221: Resources to Reflect On and Plan the Year Ahead

221: Resources to Reflect On and Plan the Year Ahead


In this episode podcast, I discuss methods for end-of-year reflection and to plan the year ahead. I share my tradition of selecting a “word of the year” that helps to guide my decisions. I also share the practice of creating a vision board while cautioning anyone who chooses to create one to set encouraging goals. And, I acknowledge that this time of year can be hard on many of us and it’s okay to prioritize survival and rest, instead of planning or reflecting, if that’s what feels right for you.

I also share the following additional resources: 1) the Year Compass, a free resource helping to reflect and plan the year with its various exercises, 2) my Growth Journal for personal writing and reflection, 3) my Life Assessment exercise to get a bird’s eye view of how well you are tending to different areas of your life, and 4) my episode (#146) on journaling questions to dream again.

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223: Resources to Reflect On and Plan the Year Ahead


Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: [00:00:00] Welcome back everyone, to another episode of the Grad School Femtoring podcast. This is your host, Doctora. Yvette. Today I thought I'd cover end of year reflection and planning exercises that you can try out. If you like me, enjoy thinking about the year that has transpired and looking ahead and setting goals for the year ahead.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Now a couple things that have come up for me that made me wanna record this episode. The first is that for the last five years or so, I have made it . A custom or tradition to develop, identify, generate a word of the year. This word then becomes a guiding force that helps to inform the way that I make decisions throughout the year and in years past, I've had words like abundance.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And healing and, uh, this year's word, uh, the [00:01:00] year, the year I'm talking about is 2023. So this year's word is realignment and it really has helped to shape my, my year and the accomplishments and highlights of the year, as well as the things that are memorable that may not be, you know, the . The lofty goals that you're setting and trying to reach, like some of the personal growth stuff that maybe is just for you to know and not necessarily for other people to find out.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Uh, but it's definitely part of your process of, you know, living a life that feels very good for you. So that's one of the things is that for me, I've made it this practice to set a word of the year. I have also made it a practice to have a vision board of some sort. And let me say this, I've talked about, I think I've talked about visioning and planning for the year ahead on the podcast [00:02:00] at least once before.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And I have mentioned this practice of setting a word of the year and creating a vision board. And I wanna be clear. . That, you know, I have mixed thoughts about creating a vision board. Why do I have mixed thoughts? Because sometimes folks create a vision board with . You know where two things kind of could potentially go wrong.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: One is they have a goal that's perhaps too lofty. So lofty that it's discouraging, you know, and maybe you're like, oh, I, you have a picture of a mansion and you're nowhere near getting to the point where you can live in a space like that . And so sometimes the goal is to seem too out of reach. And I do believe in the importance of setting big goals, what some people call audacious goals, what other people call impossible goals.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: I think it's . Great to set your sights, you know, far, and reach for the stars and see where you fall, but not if it's gonna be [00:03:00] discouraging for you. So I just wanna make, make sure that you are aware of that. The other thing that happens a lot for folks, especially some of us, uh, I'm thinking about neurodivergent folks in particular, but I'm also thinking about those of us that are maybe, visual learners is that sometimes people create these vision boards and they set it and forget it. Like they just kind of leave it wherever they created it and don't have it in a place where it's readily visible and then they forget about their goals or intentions for the year. And so I've made it a practice of actually adding my

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Vision board as my desktop wallpaper and as the wallpaper on my phone, my cell phone. So that way, multiple times a day, I am reminded of what, what were my goals and intentions for this year. So there's that and, , of course it was December [00:04:00] and I went straight into reflection and planning mode. So when it comes to reflecting, I went straight to, okay, lemme take a look at the year.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Let me take a look at my calendar. Let me take a look at my spreadsheets. . I am a Virgo after all. So lemme take a look at my spreadsheets where I am, uh, listing, you know, certain things that I've accomplished and, and then based on that, okay, what do I, why do I wanna do the same? What do I wanna change next year?

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And that's part of my process. Part of my process involves , taking a look at my calendar, taking a look at any other places where I write down any memorable things that came up this year and doing some journaling and doing some reflecting. And I thought to myself, you know what? This has been so useful the last couple of years.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Why don't I try to do this in community? And so I. I decided to plan or host or facilitate a workshop on planning and [00:05:00] reflecting, so reflecting and planning for the year ahead. And I invited all of my former clients, so this includes folks who have worked with me in individual sessions . Uh, in group coaching sessions and folks who have invited me to be a speaker at their institution.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: So I primarily reached out to my student clients, so undergraduates and graduate students, and some, , professionals who are also my clients. I reached out to them, invited them. I also then after they got the initial invite, sent an invite to everyone on my newsletter and . The actual event hasn't happened.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: It's actually happening later this week, but I thought to myself, okay, I wanna make sure that I get to do this kind of work or continue to do it 'cause I've already started it in community to share the wealth, to share kind of what's been helpful for me in the hopes that it might be helpful to someone else, because I also want to acknowledge [00:06:00] that

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Yeah, this time of year can be a very difficult time of year. It can be very triggering for a lot of folks. Some of us are distanced from our family members. Some of us are estranged. Some of us might feel I. Lonely during the holidays, and some of us are burnt out, are overwhelmed, are exhausted, and we are just not in the mood for any type of reflecting or planning.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And if you are feeling this way, there is no pressure at all. But you know what? You can go back to this episode anytime that you are feeling ready, that you are willing to try it out, even if it's later in the year. It could be end of January. It could be March. It could be July, it could be next year. You might be listening to this episode a year later.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: That's okay. If you find it helpful. Definitely. Take advantage of trying out some of these things. Consider maybe setting a word of [00:07:00] the year. If you feel inclined, consider creating a vision board. It can be an actual, uh, paper vision board. You buy your poster board, you get some magazines. You do it by yourself or in a group setting, you can do that.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: It could be a digital vision board. That's what I usually go for. I usually use Canva because they have a lot of free, easy to use templates where you just literally hover over an image, change the text, super duper easy, and then you can change the size. That's what I've done is change the size so that it's wallpaper friendly, friendly for, uh, computer wallpaper and a phone wallpaper.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Another thing you can do is, let me pull it up, is . Consider doing some journaling exercises, and for this, I recommend this free resource called the Year Compass. Now, I don't know too much about, [00:08:00] about I. The history behind this resource, but I know that I have come across this resource time and time again.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: So more on more than one occasion. This has come up for me and this is the first year that I decided to actually use it. So what is the year compass? So when I downloaded it for myself, it says . It's a booklet that helps you reflect on the past year and plan the next one with a set of carefully selected questions and exercises.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Year Compass helps you uncover your patterns and design a great year for yourself. From what I know, correct me if I'm wrong, this year Compass was actually developed by a team that originally came from Hungary who got together. . In, I think it was in 2008 and decided to [00:09:00] work on this booklet. And then this booklet kind of went viral in 2012 and since then they've had a bunch of contributors worldwide and they've also had patrons or supporters support the project also worldwide.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Which is great because now this is available as a free resource. You can go to their website, year compass.com. Download it as a PDF and they have a printer friendly version of it and it's, it literally says Year Compass 2023. 2024. And you have different exercises. So this reminds me a lot of, actually my growth journal.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: I have a journal called the Growth Journal. You can check it out. I have it available. It's like one of those downloads where it's like, pay what you can type, download. And I think it has like a 50 plus page journal with a lot of reflective exercises. If you go to gradschoolfemtoring.com/shop, [00:10:00] you can access my journal.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: But this Year Compass reminds me of that in that it has a lot of reflective exercises. So they have an exercise on. You know, taking a look at your calendar and pinpointing important events, family gathering, significant projects or accomplishments that you listed on your calendar. They also have another exercise where.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: You think about the different areas of your life and significant events that happened in that area. So this can be personal life or family, your career, your community, your creativity or hobbies, your health or wellness. Your habits, et cetera. So I like that. It's very holistic in that sense. And they have several other exercises related to reflecting on the year that has transpired.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And then, so these are all the past year exercises. There's [00:11:00] also a section on the year ahead. And here you get to dream big, and I love this 'cause I dedicated a whole episode on dreaming big on reflective questions to ask yourself to dream. Again, check out that episode if you're feeling in the mood for doing that.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: But they have a reflective exercise related to dreaming, big related to thinking about . What you wanna prioritize in all the different areas of your life. Even thinking about what else do they have the word of the year? Of course, they mentioned that as well. So that's, that's the year compass. I really, really like it.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: I'm gonna be finishing it when I facilitate this workshop on reflecting and planning ahead with my . Clients current and former clients, as well as my newsletter audience. So if you wanna have access to these types of resources, I, . Try every now and then to offer [00:12:00] freebies or resources to only my newsletter.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Only you all get it. You can sign up for my newsletter at gradschoolfemtoring.com/kit and everybody who signs up for my newsletter gets also a free grad school femtoring kit with more resources available to you. So I wanted to keep today's episode short. . But I encourage you, if you're feeling in the mood, for it to consider setting a word of the year to consider creating a vision board.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Digital or paper is fine, or, and or whichever you know you want. If you wanna do all the things you can, do all the things. Uh, doing some reflective journaling to think about what has been. Eventful, momentous, uh, memorable from this year. How is that going to then inform what you want to highlight, prioritize, and [00:13:00] set intentions for, for this year?

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And I'm trying to think if there's anything else when it comes down to planning. You know, I do get very, very specific with setting goals for the year. One thing I didn't mention is that I. I also do some mind mapping and I know that I might overwhelm some people 'cause you're saying Hold up. Hold up.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: You have your word of the year, you have your vision board. You're completing the year Compass journaling exercises and you're working on mind maps with goal setting. I know that's a little bit of a a lot. That can be a lot for some people. You don't have to do all the things you only really need to do

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Whatever feels right to you. It might be one of the things. It might be none. It might be something completely different. I'm just offering suggestions to see what might work for you. So if you enjoy mind maps, if you enjoy these like bubbling and. Visualizing the constellation of different things [00:14:00] that are part of your life that you want to set goals around, then maybe you might wanna create a mind map.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: I have a mind map specifically related to my business goals, and I have very specific numbers that I want to reach and outcomes that I want to reach related to my business. I also have personal goals, but my personal goals I have on my . Vision board. My vision board is more holistic. My mind map is just directly related to my business.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: That's just what feels right for me. But think about for yourself. What are the areas that you want to prioritize this coming year? If you're not sure where you fall in these categories, if you're not sure, if you're . Putting in enough time to different areas of your life. Another thing you can check out is my life assessment exercise.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Also on my shop gradschoolfemtoring.com/shop. [00:15:00] Uh, I recently had someone, well, you know, every now and then I might get someone who finds out about my shop and my purchase it on their own. But I have had people say about the life assessment that it's really revealing for them in terms of letting them know.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Which areas of their life they're actually doing better in than they realized. They weren't giving themselves enough credit and saying, Hey, you know what? I'm not doing so bad in that area, and other areas of their life that maybe they hadn't realized, needed more tending to. So if you're feeling like assessing your life and where you are in different areas of your life holistically, check out my life assessment.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: You know what if, if you don't wanna do any of these things, that's okay too, but . You know, if you want a couple of free resources, I know, definitely check out the Year Compass. It's not, I'm not affiliated with it. Uh, I don't even know the folks who created it, but it, it is a great resource. I am [00:16:00] benefiting from it.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: That's why I'm sharing it with you. That's it for today's episode. I hope that you found something in here that could be useful or applicable to you, and as always, . I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week. You know, depending on when you listen to this, a good, gentle, loving, peaceful holiday season and that you're able to carve out some time for yourself.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: All right, y'all, I'll talk to you next time.

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