Winding up the holidays is always as much of a joy as entering them. Part of that movement toward the end of the year is an essential annual exercise I learned in 2009 from the four women who wrote Reboot Your Life. It's similar to but different than making New Year's resolutions. It's called the circle exercise. I'm quoting from an earlier blog entry I wrote in 2011:
"One of the most interesting exercises is to set goals once a year that are achievable, and then take a look at the end of the year to see how you have done. You can read exactly how to undertake the "goals circle exercise" in the book written by the four Sabbatical Sisters -- Catherine Allen, Nancy Bearg, Rita Foley, and Jaye Smith -- titled Reboot Your Life: Energize Your Career & Life by Taking a Break available on Amazon. com.
This exercise is in the chapter titled "Living the Lifelong Sabbatical."
Make a circle and divide it into six to eight pie slices, which you then label with aspects of your life. I use six slices, and they are labeled health, creativity, books, financial, career, and personal.
The next step is to identify five goals for the new year in each category. This can take longer than one sitting; and indeed you'll find that some of the pie slices change from year to year because of projects you might undertake. Once you've completed this portion of the exercise, then pick out the goal in each category that is most important to you. Make a new circle with only a single goal in each slice, and keep it with you to remind yourself and review progress during the year.
All of the slices are designed to have equal weight so that you have begun to balance your time more evenly across these aspects of life. Those of you who have never made a circle and divided it evenly in a deliberate attempt to re-balance your life might want to give it a try. There's a certain lightness of spirit that comes from this exercise year after year. "
I completed most of my 2014 circles on an early morning walk at foggy Green Lake (photo above) on New Year's Day.