goals that matter. Before we move on to streamlining your goal process, I would like to invite you to create space for the prior year. In my experience, there is much to be learned by going back and looking at what I am moving on from. This can be done with a job, relationship, car, dream, home, etc...
Let’s review 2022 together ~Did you set any goals or intentions at the beginning of 2022? If so, go back and review your list;
- Put a star 🌟 next to all the ones you accomplished.
- Put a smiley face 😊 next to the ones you didn’t.
Create a list of experiences from 2022
This can be made easier if you use your calendar to look back on the activities of your year. Social media posts are another great place to look. You will likely be surprised by all the things you did do. For example, in 2021, I went through my electronic calendar and noted how many presentations I did, new client relationships, course/program investments I made in myself and business, retreats, vacations, mini-trips, birthday/anniversaries, and whatever else felt special to me.
Remember, the list doesn’t have to be all work-related or just the wins. Listing the projects that didn’t go anywhere or as far as you wanted is still worth noting. The end of a relationship or a passing of a loved one is also worthy of your list if you so choose.
Finally, share your list and schedule time to celebrate with an accountability partner, friend, or coach. If you aren't comfortable or are nervous about sharing it with someone, you can send it to me 😊.
TIP: Spouses or partners aren’t always the best choice for this part of the exercise. It doesn’t mean they don’t love, support, and cheer for you. They can be so close to the action that they forget how freaking amazing all the things are that you do, and you need someone that will not just cheer for you but get you to cheer for yourself.
Reflect on your experiences
How does it feel when you look at your list?
What are your thoughts?
Write down your answers before you move on. [Be aware of distractions or things that delay you from accomplishing this goal. If it is easier, break the process into 5-minute increments.]
The next step is very important. If there is only one thing you can do, this would be the one I recommend.
Write a letter to the 2022 version of you and share your feelings about all she/he experienced. This can be a;
- Thank you letter
- Goodbye letter
- Congratulations letter
- Letter of advice about what you might do differently
There are no rules.
That’s it. Ha! I make it sound so easy. That is why I am separating this into two posts. Prioritizing goals and creating clarity is important, which is why I wanted to provide you with an opportunity to do a little house cleaning first. Return next week, and we will explore aligned goals and those pesky spinning wheels.If you want to get a jump start on next week, here is a snapshot of where we will start.
- Make a list of your goals (weekly, quarterly, or annually – your dreams, your choice).
- Go ahead and get it all out on paper. Column style or randomly putting words on paper… just get them out there.
- If you feel it, then celebrate it and give it a place on the page.
Until we meet again ….. Be kind to yourself.
I have no doubt you accomplished so much more than you realized and handled it better than you give yourself credit for. Others are likely impressed by your abilities and inspired by you.
Robina is a Soul, Self, Wealth Doula, Certified Money Coach, and retired CPA. She works with leaders, companies, and business owners to align goals with reality and transform their relationship with money. If you want to know more about Robina, you can visit her at www.robinabennion.com.
Do you have questions about business, navigating a career, how to create work/life alignment, money types, and mindset, goal setting, mid-life career changes, or curious about mindfulness? Soul, Self, Wealth, Relationships, and Spirituality too? Yes. Business is more than employees, technology, and deadlines. If it is important to you and you want to find a way to incorporate it into your business/career or are curious about what that looks like. Submit your question to Ask Robina HERE!