Every year, since I was maybe ten, I have taken some time at the beginning of the new year to reflect on where I am in life and where I want to go. Granted, when I was ten, that simply involved listing out my favorite things at that point in time (ie. favorite color, food, activities, etc.) and reporting on some demographic logistics (for example, “I am ten, I have brown eyes and brown hair, I am five feet tall, etc.”).
Now that I’m older, that practice of cataloging the contents of my life has taken a slightly more gracious turn to include the practice of summoning gratitude for the many many blessing in my life.
This year, one of my favorite websites released a short guide about how to reflect on your year. I went through the exercises they recommended, and I wanted to share the results with you guys. Similar to last year’s gratitude journal, my hope is that it inspires you to reflect on your life in 2018 with joy and think about how to build upon your own success for an even better 2019.
Gratitude For Every Month in 2018
For my first task, the guide asked me to reflect on each month in 2018 and pull out at least one awesome thing that happened. I started by just trying to fill it in by memory, but once I got out my phone and started flipping through photos, I realized there were often far more than one awesome moment from each month in 2018.
Here’s my full list of awesome moments to be grateful for:
Started my new job at LinkedIn!
Fort Bragg with Kev; sunset at Sea Glass Beach
Tahoe trip with Kev and friends; got back on a snowboard for first time in 8 years and was decent!
Went to a very fun underground comedy show on a double date (plus Kev planned it, which was very cute)
Kev and I spent two weeks in Cambodia with a quick stop in South Korea for our big international vacation of the year
Went to Coachella for my 3rd time!
Planned a successful surprise party for Kev <3
Went to Boston for work; it was my first time there and I got to extend the trip to spend time with a BFF from college
Went to Chicago for work
Did a family trip to Lake Shasta
Got to plan an incredible team offsite in Calistoga
My grandpa got married again at age 75 <3
Went glamping for my birthday in Healdsburg; best birthday ever!
Tahoe for Fourth of July
Vegas for work; saw Bruno Mars!
Went to London for a team offsite
Family vacation / cruise to NOLA and the Caribbean
Camping trip to Orland Buttes
Kev surprised me with a Miquel concert!
Paso Robles weekend; joined a wine club & bathed in hot springs
My dad got married <3
Visited another BFF in LA
Mom visited SF for “Bring in Your Parents” Day at work; she was so proud of me working at such a great company
Did my first live webinar at work and crushed it
Got my full time offer at LinkedIn!
Spent New Years in Tahoe surrounded by friends
I hadn’t done this exercise before, and it was really powerful. Toward the end of 2018, there were multiple stressors piling up on one another (hadn’t secured a full time job yet, roommate moving out over the holidays and other general anxieties). So I somewhat felt like I ended the year on a stressed, and therefore sour, note.
But when I look back on my year through this month by month lens of one incredible moment / opportunity after another, there’s no other way that I can think about my life than with satisfaction and gratitude. We all have stress, but we don’t all get to travel the country / world for work or the incredible Bay Area with friends, family and their loved one.
What I’m Proud of in 2018
Here’s where things get familiar for me. Remember last year’s thankful journal, where I broke down all that I was grateful for in that year across a couple key areas of life? Well, here we go again:
Wrote and produced a full year of Blue Sky Mind content, ending the year with 4K unique visitors and ~30 subscribers!
Started investing more in my relationship with my two little brothers (it would be weird to say this if they read my blog but I’m 99% sure that they do not)
Took an intelligent risk to move from ad sales into content marketing at the company I most admired, but as a contractor. Regardless, it was the most fulfilling role I’ve ever held
And it translated into a full time job offer on an adjacent team!
Kevin and I went through a lot of ups and downs, but I’m proud of us for continuing to try to grow as a couple and not just give up when things got hard; I’m proud of the fact that we’re getting better at hard, but necessary, conversations and that we both do necessary introspection to be better when we come together.
In 2018, I traveled all over the Bay Area, the US and the world:
Tahoe, Healdsburg, Fort Bragg, Paso Robles, Monterey, Calistoga, Shasta, Orland Buttes
Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis, Vegas, New Orleans, LA
London, Cambodia, South Korea, Jamaica
Maintained a weight and appearance that I feel comfortable at and proud of, which is a crazy accomplishment, considering the BSM journey started with an outsize obsession with my physical appearance
Continued meditating for 10 minutes almost every day and going to yoga at Grace Cathedral every Tuesday
Started seeing a new therapist regularly
Regularly read and wrote about mindfulness for BSM
Finally became financially secure after struggling with money for 3 years living in the Bay Area
Secured a full time job with great benefits and stability
My Intentions for 2019
I wanted to take my annual reflection a step further this year and get really clear with myself about what I wanted out of 2019. For me, it’s less about setting hard goals and timelines and more about breathing consciously into a handful of growth and happiness-oriented intentions. Therefore…
In my personal life, I intend to:
Expand upon BSM’s first year of success by continuing to produce content that lights me up from the inside
Bring light and joy into my most important friendships; make sure those people know how much I love and appreciate them
Bring more expansive love and energy to the world in general
Finally start volunteering consistently, hopefully with the Braid Mission organization
In my professional life, I intend to:
Absolutely kill it at my new job, while cutting back on my hours and mental involvement outside of the office, so that I can feel a greater sense of work life balance (which enhances my ability to perform while in the office)
In my romantic life, I intend to:
Bring light, joy & energy into my relationship; this includes continuing to have difficult, loving conversations about what I need to be happy, but it demands that a selfless, loving headspace motivate each and every one of my actions
In my physical life, I intend to:
Stay committed to my 3x1 exercise plan of working out three days per week with one day each of yoga, cardio and weight lifting
Be able to attend a Barry’s class without fear & also kill it
Lower my resting heart rate to about 70 bpms (ie. putting the new Apple Watch to work)
In my spiritual life, I intend to:
Read one book every three months about spirituality
Continue going to therapy on a bi-weekly basis
Find a new dharma talk podcast that I can listen to on a regular basis
In my financial life, I intend to:
Save 20% of my earnings
Continue earning and spending responsibly
Set a legitimate limit on shopping every month and stick with it
2019’s Word is “Light”
To round out the exercise, I was asked to pick one word to represent my vision for 2019. I picked the word “light,” because it is what I want to bring to myself, my relationships, and the world. Light is free, expansive, and joyous to behold for most. It is weightless, unencumbered by heavy worries, doubts, and fears. I want that to be me in 2019. Unencumbered and delivering joy to the world.
What’s your word for 2019 and why? Share below in the comments :) And don’t forget to subscribe to Blue Sky Mind if this kind of self reflection is something you want delivered straight to your inbox on a monthly basis!