Let’s do a quick recap of last week’s post before getting into what actually happens at a Quarterly Personal Retreat…
WHO - You.
WHAT - Reflection & Future.
WHEN - Every 90 days for a minimum of 4-6 hours per retreat.
WHERE - Great Outdoors.
HOW - Start with a list.
WHY - Because you are important.
If you haven’t read last week’s post and started the “How” of this process, I recommend going back and doing so before diving into this post. But, if you’re like me, you’re probably like “yeah, yeah, whatever, just give me the info and I’ll figure it all out on the day of my retreat!”.
For sake of this blog post, we’ll assume you have your list of all the things that you have to do, should do, want to do, have to do, un-met goals, future goals, and answers to the following questions: What’s going well? What’s not going well? What’s important NOW? From that list you have identified a few themes… like I shared last week, some of the themes that came up for me were around how I was spending/filling my time, failing to complete minor tasks, needing more career exploration and personal development. Now, on to the fun part. If you’re in the 4-6 hour range of securing alone time for something like this, here’s a suggested schedule for your day.
Start: 8:00 AM
End: 2:00 PM
What you’ll need: journal/paper, some type of writing utensil, a way of keeping track of time
What you won’t need: your cellphone
8:00 - 8:30 AM
Enjoy your morning cup of coffee or tea. Use this opportunity to:
Embrace the peace and quiet.
Clear anything that is weighing heavy on your mind. Mentally write it on a piece of paper and put it on a shelf to come back to later.
Remind yourself that the reason you are doing this is because you love yourself and YOU ARE IMPORTANT!
8:30 - 9:50 AM
Take time to journal and reflect on the last 90 days. I recommend spending 10 minutes on the last 90 days in general, and then spend ten minutes on each of the 7 F’s (Faith, Family, Friends, Finances, Fun, Fitness and Future) and answer these questions: What happened? What didn’t happen? What was important? If you go back to the start of the last 90 days, are you in the place you thought you’d be?
9:50 - 10:00 AM
Take a break. Get up. Walk around. Stretch. It might not sound like hard work now, but you will be using an immense amount of mental energy during this time!
10:00 - 11:20 AM
This is time to define where you’d like to see yourself at the end of the upcoming 90 days. I recommend keeping the original list you made and the themes you identified close by so that you have something to refer to. When you took the time to make this list, you identified these for a reason. If “I want to be a scuba diver” didn’t come up originally, I would consider saving it for the next time around to see it still rings true later on.
During this time, it’s a similar exercise to reflecting on the past 90 days. You’ll spend 10 minutes identifying goals or activities you could do in general to resolve some of the themes you identified. For example, one of my themes was around time management. After my first Quarterly Personal Retreat, one of my goals was to secure my time in advance. I set a goal to spend every Saturday morning doing something outside for at least 1 hour. I called it my “weekend jumpstart” and had great success with it --- even during the month of December!
Start with 10 minutes on the next 90 days in general, and then spend ten minutes on each of the 7 F’s (Faith, Family, Friends, Finances, Fun, Fitness and Future) and answer these questions: What will happen? What won’t happen? What is important? At the end of the next 90 days, what does success look like? What will make me feel proud of myself?
11:20 - 12:00 PM
Time to refine! You will spend 5 minutes on your general category, and then 5 minutes on each of the 7 F’s. You will pick from your list and reflections from the previous activity the most important goal/activity (which will most likely be the scariest one). Use the majority of the 5 minutes to write one SMART or Mindful goal per category. Keep this as close to 5 minutes as possible - be ok with the words that come out. You don’t need a perfectly wordsmithed goal to move forward. “Do 5 pushups a day every day for the next 90 days” is just as good as “I will perform 5 military style pushups to the left of my bed at 6:03 AM every morning and repeat this every day throughout the remaining 90 day period”.
12:00 - 12:30 PM
This is the fun part. Take your seven 7 F goals and your one general goal and design a one-pager that lists out your goals. At the top of the page, include what day the 90 day starts, what day it ends, and choose a halfway date for reflection. You should also have the date of your next retreat and make sure it is booked on your calendar!
Keep this one pager in a place that allows you to reference it quickly, frequently and easily. I keep mine on a small 4” x 6” piece of paper in my planner.
12:30 - 2:00 PM
Ok, I’m going to fill you in on a really selfish secret...you can do all of the above in about 4 hours… which leaves you an hour and a half of nothing but ME time. The secret is… no one needs to know that!!! You already have the time booked, if for some reason you are doing this where others could be around (maybe you’re out on the deck and your roommate/husband/fiance/boyfriend/friend/dog/etc is in the kitchen), they don’t need to know you already finished your retreat “work”. Take this time to unapologetically revel and relish in YOU. Fill this time with something you don’t get to do very often. I usually fill it with either starting a new book (I find it hard to only be able to read before bed because I usually pass out after 5 minutes or I end up staying up way too late), or I fill it with some type of work out because there is no sense of the usual rat race. Most of my workouts are sandwiched by get home from work, let the dog out, go work out, have dinner, do something else, do another thing and BAM it’s time for bed.
I won’t tell you don’t.