Fall: Time for a Personal Inventory

In the old days, summer and fall were a time dedicated for preparation for the upcoming winter. During the summer folks prepped for winter by working in their fields and gardens and conserving their produce for winter. In the months of September and October people conducted an inventory. They went through their barns, pantries, and cellars to note what they had and what they didn’t have – both for the animals on the farm and the people – in order to create a strategy for making it through winter without starving. They also did cleaning, mending, and reparations to prepare house, stable, outhouse, and barn for the sometimes very long, dark, and cold winter.

Autumn Spread

In 2016 we no longer need to make these kinds of preparations or perform these kinds of inventories. We have full cabinets, supermarkets, take-out, and everything in between. But since we live in the post-modern era where many of us work with knowledge and people and therefore use ourselves in a very different manner than in the industrial society – meaning that we use our intuition, intelligence, empathy, creativity, problem-solving abilities, and innovation to make a living. And therefore I think we can be in need of a personal inventory.

By personal inventory, I mean an internal inventory of where we are at, where we are heading, and what we will be bringing with us into the winter and the new year. We need to know the strengths and competencies that help us move towards our goals, but also be aware of the baggage and barriers that hold us back or limit us in reaching our goals.

I am a passionate advocate for starting and finishing the years in a strong, proactive, grateful, learning, and positive way. And as I was writing this post, I realized that – for me – making a fall inventory is an important part of the process of finishing 2016 strong.

How I made my personal inventory
When I was moving my Bullet Journal from my Leuchtturm1917 to The Happy Planner disc-bound system, I made a brain dump of all the spreads to move, the ones to leave out, and the ones I wished to add. Among those I wished to add, was a status report over my progress in my Top 10 Life goals. I found that it was important for me to get an overview of where I was ahead, where I was on schedule, and where I needed to do additional work, before 2016 turns into 2017. This year has gone by so fast for me, so I needed to do a review of where I was at – compared to where I had planned to be at the end of 2016 regarding my personal goals.

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Two Top 10 Life Spreads

The goal-assessment tool – I call my Top 10 Life – is a version of the Life-wheel I use in my job as a coach combined with elements of the Level 10 Life Hal Elrod presents in his book The Miracle Morning. First I start out by choosing 10 areas in my life that I wish to place an extra focus on during the next 12 months. For me those were:

1. Finances
2. Business A
3. Business B
4. Social Media
5. Family
6. Practical
7. Health
8. Planning
9. Personal Development
10. Hobbies.

Now here is where my version differs from Level 10 Life: I chose 10 goals to each area from the get go – no matter how I assess my overall satisfaction with the area. My tracker therefore had 10 boxes that needed to be checked of in order for an area to be done. I added this twist in order to map out how I could meet the challenges, I would be facing in 2016 head on.

If you wish a more detailed describing you can go to 3:40 in my video Tutorial for Bullet Journal: "Advanced Habit Tracker".

So, when I made my Top 10 Life in January, I put onto paper 100 goals – some big, some small – that I wished to reach during 2016. In July – prompted by the Plan With Me Challenge – I did a mid-year review. For me goals aren’t set in stone. I change during a year, my situation changes, therefore I need to be flexible regarding my goals. In July I made a new spread where I updated my goals: Some no longer were relevant to me, so they were replaced by others or deleted. Some needed some tweaking. So I tweaked. Some needed to be added. So I added. Some were accomplished, so they got checked of the list and I got to color in a box in my tracker. When I was done with my review, I felt re-focused and ready for the last half of 2016.

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October Front Page

While I was setting up my Bullet Journal in The Happy Planner system, decorating and planning for Halloween and fall, I found my thoughts wandering. New Year is getting close and as fast as time flies, it will be here before I know it. Since I strive to finish the year strong and with a clean desk policy regarding goals, I felt, I needed to go through my Top 10 Life again. To make sure I was still on track. I needed a status report. A personal inventory before winter.

So I made a status report over my Top 10 Life by doing the following:
1. I went through all my goals and noted those that were:
- Accomplished (x) (either because I achieved them or realized that they didn’t need to be done)
- No longer relevant (÷)
- A priority to get done before 2017 (↓)
- Going to be migrated to 2017 (→) due to lack of time, resources, research, necessity, and so on.
2. Then I made a spread in my Happy Planner Bullet Journal where I noted the goals I that wish to accomplish before 2017 and those that are going to be migrated to 2017.
3. Then I highlighted if the goal were marked Now or 2017.
4. The ones marked Now where transferred to a tracker at the bottom of the page titled To do before New Year.

I was surprised to see that several of my goals needed to be migrated to 2017. But I was positively surprised to note that it wasn’t because of my lack of trying, it was simply due to lack of resources. And the reasons for this were impossible for me to predict in January. So I migrate these goals with a clean conscious.
I was also happy to note that the ones that I wish to accomplish before New Year are doable. If I apply myself and tweak my focus a bit. So here are my next steps that I am following while setting up for next week:

  1. Formulating the first step towards obtaining the goal. Putting the first step into words is a crucial part of achieving goals – in order to simply get moving. You need to be very, very specific: What first action is needed?
  2. Creating a timeline or deadlines. I am going to be really busy rest of the year so I need to remind myself to make realistic deadlines and not be unrealistically optimistic about how much I can do in a day.
  3. Finally, it’s time to put in the work in order to actually do the actions, I planned.

Fall Inventory: Top 10 Life

Then: Goal transformed by sweat, blood, and tears into reality. Well maybe not blood, but certainly some sweat and tears. Let’s face it, making your goals into reality is hard work. So keep with it and if you lack motivation: Remind yourself why you started, and why this goal was important to you in the first place. (Remember: there is no shame in realizing that you have outgrown a goal. So if you no longer find a goal important; delete or tweak).

Now I have a complete overview of what I wish to do before and after New Year’s in order to achieve my current Top 10 Life. I do find it very interesting and giving to analyze the reasons behind why some goals still are left at the end of the year. Some are simply due to lack of time or money, but a few have been neglected because of procrastination or perfectionism – also known as: fear. Fear of failure, fear of pushing myself, fear of success, fear of learning new things, fear of challenging myself even more and moving even farther away from my comfort zones. These are such important – yet hard – reminders which I may have missed if I didn’t do my fall inventory.

Luckily, I have the rest of October, November, and December to accomplish these; that’s approximately 80 days. I can make that happen. I do have time to work with my fears. And I have time to honor my clean desk policy. I am so motivated now!

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Let Things Go

Realization: For me fall is a time for reflection, change, and letting go
Fall is such a beautiful, beautiful time of year. Especially in Denmark where we have the blessings of the changing seasons. Since the end of September, I have been drawn to quotes about fall on Pinterest. And – as I have shared with you before – I go where my intuition tells me to go. Pinning my way through quotes, I was interested to note that I felt a bit sad or melancholic. Why was I feeling like this?

The answer was staring me right in the face:

  • “Autumn is the season that teaches us that change can be beautiful”
  • “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant”
  • “Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go”.

I was reminded that even though I have come a long – LONG – way, I still need to let go of some things. And thanks to the process of doing my personal inventory and status report, I was reminded of one thing I need to let go: letting fear hold me back. I am working on this and have been for a while. Giving myself time to let go, to change, to plant new seeds, to move beyond fear.

The first step: I am dedicating time during the next couple of weeks to read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and Feel the fear and do it anyway by Susan Jeffers. I am determined to accomplish my last goals for 2016 and make myself even stronger and more productive in 2017.

And I am placing the following quote in a prime location in my bullet journal:

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall” (F. Scott Fitzgerald).

Thank you for visiting and take care, Kristine.