Welcome to the first edition of the Freedom Fridays podcast for 2023.
And it's Pete Clark. I'm the host of the Freedom Fridays podcast. And I thought I would start this year with a solo episode.
And I'm going to share with you a little bit of the process I've gone through to reflect on 2022. And what I've done to imagine and I guess, visualise what could be good about 2023, the process I've gone through.
And we know that there's a lot written about resolutions, and we know that the Fresh Start psychologically kicks in. And that is simply temporal landmarks that we often use to begin a new. Anecdotally, we all know that, you know, we've heard many times, we've probably all done it, I know I've done it. I'm going to start the exercise regime on Monday, I'm going to start the diet on Monday, Monday is often one of the most popular temporal landmarks. But for many, it could be a birthday or an anniversary, you know, January 1st, a new quarter, a new calendar, a new financial year, we know that it works in terms of getting us started. Whether we continue or not is perhaps a different story. Perhaps I'll cover this in a separate episode.
But I thought I would share with you the process that I've gone through. So you can pick up the bits and pieces that work for you. I've read and devoured and immerse myself in a number of these processes from a number of authors over the years, and I've kind of this year, put them into a version that I think fits more for me. And that would be my counsel, don't copy. You can if you want, but copy to the extent but make this a signature for you. Make it work for your circumstance, your aspirations, your ambition, where you're at in your life. That's probably, for me, I found that the most useful rather than essay copying everything I have copied some things. But rather than literally copy everything, I've taken bits that I think work for me, and I've applied them to what makes sense for me. That's my strong council for you.
So what I've done, and I picked this up a few years ago, my year, calendar year runs from January to December like most people's and whilst my financial year is July to June, I tend to do more reflecting on the calendar year I find that are better for me temporal landmark. And what I found years ago was I would be sprinting and almost crawling into December because the year got really busy. And that wasn't necessarily the right state to be visualising and imagining and dreaming what the following year would hold. So I tend to split it up. And I tend to use the end of the calendar year at some point in December, sometimes even in January. But certainly pre holiday pre me taking a break, I reflect on the year. And then I pause, I take a gap I take some holiday, I get re energised, refreshed, and then I do the visualisation or the imagining or the goal setting for the following year. So that's what I've done again this year.
And so in the reflection stage, as I was coming into the end of the year was a pretty busy year. things hadn't gone as well as I had remembered. It was a manic chaotic end to the year with kind of professional and business stuff going on and family stuff. And so my primacy and recency bias felt like 22 wasn't a great year. So I went through the reflection process. And there's three things that I did. Or four actually, three things that I did. One, I took the the advice from a sole buddy of mine, Colin Hiles, and I look through all my photographs. Now as any of you who follow me or have heard me speak, one of the habits that I developed at the beginning of the COVID pandemic was that I'd send my Mum a photograph every day. She lives in Edinburgh, so she was behind in timezone. So if I send, you know, mid morning, mid afternoon in Australia, where I'm based, she wakes up to it, and it's been a really lovely thing to do. And anyone I've told this story, thinks it's a great idea. So I hope many of you have continued or started to do that to send your loved ones, the ones that you care about a very simple photograph per day. Now because I've done that. I've got literally 1000s of photographs every year because I snap snap, snap snap, I take random pictures of random things, because my mom doesn't care. So I've got plenty photographs. to trawl through, and I tend to do them in months. So I'll go through January, February, March, all the way to the end of the year, just from and making a note of some of the events, some of the scenes some of the things that I've done throughout the year.
The second thing I'll do, because most of my work life is driven by my diary, appointments, facilitations, workshops, conferences, engagements, whatever it might be. That's a good way for me to remember the year. And so I've done that. So I looked at all my photographs, I looked at all my diary appointments.
The third thing I did was I took an insight from one of Tim Ferriss processes where he suggest you look through the entire year, I use my photographs on my diary to do this. And you make a list two columns, one headed positive, one headed negative. And you reflect on all the positive things that have happened, all the things that bring you joy, and pleasure and connection and all the things that are important to you. And all the other things that were negative, not necessarily events, because the play many of those throughout the year, but the ones that suck the joy out that are just a you dread when you think about them. And what was really interesting for me on my reflection, my primacy and recency bias, told me 22 wasn't a great year, in many, many ways. And yet, on reflection, when I looked at the photographs, and I looked through my diary, and I listed a column of positives and negatives, it wasn't that bad. In fact, there were significantly more positives than there were negatives. So that was an interesting reflection for me to bear in mind. You know, I've been immersed in this material for years. And I know the impact and importance of focusing on the positive. And yet my primacy and recency bias kicked in - and 2022, what a crap year that was. However, the pausing the reflection, the looking back with some insight to remind me the photographs, my diary, the positives and the negatives. Actually, it was a great year. You know, it was a great year and many, many circumstances personally, professionally, you know, things didn't go well in certain circumstances. But there were certain things that I reflected on that were just awesome. So it really helped me go into the my break actually feeling a little bit less pessimistic about what happened the year before. And so I took a break. Now, my break this year, was pretty chaotic. We had family from the UK come out, which was wonderful. We, together, there was probably 16 to 18 of us for breakfast, lunch and dinner for two or three weeks. And whilst there was exhausting, we collectively created, I'm sure, certainly from what we've heard in discussions with family, many lifetime memories that will stick with people throughout their lives. And so that's an awesome thing to have done. However, it wasn't necessarily a relaxing, and quiet time to just process what's going on. So I probably left that until early January to do that. And so what I've done post then is a number of things to at least imagine myself having as good a year and 23 as I had in 22.
So here's what I did. One of the ways in which I visualise the best possible life I can I can have as a separate activities and events and aspirations into four categories. Very simply health, wealth, life and love. And they're not in an order that just rhyme. It's easier to come off the tongue than life love, wealth, health well over them. So for me, it just works. Health, wealth, life and love. In the health section. It's all the kind of psychological, physical health wellness goals that I have in the wealth space. It's the financial security, it's any investments, it's anything I've got to leave a legacy and position my kids for the future. In the life space, that has two aspects to it, one is the hobbies and boys stuff that I like to do and friends stuff that I like to do plus the work stuff, what are my work aspirations, so what fits into the life section. And then the love section has all the relationships, the things that I want to do the things that we are taking adventures on with my partner, with my kids, with my family, with my friends, all of the kind of relationship and connection stuff. So I deliberately set some goals in each of those areas for the up and coming year.
And the second thing I do is, and I got this from some of the extended version of the Tim Ferriss process is, I think about a imagine. And again, for me, I've got to be in the right headspace to imagine I can't just turn it on. And usually I go to some nice view some nice vista, on a nice day, I might meditate for a small period of time to get into the right headspace to dream and imagine. And I imagine, almost ridiculous if I was the 10x, any of these goals, if I was to, you know, quadruple, 10x, the output or the outcome in any of those four categories, what would that look like? And it's the idea is, it's meant to be ridiculous, it's meant to be way out there. The goal is not necessarily to be disappointed if I don't get there. But it's a start to think, above and beyond the rationality, I sometimes apply to these processes. So I do that, I 10x, all of those goals. And the second thing I do is, I imagine the perfect day, you know, the perfect day from waking up, for example, without an alarm, waking up to feelings of gratitude, waking up to "own my morning", whether that's physical, or mental or nutritional. In some ways, it doesn't matter. But I vividly imagine what the perfect day would look like. That's the start of the process for me. I also then go through a process on reflecting on 22. I also and I'll put the link in the show notes for you here I have created a little template called Extraordinary Me for 2023, which some of you might be aware of, I complete half of that the reflection part pre my holiday break. And then I use the second half of that, to start to imagine it gives me some material to think about all of the goals I want for health, wealth, life and love. And then I pick up another aspect of goal setting that I've seen, which is to have a word, a theme for the year. Now for me, what I chose to focus on was two words, one of which was "Space". Now if you're watching this, you won't be able to see this if you're listening. But if you're watching this, you might notice over my left shoulder, or depends on which way you're looking, there is an empty bookshelf. And the reason I've done that is it's a visual reminder for me, every time I walk into this office space that I've got, it's a visual reminder for me to create space, what I recognised in reflecting on 22 was that I was full, I was my mind was always busy. And I'm a coach, I'm a book collector, avid, almost ridiculous book collector, and I dive into books, and I've got so much breadth of knowledge on. I was going say a lot of things, but it's a limited amount of things. Which often doesn't create space for something new. And I found on reflecting on 22 some of the best ideas I've had some of the most viral newsletter posts or blogs that I've written, have come from me getting quiet, me providing space to get quiet to think about things. So I've taken some books off my shelf. If you're watching this, you can see that to act as the visual reminder to remind me to create the space that I need to be better, to evolve my thinking, to create more interesting templates and exercises and thoughts for people to benefit for themselves. The second words I have come up with to think about my year as I make progress is Acceptance. I found last year that when things weren't going well I doubled down, which in most cases was a blessing, but sometimes a curse. And when things didn't go the way I wanted them to go in all aspects of my life, I would get upset and you know, sometimes get pissed off and frustrated and angry and try and fix it, and I'd be argumentative with myself. Where I got to the point where I was able to not agree with what happened, but certainly accept it. And this takes me back to perhaps one of the most profound books and writings I've ever come across the Work of Byron Katie, called The Work. I think, again, I'll put this in the show notes but I encourage you to if you're interested, do a little bit of researching about it, which is the essence of accepting reality as it is. Not agreeing with it or argument but accepting it because it is and then pivoting from there. So it's not that I can't do anything about it. It's not that I can't have agency and making things happen. But the best place for me to start from that is accepting the current reality. And so that's the final part of the process. For me. Those are my two words for the year Space and Acceptance. And I've completed the extraordinary me for 23. The template that gives me a little bit of insight and content for the goals that I have around health, wealth, life, and love.
And one of my commitments to this year is, and it will begin to happen because I'm recording this and it's already February the first so January's been and gone. And I'm sure people will go 'oh my god, what happened to January?!?!' The thing that I'm going to commit to and you'll hear me say this as much as possible. If you are interacting with me, you don't hear me say this, when you ask this question. Please give me feedback. So when we're asked, Are you busy? Often the response is, yeah, I'm really busy. How's it going? I'm really busy. And I found that that was often an excuse. So for me, instead of saying, Yeah, I'm really busy. I'm going to respond. And I've written about this last year, I'm making progress, which again, is a linguistic trigger for me to make sure that on a consistent basis, ideally daily, but I'm making progress towards something. Now, if I have the odd off day, you know, as we knew you can miss ones, but I don't want to miss twice. That reminds me, and it's almost a it's quite an interesting response from people most for most people, it goes over their head because they're not really listening. And that's okay, that's fine. It's just a, you know, a common thing to how you're going yeah, I'm really busy. How you going? I'm making progress. I'll see you next week. But that's a good thing for me to do. So that's my commitment publicly, that instead of saying yes, I'm really busy, I'm going to be making comments about Yes, I'm making progress. Which is a reminder for me to actually do and work on the things that are really important to me.
So that's it for me for the first solo recording of the year. If you found any of this useful, please dive in and give us a review or flick it onto friends and family who might find it useful. Go to www.21whispers.com and sign up for my weekly whispers newsletter, which I'm going to continue with this year. They'll be one coming out early next week. The goal is to continue that weekly for another year. That's what I'm committing to. If you've enjoyed this, please let me know. Please review on all your podcast specials. It's always helpful to have people recommend and talk about the things they've had value from. And I look forward to showing some guests this year, this year from my podcast. I'm going to literally be free. It's going to be Freedom Friday to talk about things that are interesting for me, which might be a little bit random, and that's okay. So I look forward to working with you connecting with you. Seeing if I can help and provoke you into becoming a better version of yourself and having the best possible year that 23 might offer for you. Thanks for listening.