End of Year Goal Setting Retreat

For the last eight years, I have been doing an annual goal setting trip at the end of the year.  Since I moved to Scottsdale, AZ almost three years ago to be with Monica (my wife), I have been going to serene Sedona every December for one full weekend.  I typically arrive at my retreat early on a Friday morning and spend almost all day journaling about my year in review (ie. the previous full year).  I take some time off in the early afternoon to workout, catch some time in the steam room and then get a relaxing massage to calm my mind.

After a nice dinner alone with my journal and pen, I spend the remainder of Friday night writing whatever comes to mind.  I call this “free flow brain dumping.” Getting thoughts out of my head and into my journal.  Alot of this is reflecting on the previous year, thinking about my current life situation and also starting to think ahead to the next year upcoming.

On Saturday morning of my retreat, I wake up and do something physical (jog, take a walk in the rocks of Sedona, or do some Yoga) to get the blood flowing. I spend nearly all day on Saturday strictly focusing on the upcoming year. I write down the areas of life (I call “Pillars”) that are most important to me and then begin to sketch out my specific, measurable goals that I seek to attain. It is a long, tiresome day and so by dinner time, I am pretty mentally drained. As such, I am ready for a nice glass of wine and some relaxation time by the Winter fire pit at the resort I stay at each year.

I sit by the fire and just let my mind wonder about all of the gratitude I have in my life at that moment.  I think about my family.  I think about the challenges that I faced in the previous year. I think about my deeper purposes in life.  I think about my wife and the goals that we share together facing the upcoming year. It is not uncommon to shed a couple tears of joy and some tears of sadness too.  All in all, that Saturday night is meant to be relaxing and reflecting.

When I wake up on Sunday morning, I round out some final touches to my goals. I typically take some pictures to anchor in the trip, take a nice walk and head back home so I can type up all of the things I created on this trip.  The typed up version of my goals will ultimately become my “Life Plan” for the upcoming year.

I wanted to share this powerful process with all of you because I know so many people that “intend” on doing this trip each year but never get around to it. There is NO excuse NOT to do this trip. It’s all about time management and making the effort each year.  I am excited to share this trip with my wife for the second year in a row in Sedona on December 13-16, 2007. I am confident some magical things will come from this trip, like always.

 Schedule the date for yourself NOW and quit making excuses!