Do you ever create a plan, or set intentions or make resolutions and then nothing happens? You find all sorts of tasks to do instead of what you committed to, or you find excuses to start tomorrow. That’s happened to me more often than I want to admit.
And when this happens, I just stop doing the things that I know make my life better. I stop recording my gratitude or my wins. I miss walking outside or squeeze in the minimum. I spend too much time reacting and not enough time doing what is on the top of my list.
A while back I took a stay at home retreat to write about just this problem. I was feeling flat, not productive, spinning. I wanted to spend time looking at why. I wrote about times I was able to stick to my plan and times I utterly failed and everything in between. I wanted to know why I was sometimes on fire with my goals – feeling alive and energized while working hard, and why sometimes I felt so stuck that I couldn’t get one thing on my list finished.
I discovered what was missing was me.
What I mean, is when I let others’ ideas of what I should do or how I should do it influence me too strongly, I was less likely to be engaged with my plan or goal. But when I was clear that the plan or goal or resolution mattered to me, there was joy and energy in doing even the hard or boring stuff.
So now I sit down every 90 days and do a check in to make sure what I am doing and planning to do matters to me and why.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t tasks I don’t love or struggle doing, but knowing why I want the project to happen or why I want to achieve a goal helps keep me excited and on track.
And sometimes big things can and do get in the way and I still struggle. Like house projects that continue to morph into something bigger and more complicated than we expected. My parents’ health issues. Corona virus affecting my kids travel plans … Things like these have definitely affected my plans for starting a new course and wrapping up a new website (two big projects I can’t wait to share with you).
We all experience this from time to time. And sometimes those patches of getting away from what we want or love stretch out until we find ourselves disconnected from our values and what we truly want. A 90-day check in can help you get back on track.
How to Do a 90-Day Check-in
When I do a 90-day check-in, I revisit my values, goals, and vision.
Get clear on Values
While my values have stayed pretty consistent throughout the last decade, I continue to get clarity on what they are and what they mean. Also, sometimes your values shift in priority at different times of your life. Recognizing which values are rising to the top in a particular season helps you navigate life, focusing on what is most important to you.
Try this exercise:
- Get the core values list and choose 8–10 values from the list that appeal to you. Don’t overthink this.
- Next to each core value, write an “I believe” sentence. For example, if the core value is humor, you might write, “I believe humor can bring lightness and ease in challenging situations and make every day more enjoyable.”
- Choose 3 core values that speak to you most right now.
- Dig a little deeper into one of your top core values by journaling on one or more of these questions:
– When is a time I acted based on this value?
– When is a time I was out of alignment with this value?
– What decisions have I made based on this value?
You can repeat step three for the rest of your top 3 values or your whole list if you choose.
Review your goals (or set a direction)
Think about the goals you had when you started the year. What were you hoping to experience or accomplish this year? What long-term goals are you working toward now? Write down those goals. Not sure what your goals are, or goals feel daunting? Try setting a direction, something to aim for.
Do you still want those things, are you on the right path? If not, this is a great time to redefine what you do want. That might mean tweaking the direction you were headed or it might mean a complete change of path.
What steps have you already taken to move toward your goals or keep you on track with your direction? What can you do to move forward in the next 90 days? Write it down. Then write down one small step you will take in the next week to move toward your goals.
Reconnect with your vision
Beyond specific goals, what is your big vision for your life? How do you want to feel every day? How do you want to show up in the world? What are the bigger picture or longer term things you want to work toward?
Take some time to journal on any or all of these questions:
- What does your ideal day look like? How can you honor that each day?
- What one change do you most want to make in your life right now?
- What do you most want out of this season?
- What makes you feel alive, energized and authentic?
- Where would you like to be/what would you like your life to look like one year from today?
- What do you dream of doing with this one precious life?
What is the biggest takeaway you have from this process? How can you make time for more of what you want and love in your life? Designing a life you love means making choices, sometimes hard ones. It can mean making a change, working steadily toward a goal, but it can also mean working in just a little more of what you love—scheduling a time to connect with a friend each month, starting your day with a walk outside instead of scrolling on your phone, saying thank you a little more regularly.
Your 90-day check-in is a reminder. If you’ve gotten off track or even forgotten where you were headed, this sets you straight. But it’s also a time to recommit to your goals or choose to pivot. Either way, it’s a time to make choices that move you in the right direction.
Writing and reflecting on your story helps you get clear on goals and dreams … and how to handle pivot points and change. You may be surprised by how much you know about dealing with decisions and change. Whether you’re at a pivot point right now or not, change will come. Why not dust off the tools you have to deal with it?
Join me for Write into Joy on March 29. I’ll guide you through journaling and reflection activities that will help you gain clarity into your own strengths and tools.
P.S. We’ll go deeper into this process in my new class starting in April. If you want more clarity and a way to figure out what’s missing — and how to get back on track — you’ll want to join me. Get on the list to get all the details as soon as they are ready!