Episode 37: Birthday Review

Join me this week as I share the exact review process I use on my birthday and half-birthday to reflect, review, and powerfully plan for the next six months.

You’ll learn:

  • Five step Birthday Review process
  • Why we aim at something (to begin moving towards something, gain feedback and wisdom, incorporate it, pivot, keep going)
  • The tool I use to bridge goals I set and how to make them real

Episode links:

Link to Take Aim Workshop

If you want to tap into your one-in-eight-billions perspective + creative contribution BEFORE your creative making sessions, click here to download my free Intuitive Creation Pre-Making Ritual.

If you enjoy listening, please subscribe, rate and review, and forward this episode to a friend who would benefit from it too.

Let’s become a generation of creative women who are examples for the people in our lives of what it looks like to prioritize our work (AND recognize our impact).

x, Jen

Full episode transcript below:

Welcome to today's episode, Birthday Review. 

I celebrated my birthday this past weekend and I have a practice of reflecting on the past six months on my birthday and on my half birthday. As I was reflecting over the weekend, I noticed that what I set six months ago, and what actually happened are not the same. And they're not meant to be the same. 

I think of this birthday review process as reviewing the past, for me it's six months, you could do it yearly, you could do it quarterly, you could do it every six months.  For me, I look at it as reviewing the past six months, and then starting to gather my aims, what I'm gonna be aiming at over the next six months. When I say aim, I think of it as like this target that I'm shooting at. 

The truth is that we never know how things are going to shake out. We don't know where life is gonna take us. We don't know what's gonna happen. We don't know what opportunities might come our way. 

The point is not to set goals that you know you're going to achieve with a hundred percent accuracy and nothing will change and nothing will be different.  I think that would actually be kind of boring if you think about it. I know it sounds great cause you're like, 'oh, I know I'm gonna do this and it's gonna be great and I'm gonna kill it'. But to me that sounds a little boring. Like if we just know it's going to unfold exactly how we think it will, I don't know I get it. But also it doesn't sound as interesting to me as it used to. Maybe is how I would say that. 

The point is to aim at something and begin moving towards it. Get feedback, gain wisdom from what you experience, incorporate it, pivot, and keep going. That's like the life cycle of creating anything. 

So today I wanna share with you my five step review process that I do on my birthday and on my half birthday. I wanna share this with you so that you can adopt a reflection process. Maybe it's the one I share with you, maybe you take what I share and you tweak it a little bit. 

But I think it's really powerful to write down, specifically like handwriting, what we experience over a period of time, whatever period of time you might choose. And it's cool to have that recorded too, to be able to look back on it. I really enjoyed looking back on six months ago and seeing what I was thinking about, all the things I did not know, and getting to be with that previous version of myself and also with the version I am today and all of the things I've learned since then. And then setting my intentions and my aims for the next six months. 

I wanna say here that the reason why I do six months is I've experimented with a lot of different things. I also set goals at the beginning of the year. This is kind of a check-in process, and it just happens to be that I was born in April, so it's kind of like a one quarter in, and then I set goals in October.  I set yearly goals too. But for this process specifically, I really like six months.  Because I feel like I have enough information to have an idea of what I'm aiming at, and for me, 12 months, for this process specifically, it just feels like I usually don't know quite enough. 

And I've done this in the past, I will just start like lobbing things on my list. I'm like, yeah, I'll try that. I don't feel as connected to it. So six months for me is a really good amount of time. You should experiment with it though and find what feels really supportive for you. 

 📍  Okay, so here's how to do a birthday review that again, you can do however frequently you want. 

The first step is to review. I like to write down 10 wins or accomplishments. You can write anywhere from three to 10, depending on how deep you wanna take this.  And if you want to plot this out, that for me is about four pages in a small pocket sized moleskine .  

 Questions to support you in this review: what did you try, what are you proud of? What personal growth feels like a big win for you? I love that question. What are internal wins, external wins? How did you take care of yourself?  And I would recommend checking your calendar and your journals  to help you remember what you did, because it's pretty crazy how much we forget, at least it is for me. And then when I, I keep track of stuff on a digital calendar, and of course I write in journals, so when I scan through all of that, I'm like, oh yeah, look at all these things I did in the past six months. It's so neat to reflect on the winding path that I'm on, that we're all on, and the ways that we see it coming and the ways that we don't see it coming. That was step one. 

So these next two steps are newer additions to this process, but I like acknowledging them, and I like that it's more well-rounded. So number two is while you're writing your review, I want you to record any hard stuff that comes up and write it in a separate list. So for me, I wrote this on one page in a pocket sized moleskine, and just answer the question, what feels hard? I would recommend not dwelling in the hard stuff and the hard parts,  but giving airtime to the parts of you that are having, or have been having a hard time. Hear what they have to say, hold space for them like you would one of your closest friends. We just wanna get it out of your head. 

For me, when I was doing this, and I've experienced some hard things in the past six months, I just kind of kept ruminating on them as I was thinking through my wins, like, yeah, I'm really excited about these wins and accomplishments, but there's been some hard parts. So I decided to just write those down. And I like that process because life is all of the things. It's not just the positives. 

I do tend to orient myself more towards the positives and the possibilities and the potentials, but I think a well-rounded human experience includes the hard parts and we don't wanna leave those behind. So I would recommend recording those if they're coming up for you, if it's feeling like  there's a presence there of hard things, write them down too. Write them on a separate list though, under what feels hard. 

Step number three. This is also while going through your review of these 10 things that you've accomplished, or the 10 wins that you've had over the past six months, also keep a running list of what you're excited about and what you're thinking about, what's coming up. For me, I wrote this over two pages in a pocket sized moleskine. The point of writing down what you're excited about or what you're thinking about or what's coming up, to me, is to lay those easter eggs. So that future you, when you come back to reflect on this in whatever period of time, you get to revisit these things that you're thinking about, these seeds that are just starting to sprout, or maybe make sense to you. And that just feels so fun, to get to be part of that process. Giving voice to these things, giving a little bit of air time to them, to what you know about them right now. Just recording them, as they are, and then in the future you get to come back and look at them and be like, wow, this actually ended up becoming this thing. Or it took me here. Or it was the beginning of this something. And how fun that you have a record of that. 

And it's also to balance out, right? We're looking at what are your wins? What feels hard? What are you excited about? We're giving airtime to probably all of the things that you're thinking about, whether consciously or they're kind of going around in your head and you're just aware of them. We're trying to record them on paper, get them out of your head. 

 Step number four is to reflect, and I have three questions for you here. First question, what are your top three feelings as you look at your accomplishments?  Question number two, what is the best thing that you've done? I usually name a few things because I can't narrow it down, but I try to keep it to around three best things that I've done. And then question number four is, is there anything that you wanna do differently? Anything that you're learning, anything that you're noticing about yourself or you're thinking about something that might feel more supportive to you, anything like that. 

And then step number five is to powerfully plan. The question here is, what are your top three priorities for the next six months, or whatever period of time you're working with here? And then beside each priority, once you've determined them, I want you to decide or record how you're going to measure them. Basically, the question here is, how will you know if you've done them?  

Okay, there you have it. There's my birthday and half birthday review. And  just to debrief on how I think about this and again, how I plotted out in a notebook. If you're wanting to hand write this, which I definitely recommend you hand write it. 

Step number one is review. You're gonna write down 10 things, 10 wins or accomplishments. You can write less if you want to. For me, that took four pages in a moleskine  notebook, a pocket sized. While I was writing my wins, I also, on separate pages wrote down what feels hard or what felt hard, anything that was coming up that just felt like it needed to be expressed, and just I wanted to get it out of my head. I took one page to do that, so I plotted out my four pages. Then I did one page for what feels hard, and then the third question is, what are you excited about? What are you thinking about? What's coming up? I did two pages for that. So this is just some guidance on if you're wanting to plot this out ahead of time, you can totally do it in real time, obviously I did. And then question number four are reflection questions. Going to cultivate and excavate some wisdom. And then question number five is you're powerfully planning for the next period of time. 

I also wanna say I love going through this process around my birthday and my half birthday because it feels like a fun way to habit  stack this review. Because I tend to feel reflective around that time anyway. So if there are times of year that you tend to feel reflective, then experiment with this process then. 

This is just a starting point for you and the absolute best thing you can do is experiment with it and figure out the process that works for you and feels really supportive for you. 

Okay, and I wanna talk about a next logical step  that you might be wondering about, which is how to quote accomplish the three priorities that you chose.  At the beginning of this year I created a self-guided workshop to answer this exact question, cause I've heard it a lot. I think, creative people, we love to set goals, we love to review, we love to plan and make future plans and it can be difficult to package that in a way that still feels supportive and still has  the way that we wanna feel, like the emotions that we wanna feel driving the planning process. 

So if you want support on how to aim at things that actually matter to you, those three priorities that you set, check out my Take Aim workshop. It teaches you how to discover aims that actually matter to you- they're specific and relevant to you and all of your uniqueness.  It's a very compassionate and kind way of approaching goals, which I know I have needed to rehabilitate, and that was definitely part of what I tried to create. 

I'm gonna share what someone said after they went through the taking workshop so you can get a sense of it. They said, "it was so lovely to have the guidance.  I've never gone this deep on goal setting. I always just thought I wrote them down and that's it. The different exercises, the ways in, the questions about how I'll actually do it was the best kind of repetition. I uncovered what I really want." so beautiful. It just means so much to me that someone had that experience. 

I do also wanna say that it's very affordable. It's $22, and when you purchase it, you can book a discounted one-on-one call with me for accountability and to support you in clarifying your aims. And so that I can tell you, you are totally capable of creating them, which you are. I already know that. The one-to-one calls have been really fun too because I've been able to meet people that I haven't met, and you get a taste of what it's like to work with someone in a coaching capacity if you're curious at all. And of course, there's built in accountability, so you have to complete the workshop before we meet, and  I set it up in a way that there's built in accountability and support for you so that  our call can be fun and of great service to you. 

That's what I have for you today. I am so glad that you're here and that we get to walk our paths together. See you next time. Same time, same place. Bye for now.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.