I like to spend December and early January to reflect on my year and plan for an amazing 2023.
Here are a few ideas.
Revisit your life areas
Your life consists of many different areas. Which ones are you paying attention to, and which ones have you let slip away? End-of-year can be a good reminder to look over them and ask yourself:
- In the past year, what went well in this area?
- In the past year, what didn't go so well in this area?
- In the next year, what would I like to do in this area?
We can divide our personal lives into the following eight domains:
- Finances and Wealth
- Friends and Family
- Fun, Recreation, and Entertainment
- Health and Fitness
- Love Life
- Personal/Spiritual Development
- Physical/Online Environment
When reviewing your life domains, consider your three basic psychological needs and how they're met in each area.
Autonomy is your ability to be self-directed in an area, to choose your goals and feel that you can influence your situation.
Competence is linked to your skills and abilites in an area, how confident you feel that you can achieve projects, handle challenges, and bounce back from setbacks. This may also be connected to your belief in yourself and your own abilities (so-called self-efficacy) and your resilience.
Relatedness is the human need for connection and belonging, it refers to the quality of your relationships, and whether you feel seen and understood in those relationships.
All three needs are important for your overall health and wellbeing, but they can also guide your aspirations, goals, and projects in each domain.
A tip for setting your goals next year: Does this goal let me be self-directed? Can I learn something new from it? And does it help me nourish my relationships?
Note: Don't beat yourself up if you notice that you've ignored an important area. This is what the review is for: to find opportunities for change!
For example, when I was close to burnout, I spent way too much time on my Career/Business at the expense of my Health and Fitness. This annual review helped me see that more clearly, and take the steps I needed to be where I am today. I didn't do it on my own, but I got help from a psychologist and I had friends and family to support my transition.
(If you're in a similar situation, don't do it by yourself. Please seek professional help. You deserve it.)
No one's life is perfect, though. Of course, there'll be periods when we spend more time in any given area (hello new parents!). But it's important to give yourself an overview each year, so you can make more conscious decisions about where you're spending your time and efforts. Future you will thank you for it.
Bring out a pen and paper, and brainstorm different answers to these questions:
- What do I want to have?
- What do I want to give?
- What do I want to be?
- What do I want to do?
- Where do I want to go?
Spend 2 minutes on each question, and write everything that comes to mind. There are no “right” or wrong answers here, so do yourself a favour and stop censoring yourself.
After your brainstorm, pick one thing from each question that you want to explore further.
So, Future You will have one thing they want to have, one thing they want to give, one thing they want to be, and one thing they want to do in 2023. You'll also have one place you'd like to go.
This is one my favourite exercises to do each year. Let me know what you come up with.
My 3 Words for 2023
If you’ve followed my writing for any length of time, you know that I’m a big fan of choosing 3 words for the year. It’s a practice I picked up from Chris Brogan more than 10 years ago.
I reflect on my themes, values, and potential goals for 2023, and try to choose my words accordingly. I’ve written a lot about this topic on the blog, you can read more about it here, if you’re interested: My 3 Words for 2022
Over to (Future) You
How do you spend the end-of-year to reflect and plan? What have been some highlights for you in 2022? Share your goals, dreams, and hopes for 2023. It's my favourite time of year, and I love to hear from you. I respond to everyone.
Have a great end-of-year! Look after yourself, spend time with your loved ones, and here's to an amazing 2023!
I'll be taking a break from this newsletter, but future me will be back with My 3 Words at the start of next year.
Until then, take care!
PS. If you want to write a letter to your future self, you can do that here: https://www.futureme.org/
PPS. This changes everything.