Around this time of year, we tend to become extremely busy with all of the holiday plans and events we have going on and while it can be all fun and amazing, it can also put us in a state of feeling overwhelmed, depleted, and spread too thin. We end up pushing through the season – surviving, not thriving – and then we’re into the New Year without having taken the time to really focus on all that we’ve achieved in the past year.
But taking the time to reflect on the last year is invaluable and you can do it for every area of your life. A year end reflection is an amazing tool to position yourself to have an increased awareness of what this past 12 months was really like so you can be more mindful, purposeful, and deliberate in the choices you make and the life that you live for the upcoming year.
In this episode, I’m sharing why a year end reflection is one of the most important things we can do on a consistent yearly basis and how to tell the story of the last year in a way that really serves you. I’m showing you how to reflect meaningfully and how to purposefully get into the habit of telling your own results in a way that feels good for you.
Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life Podcast where it’s all about designing your life on your terms and now your host, Natalie Bacon.
Hey there. Welcome to the podcast. Early happy holidays if you’re listening to this in real time. It is December, and that means the holidays are here. I know that the holidays can bring about so much of an opportunity to do this work. So I am grateful that you are here for it.
I wanted to let you know that I have a new and special offer that I want to tell you about called the Grow You Holiday Annual Pass. This is perfect for gifting someone Grow You. So if you have a sister, a sister-in-law, a best friend. I even know someone who was gifted Grow You from one of her colleagues at work. A lot of husbands I remember last year got the annual pass for their wives for this past year. So if you want to hint to your husband, you can do that as well.
What makes this the perfect gift is that it’s something that she is going to remember. It’s something that she’s really going to use. It’s something that she really wants. If you think back to what you got last year, I know if you’re anything like me I have no idea. I do remember all of the work that I’ve done on myself because it’s been so transformational.
I just added a new inner work course inside Grow You, so it is really the perfect time to gift this. What makes this holiday annual pass so fun and so perfect is that I am including an inner work bundle as a holiday bonus, which I’ve never done before. It will only be for this holiday season. It includes some amazing tools that you can only get if you get this holiday annual pass, the yearlong pass.
It includes the book Self-Care for the Soul that I wrote, which is a complete guide to how to take better care for yourself so that you can take better care of those around you. There’s 85 pages of content and worksheets that serve as a personal growth guide, really for the woman who does it all. There’s a second eBook called Dream Year that is about how to set a goal for this next year and make it one that you actually achieve in a meaningful way so that you’re not burned out at all.
The third part of this inner work bundle is a download called 50 Thoughts Mindful Moms Teach Their Kids. This is a quick start guide to teaching kids mindfulness through 50 powerful thoughts.
There’s a calming your mind worksheet that’s a daily worksheet that she can use to reduce anxiety, worry, overwhelm, whatever that emotion is that she’s feeling during the day. This worksheet is really amazing because it shows you how to find the root cause of why you’re feeling that way and process it really quickly. So it’s something that I love in my own life, and I wanted to include it for this bundle.
Lastly there is an eBook filled with over 365 journal prompts on becoming more mindful. So if she gets this every single day she can choose one journal prompt, and it covers all the main life topics. Mindset, emotions, time management, self-love, motherhood, goal setting, and on and on. She can choose just one journal prompt. Do it every single morning if she wants. She doesn’t have to. It’s a way for her to do this inner work and make it so doable, so easy, but also so transformational.
It’s a one year pass. You can give it as a gift, and you can find out all of the details over at nataliebacon.com/gift. I’m really excited for this because I know it’s going to help so many women out there, which is always my mission.
When she gets started with that, she will jump right in in December’s content, which is the year end reflection which is what we’re talking about on the podcast today. So all month I am teaching and coaching and helping Grow You members with how to reflect meaningfully on the last year in the way that’s going to serve you for next year and beyond.
The reason that I came up with this topic was because last year at about this time I remember thinking I want to do a year end reflection, and I don’t really have a framework for that. It was interesting because I was thinking, “Well, where would I want to get a framework?” I thought from my life coach. Then I thought oh, I’m the life coach. I want to create this for my community. So that’s what I did this year. It’s work that I’m doing as well this month. We’re all doing it. I think it’s some of the most important work we can do on a consistent yearly basis.
The reason that it’s so important is because we naturally have a tendency to get so busy, particularly this time of year. If you are someone who celebrates the holidays a lot like I know most people are, it’s especially full with our families and events and planning and cooking and buying and gifting and wrapping and all the get together.
All of it can be really fun and amazing and yet it can also put us into a state of taking care of everyone else. We end up feeling depleted if we’re not doing this work. So you’ll be spread too thin and feeling overwhelmed.
On top of that, there is this tendency at least from what I’ve seen to think thoughts like I shouldn’t feel this way. I’m so lucky and fortunate to be where I am in my life. My family is so lucky. I should be feeling so grateful. I have nothing to complain about. So not only do we feel spread too thin, but we then shame ourselves and beat ourselves up for feeling these negative emotions.
So the result is that we’re pretty harsh on ourselves and we end up just pushing through the season surviving it, not necessarily thriving. Then it’s over. Then comes New Years. Out of nowhere we choose some random New Year’s resolution. We think that this year is going to be different. We switch to focusing on taking care of ourselves in January.
From what I’ve seen and speaking from experience as well, this typically can last about four to six weeks. By late February, early March we are thinking about spring break and traveling and onto the next thing. So that best year ever is something that we put off. We don’t make real changes.
So this is a cycle that I think ends up being repeated year after year. We tend to think that okay when things slow down, when the kids are in a different season of life, when I have a different job, when I don’t work, when fill in the blank happens. Then I will focus on my goals. Then I will make the change that I want to change. We basically put off the change to some point in the future when we think it will be an easier time.
I think that the solution to stopping this pattern is to get out ahead of it and do a year end reflection. So you can position yourself to have increased awareness of what this past 12 months was like so that next year you can be more mindful and purposeful and deliberate in the choices you make and in the life that you live for this upcoming year.
Doing a year end reflection really works because it forces you to look at the stories that your brain is telling on default. You can do this for every area of your life. For family, friends, kids, work, health, money, fill in the blank. Any area over the last 12 months, and you’re going to want to bring awareness to how you showed up, who are you being on a daily basis? What results did you create? How did you feel most of the time? What were some of the big wins? Also what lessons did you learn?
So on default your brain won’t do this. Your brain wants to move fast and be really efficient and focus on circumstances and move on to the next thing. When it does that, it actually takes with it the patterns that it had from the last year.
So if you are in the habit of feeling overwhelm, even if you are changing your life in the next year, your brain will repeat that pattern of overwhelm because those neural pathways are so strong. Your brain thinks it’s so much easier to repeat the same thoughts and have the same feelings. So it takes slowing down and doing this intentional inner work to really change it.
So let’s say that one of the top emotions you experienced in the last year was overwhelm. You think on default that it’s because you moved, because your husband started a new job, and because your kids started at a new school. You may have the thought next year won’t be so overwhelming because you won’t have those changes. This isn’t true because overwhelm isn’t something created from your circumstances. It’s always created from your mind.
So you have to do the inner work to explore what you’re thinking about your life that is creating overwhelm. Because even though it’s true that your husband might not get another job and your kids won’t start another school and you won’t move in this next year, you will have other circumstances that your brain will interpret as overwhelming if your brain is in the habit of creating overwhelm. Because your brain loves to repeat the past, and that includes feelings.
So it actually takes more mindfulness and even some sort of awkwardness of trying on these new feelings and new thoughts to really make the change that you want to make from the inside out.
So this is the work that we are doing this month inside Grow You. I am teaching several different components to doing a year end reflection. Today I want to just talk with you about one of those so that you can start to see what this is really like, and you can also learn more about Grow You at nataliebacon.com/coaching if you are interested in signing up for yourself.
What we are going to go into today is telling your results in the best possible way. So think about the last 12 months. What results did you create? You are always creating results. Even if you weigh the exact same today as you weighed 12 months ago, that result of weighing the same is a new result because you’re always changing. So you may have eaten the same things and worked out at the same amount in the same way, but what you want to do is bring attention to, become aware of what your results are. Then tell those results in a way that serves you best.
So, for example, if you had some sort of big break in your career, the natural tendency I think is to kind of downplay that and even focus on what was hard about it or how it took so long and there were failures and lessons learned. I think we do this as an effort to kind of be polite or not brag. I think it’s actually pretty harmful to our own self-confidence because then we don’t own the fact that we are always creating our results.
So you don’t have to go around telling everyone how amazing your results are, although you can. I’m a big fan of bragging. I think we all should brag a little bit more. What I want you to do here is to do this work for yourself.
So if you had a big break in your career or as a mom or in whatever area of your life, in your health, tell that story in the best possible way. Totally brag on yourself. If you’re someone who’s not used to giving yourself praise and credit and really being proud of yourself, this is going to feel awkward and uncomfortable. I am speaking from experience.
I think this is something that I still struggle with a little bit, and I’m getting better at it. I know it’s something I struggle with still because I still like a little bit of that external validation, and that’s a cue to me that I’m not giving myself my own self-validation. So it’s an ongoing practice that I’m getting better at, but I think this year-end reflection is such an amazing time to do it.
So when I look at my business revenue. I think business owners do this a lot. We can either tell the results in a way of yeah, “Of course. This is what I did. This is what I always do. It’s not that big of a deal.”
Or we can tell it in a way that’s, “This is pretty freaking amazing. I helped thousands of women this year, created a very successful multiple six figure business, repositioned it in a way that is so aligned with my own growth and with the growth of my clients and my students. My mission is to get this work out to as many moms as possible.” When I say that and when I think about it, I feel so alive and empowered.
So when you tell the story of your results, notice how you feel. Oftentimes we may go to the place of dismissing our results, but I think there’s actually this subtle negativity that comes about when we talk about our results that’s very easy to miss. It’s kind of like, “Oh yeah, I did that thing, but it wasn’t really that big of a deal.” How does that feel when you say that? When I say that, it doesn’t feel very good.
Instead when I say, “Yeah, I did this thing. That’s pretty freaking awesome. I feel proud of myself and that feels good. Personally I want to talk to myself in this way even more and that’s why I’m doing this work as well this month.”
So you can do this for every area of your life. It doesn’t have to be a big win or a big accomplishment. It can be how did you show up as a mom in the last year? What’s the best possible way you could tell that story?
So we don’t want to go to dismissing it, but we also don’t want to go to toxic positivity if that’s not what you truly believe. So I don’t want you to say, “Oh yes, I was the most amazing mom. Everything was perfect.” If you don’t believe that, right. Most moms don’t believe that. What’s a truthful way for you to tell the story of your results in the best possible way?
Maybe it’s something like, “This last 12 months was hard, but it was also amazing. I grew as a mom. I learned so much. Half the time I do think that I’m really amazing at it and doing it right, and then the other half the time I’m thinking I’m messing it all up. That’s okay.” Try on the thoughts and see how they feel.
So for me when I say that I feel really energized and good about it because I have this belief that I don’t want to aim to be the best mom I can be because I think I’ll always fall short. Instead I want to be that t-shirt that says “World’s Okayest Mom” where half the time I’m amazing at it and the other half the time I’m messing it up. I’m totally fine with that. That has come from doing so much of this inner work ahead of time, ahead of becoming a mom. So that’s my mindset for it.
If you try on these thoughts and they feel terrible for you, you don’t want to tell that story. You want to tell the story of the last year in a way that really serves you. So for some of you, it might mean telling the story that truly the last 12 months was incredible and better than you expected.
For others of you, there were a lot of challenges. Those might have been big and more obvious like moving or different jobs or kids or anything like that. Or they might be less obvious. They might be something that you’re going through internally. It might be that on the outside everything looks fine, but internally it was a really hard year for you emotionally.
The way that you would tell those results in the best possible light is I’m so glad that I had the last 12 months as my experience because this has set me up so well to do the inner work. This is my homework in life, and it is hard, but I can do hard things.
Do you see how that feels so much more empowering and honest than, “This was a horrible year. I can’t believe this happened.” All of those thoughts, which would feel disempowering. Then on the flipside, thinking, “Oh this was the best year ever,” and just kind of ignoring and dismissing the truth and how you experience it.
So take a look at your results in all of the most meaningful life categories for you. In Grow You I teach 10. So you can look those up in this month’s workbook and check in with yourself. What are your results? They can be small, like I learned how to cook a few new meals. That’s pretty awesome because that’s going to continue to be in my weekly dinner menu for this next year. I’m going to add a few more.
Really get in the habit of telling your own results in the way that feels good and that makes you the hero of your life. This exercise is one of the ways that you can set yourself up for success next year. For the rest of the curriculum and the workbook and the coaching and to join us as we do our annual year end reflection.
You can head on over to nataliebacon.com/coaching to join so that I can help you make sure that you are on the right track creating a year that is better than you’ve ever imagined possible for you. Happy holidays my friend. I will talk with you next week. Take care.
If you loved this podcast, you’re going to love Grow You. Grow You is my virtual life coaching program where I take everything on the podcast to the next level. I invite you to join our amazing community of women and moms and deepen your own personal development. Head on over to nataliebacon.com/coaching to learn more.
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