As 2019 comes to a close, isn't it a good idea to reflect on the past year? Check-in to see what worked and what didn't? Yes, but . . . .
I could never quite grasp the fullness of this practice. At the end of the year I never put my finger on exactly what happened. How did I spend my time? What changes did I actually make? Did I show up authentically and if so, what did I do to make that happen? I didn’t have anything tangible to reflect upon. My judging mind would recall all the things I DIDN’T do (still haven't learned Spanish), and important things were now mere memories and forgotten (I know I visited my family, but I can't pinpoint specific magical moments). And memories can become distorted. Was I recalling my year accurately? Or was I being judgmental and letting my ego distort the truth?
In 2019, I started tracking my activities : monitoring how I showed up in my life physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Just like a road map will guide you from point A to point B, tracking is a powerful tool that helps you map out where you presently are in life to where you want to be in 3 months, 6 months, 1 year or more. It will also represent a clear map of how you show up in your own life and will serve as a reminder that "Hey - I really enjoyed that outdoor meditation practice more than I thought I did! Maybe I should move forward on that idea."
That's what tracking did for me. It showed me how I show up in my own life.
I always purchase a new planner for the year, but I've NEVER used it to actually track myself. I've only used it to remind myself of the never-ending things to do. It was a chore, not a helper. In 2019, however, I bought my journal / calendar (Passion Planner is THE BEST), and I used different colored highlighters and stickers to make the practice of "tracking" fun, but I also did it so that I could see with one glance my progress or tendencies. Orange marked exercise; blue marked when I spoke with my mother; pink was time spent with friends; green was continuing education, purple was "date night." Let me tell you, if I perused my calendar at the end of the month and didn't see an abundance of these colors, I knew I had some work to do. What happened?
To make tracking even more beneficial, it requires a weekly reflection (at least monthly) and also the opportunity to set your intentions for the month
ahead. Passion Planner gives a beautiful opportunity to explore this fully.
I found tracking to be super beneficial to me in five ways:
1. It helped me establish a baseline of where I currently am (I started off a bit lazy, to be honest).
2. It allowed me to track “magical moments” or "happiness markers" like the rainbow over the ocean, that cardinal that hung out in my backyard, the hundreds
of dragonflies this past summer, or how much I missed my friend, Wendy.
3. The simple act of recording an activity gave me motivation to continue. Yes! Keep going!
4. It kept me accountable because I was paying attention.
5. And last, but certainly not least, IT REMINDED ME OF MY PROGRESS.
I’ve got my new 2020 calendar and an array of stickers and highlighters to kick off the new year. In 2020 I want to spend more time in nature, so I’ll
be tracking that in addition to the things I currently track. To get me off on the right foot, I’ve signed up for some hiking adventures through
Monmouth County Park Service. They are already in my calendar waiting to be highlighted (once the activity is complete). I invite you to track your
new year in 2020 along with me. You never know what might show up!