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The power of writing things down is amazing.

It’s amazing that a few simple questions about my highlights and patterns for the year shocked the hell out of me.

I shouldn’t be surprised though since I require my clients to write down goals and questions during therapy sessions.

I downloaded a worksheet from Danielle LaPorte’s newsletter that focused on this year’s retrospective. I listed my highlights and fulfilling events for the year and the patterns I saw in this list. What is obvious and what was omitted?

Without going into too much detail I can say that I had a blessed highlight reel. The majority of events that fulfilled me included trips with my husband, being with friends and taking adventures.

So what’s shocking about that?

Here are the lessons I learned:

1. The amount of time I spend each day at work or online didn’t really matter. My highlight reel didn’t include binge watching shows, being at work, attending work conferences, personal growth, live tweets or number of Instagram followers.

2. I didn’t include local events or gatherings. Hanging out with family, barbecues, watching sports or visiting the Strip didn’t make the list. What’s funny is that these aren’t in my camera roll either. I started cleaning out my camera roll in my phone and it’s 50% doggie pictures and 50% pictures of vacations. (I attribute this to being more mindful and tech free when hanging out with family)

3. The people that matter the most (parents, my pups, family) and the support you rely on may be forgotten in our highlight reel. A highlight reel is different than a gratitude list. But it makes me wonder…..do those lists ever look the same?

4. If you had a business-related WIN, this may end up on your highlight reel. But what if you didn’t? Would you still give yourself credit for being a trailblazer? Are you still an exceptional employee without the award? I didn’t win any awards this year so does this mean I had a terrible business year?

5. What happens if this year was full of loss? If you lost your home, job or loved one do you still count the fun vacation you took?

Let’s circle back to my comment about time spent online, I have to be present on social media to keep the blog alive but in a macro perspective it seems like wasted time. Being aware of social issues is important to me but how can I trim out some of that time online if it’s not “evolving” me in the long run?

Mind you, I have to work to survive and to afford vacations (which obviously are my priority) but it’s sad and interesting to look at the effect of time.

Danielle says that her micro perspective is: “We deserve to be lit up by what we do in the world. It’s your life.”

My wish for you for 2018 is to find ways to thrive. Find what lights you up, even if it's something that you do only a few times a year Click To Tweet. I’m blessed that my yearly retrospect didn’t include survival. I’ve had those years of struggle and I work harder now to prepare for that (hello 2008). Yet the everyday struggle can feel like surviving and not THRIVING. Commutes, emails, grouchy colleagues or clients, no breaks in your schedule and being broke, can damage our spirit.

No matter what we do to survive, make sure there’s room to thrive, to have joy, to reward yourself, to share your joys with loved ones and get a change of scenery every now and then.

Check out Danielle LaPorte’s highly recommended planner. Get 2018 off on the right foot by documenting your WINS!