Last year, as I was thinking about how I would remember everything that happened throughout the year to do an end-of-year wrap up, I realized I probably needed some way to check in periodically to make notes and have some common touch points so I would be able to see my own growth and progression (or maybe my habits and ruts)?
I decided I would give myself a monthly interview and ask myself the same questions each month, so at the end of the year, I’d have a collection of answers to those questions from different times throughout the year.
At first, I thought I was just going to answer these questions on the 1st of each month and then at the end of year I would compare and compile, but as the year progressed, I noticed myself really looking forward to my own monthly interview. The routine evolved as the year progressed too and as I learned more about when the best time is for me to reflect. I also added a few additional questions part way through.
Today, I want to share the questions from this exercise and really encourage you to start a monthly interview with yourself – either with these questions, or your own, or a combination. Then, I want to give you some highlights of what I did, and learned and realized as I re-read all of my answers.
I can’t even remember exactly how I came up with these specific questions for my monthly interview, but it must have been inspired because I really came to love and rely on the questions each month as it came time for me to do the interview.
How to Interview Yourself Monthly
I printed the questions on a half sheet of paper and kept them in a pocket in my planner. Then, on the day of the interview, usually during my beloved morning routine, I would ask myself the questions. Sometimes I had to hold myself back from checking what I had written the month before as I was writing because I wanted the answers to be completely authentic and not influenced by what had happened last month. But after I finished the interview, I did frequently go back and compare- but I never looked back further than 1 or 2 months, so this past week was especially interesting as I looked at the whole year at once.
The questions in the interview are:
How’s it going right now?
What major thing/s happened in the last month?
What do you think about those?
What lessons have you learned?
What have you been listening to lately?
What song (or other media) is important lately?
In what ways did you get closer to the life you’re creating for yourself?
What’s not getting you closer?
What are you looking forward to next month?
What Stood Out
Some of the initial things that stood out to me as I reviewed: I love being able to see myself from a distance. As I was reading, here in December of 2020, what I had done and thought about and learned in the early part of the year (knowing now, with distance what was in store, but not knowing at the time) it was like reading a character in a novel, but she’s me. It’s so interesting to have an outsider’s perspective about myself.
I can see now, in the present, what I was thinking and feeling then, without as much attachment as I had at the time of writing. Seeing yourself without emotional attachment is such a valuable skill.
For this reason alone, I’m suggesting that you experiment with something like this, just to see if you get the same experience of seeing yourself, with distance.
Major Trends and Arcs in 2020
As I was reading through all of my answers in chronological order, I thought I could kind of see the starts of some major trends or arcs that happened to me in my own 2020. Again, it was so interesting to read my own writing, knowing how some things ended up- but not having known at the time.
I was surprised to notice a few common threads throughout most of the interviews. If you would have asked me yesterday how much time I spent on my own continuing education or listening to my own content, I would probably say “sometimes, but not much.” The truth is I mentioned how much I was focusing on my own training in every single interview and I frequently talked about listening to my own podcast episodes or re-watching my own workshops. I literally learned from myself in 2020.
Another common thread that I was surprised to see was how much learning, trying and experimenting I did this past year. If you would have asked me, yesterday, how much I focused on learning, trying and experimenting, I would have probably said, here and there – but it was so consistent, month after month, and I don’t think I would have realized that if I hadn’t kept track and then came back and checked. I would have thought “I tried some things out.” but I wouldn’t be giving myself the credit I’m giving myself now: that I can see that month after month, I tried new things, I learned new things, I figured things out. I tried things out. It actually inspires me now as I look back.
And my favorite common thread that I wouldn’t have guessed was present was how many times I mentioned throughout the entire year how much I love and value coaching- both being coached and coaching others. Just seeing it so frequently re-confirms for me that I’m in the right place and doing the right thing at this time in my life.
Was 2020 Super Amazing?
It may sound like my 2020 was super amazing, and it was, but I also went through some dips and frustrations and pain. I noticed as I was reviewing, my current energy and mood changed as I time-traveled through the year again. It was interesting to see that I started out feeling excited, proud and productive and as the year progressed, many times my mood on the day of the interview was: “not great,” “grumpy” and “slow and unmotivated.” I noticed my own resistance coming up for me so profoundly in August and that resistance has been a persistent passenger throughout the rest of the year. I guess it’s a good thing I decided to study and get to know it. I had so many opportunities.
But, for the most part, despite the craziness of 2020, I am so grateful for my experiences, my lessons and my growth.
Since a lot of Year in Review lists include books, movies and music, I’ll tell you about some of those, then I’ll tell you a few ways I found myself getting closer to the life I’m creating for myself in 2020 (and also how I’m not) and I’ll end with some of the most important lessons I’ve learned (or been reminded of) this past year.
Music I Loved in 2020
Blinding Lights by The Weeknd – I loved that song so much! It just reminded me so much of when I was a teenager.
I also revisited an actual song from my teenage years: Cosa Mas Bella Que Tu by Eros Ramizotti – in 2020, I listened to it in Spanish, since for a while, every time I was in the car or hanging out on my patio I was playing 90s Mexican Pop – but when I first listened to the song, back in the actual 90s, I heard it in Italian. The Spanish version still brought back so many memories – and I wonder if, years from now, I’ll differentiate the Summer of 2020 from the Summer of 96 based on what language I hear the song in.
One of my musical highlights of 2020 was Taylor Swift’s entire Folklore album. I listened to it over and over and it really reminded me of when I was a teenager and would listen to my CDs on repeat. I also think many of her songs have a 90s vibe to them. She also released another 2020 album, Evermore, but I haven’t started listening to that yet.
Movies and TV Shows in 2020
Knives Out (I know it came out last year, I didn’t see it until this year).
My favorite Novels in 2020
I didn’t start reading fiction again until the about 2nd half of the year – but then I made up for lost time. My favorite novels I read in 2020 were:
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Pretty Things by Janelle Brown
Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand
The Life I’m Creating
2020 definitely got me closer to the life I’m creating for myself. Especially with this podcast. I’ve made so many wonderful new connections because of it and it’s given me a reason to put myself out there and meet new people- even while social distancing and during lockdown.
One of my biggest surprises of 2020 was how much I enjoyed (and excelled at) weight loss coaching. My coaching certification includes a weight loss coaching component, and prior to offering it as part of my Applied Certification track, I wasn’t really that interested in it. But I ended up really loving helping people manage their weight by managing their mind. I learned so much about why we eat (especially when we’re not hungry) and I learned about managing urges.
In 2020, I was also excited to see progress in my first year of business. Looking back now, with perspective, I see that I did try so many things and experiment, and probably floundered. I was frequently frustrated – maybe it was the immaturity of a less than 1-year old business and maybe (hopefully), I’m more settled now. I’m excited to see what I do in 2021 now that I have my first year behind me.
Part of that includes my pride in myself that I kept going despite the “drag” I felt in the middle of the year. I described it to myself and my friends as “wading through a swamp.” – not fun. But, instructional. Now I know, if I ever encounter a mental swamp again (which I’m sure I will) I’ll just do what I did in 2020 – keep going through.
What Kept Me From That Life?
Part of my floundering had to do with not finding my routine or groove yet. Did I expect to have that figured out within my first year? A crazy, unprecedented, unpredictable year? Yeah, I probably did expect that. And maybe I’m still hoping and working towards finding the timing and balance that will work for me (or maybe I’ll never find it). Either way.. I’ll keep learning and experimenting.
A few other opportunities for learning that came up for me during 2020 were noticing my own hesitation and doubt about myself in my business.
I also noticed I got away from being willing to feel my feelings and allow my urges and that really showed up (and is still showing up for me) with all the dread I created for myself about renovating and moving to a new house. I’ve expended so much energy resisting this situation and I think it’s led to a dip in my own confidence too. Maybe I’ll share more on that next year after it’s all settled down.
What Did I Look Forward to in 2020?
- Finding that rhythm I mentioned for my own coaching practice and this podcast creation.
- Networking and meeting so many amazing people.
- Showing up more in my business by hosting Meetups, workshops and a facebook group (and producing this podcast!)
I noticed myself looking forward to finding my own coach- that just underscores my own belief in the value of coaching so much.
I also realized how much I looked forward to the cooler weather after the summer so I could start walking in the park as my morning commute again (because otherwise I usually didn’t make time to listen to podcasts and audio books).
And, of course, each month, I looked forward to my monthly interview and throughout the whole year I was so curiously looking forward to compiling it all into this review now, for you and for myself.
Most Important Lessons
Finally, here are the most important lessons I learned or was reminded of in 2020. I’m not going to give the context or descriptive stories about them today- I think they kind of stand on their own – but if you’re curious about them and want to hear more details or explanation, let me know – maybe it will become its own post in 2021.
- Anything can be managed with mind management (your weight, your career, your business growth, relationships – anything!)
- People don’t pay attention to steps and directions – so keep it SIMPLE!
- Delaying something to avoid feeling a negative emotion just prolongs and amplifies that negative emotion.
- I can intentionally change my beliefs about myself and what is possible.
- I can question everything I believe in about myself and what’s “supposed” to happen.
- I can decide to believe and be certain of whatever I want.
- I can do whatever I decide to do.
- Inspired action works.
- I’m set for life.
- Everything can be imperfect and still be fine.
- Tasks expand to fill the time you give them.
- I only have a strong “reaction” to something if I have strong thoughts about it. (This is similar to the “You spot it, you got it” phenomenon).
- I thought I could plan for and control what would happen – nope! No control. No certainty!
- I really can watch my thoughts and realize “oh, I’m thinking that…”
- I am continuously learning to surrender, to accept reality, without resistance.
What about YOUR 2020?
Those are just a few highlights from what I’ve been up to in 2020. Now I’m curious about where and how our paths were parallel?
Did you listen to or watch or read any of the same things? Have you experienced any of the same lessons I did?
What stood out to you in 2020? How did you see resistance in 2020?
Will you consider a monthly interview for yourself in 2021?
I want to hear all about it.
Wrapping Up Season 1
I have a few more things to share before I wrap up season 1.
I’m still going after my goal of 55 reviews on Apple Podcasts by the end of the year. Have you checked out the reviews that have been left so far – for inspiration? Release your Resistance on Apple Podcasts
Thank YOU if you’ve already left me a review on Apple Podcasts- I so. So. so appreciate your support and encouragement!
Remember, I want to get to 55 reviews, so if you haven’t left one yet, here’s how you can do it:
1. Click here to get into Apple Podcasts and on to my show (you may need to click the button that says Listen on Apple Podcasts or login to Apple) https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/release-your-resistance/id1490355269
2. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and tap on “Write a Review”.
3. If you’re not already signed into iTunes, you will be asked to enter your iTunes password to login.
4. Tap the stars to leave a rating.
5. Enter a review title text and content to leave a review. Tap Send.
I am taking a short break now that we’re at the end of this season and this year. But don’t worry, I will be back -after the break- in the new year – so make sure you’re on my email list so you’ll be notified when Season 2 starts.
Thanks for reading! Thanks for spending every Friday of 2020 with me. I think about you a lot. I’m so glad you found me. I can’t wait to continue our journey together. Enjoy the rest of 2020 and Happy New Year!
Do you want to get the Monthly Interview questions mentioned in this post? It’s included in the companion workbook, along with many of the exercises and worksheets that go along with each of the other posts on this site – so no matter when you joined me, and no matter what you’re currently working on, if you download the companion workbook you should be able to follow along with most of the worksheets and exercises that I mention. Go get that pdf right now.