Over the past year, I have been writing up personal reflections each Sunday. Taken together, the 52 sets of answers to qualitative questions about my week maps out what I accomplished and how, effectively silencing the persistent little voice inside that says “You have’t done enough!” Reading through the weekly reflections reveals subtle shifts in my thinking and behavior over time. Here’s the summary:

Ida C. Benedetto

 

The Laundry List of What I Did in 2013

Wanderlust Projects (wanderlustprojects.com)

Antidote Games (playistheantidote.com)

Other Professional Endeavors

Misc. Personal

  • Fooled everyone with my bridesmaid costume at my sister’s wedding
  • Was treated to the best surprise birthday adventure ever (thank you N.D. & Laine)
  • Quit Facebook completely

1. (A Little Less) Overcommitment

This past year involved a serious reality check about commitments and what I could reasonably accomplish each week. The list you just scrolled through is me scaling back. Initially, the weekly reflections had me testing out hourly estimates of how long the things I committed to would take. My estimates were consistently low.  I shifted to a more intuitive process of keeping complete lists of my projects and shuffling them from active to inactive each week based on what I thought I could reasonably focus on. I had to trust my gut, and this worked far better than guessing hours.

2. Introspection FTW

Scheduling regular introspection time created huge shifts in my self-awareness, creativity, and engagement with unexpected challenges. The weekly reflections were just the tip of the iceberg for scheduled introspection. By the end of the year, I was meditating and journaling every morning, too.

3. Change Through Simple Methods and Support

All year, I told myself to make time to write and practice programming. It consistently didn’t happen. I did meet other personal goals, like steadfast budgeting, improved physical health, and better self-esteem. In the moment, it is easy to be hard on myself for not writing more and practicing programming consistently. Looking back at my weekly reviews though, it’s clear that the goals I did achieve happened because I had a simple methodology in place and support to follow through.

In the case of budgeting, the support was this great software called YNAB and the methodology was to enter each expense as it happened on my mobile phone. For improved physical health, I developed a dead simple cardio routine based on how exercise improves happiness and mental acuity. Once I knew what the exercise program should be, I got a membership at a gym with an expansive steam room and sauna to reward myself after each workout. Improved self-esteem came thanks to the support of an excellent therapist, occasional visits to a local zendo, and daily meditation. In each of these instances, it took a bit of research to get the right mix of methodology and support.  Once I got the right combination in place, change was pretty much on auto pilot.

For writing and programming, I have clear goals but no practical methodology or consistent support to ensure follow through. I used my weekly reviews to psych myself up to achieve those goals, but my pep talks were useless on their own.

The pattern was only evident upon reviewing a whole year of weekly reflections. It doesn’t matter how big my goals are.  Success comes with a method to get me started and the support to keep it up.

Everything I Was Grateful For Each Week

my team at Antidote · a beautiful home · my partner’s success · autonomy · living on the waterfront · world travel · dancing · creative challenges · the respect of my piers and collaborator · a supportive family · being my own boss · my amazing taste · cool opportunities that perfectly match my skills · more inspiration than I know what to do with · my sex appeal · health insurance · my therapist · an imminent vacation · learning from mistakes · the opportunity to work with people I respect · emotional openness from people close to me · romance · self discipline · friends with cars and cabins · EMDR · personal space · the self respect to turn down opportunities that are a bad fit · a loving and persistent mother · cuddly cats · paid trips abroad · friends in far away places · Skype · systems thinking · personal resolve · partners who challenge me and help me grow · negotiation skills · nascent leadership skills · mediation · the internet · good clients · massage · everything I learned doing my internships years ago with high caliber people · the zendo · torrenting websites · weirdoes for friends · new collaborators · risk taking

New People I Got to Collaborate and Explore With

Christopher Wisniewski · Jordan Smith · Hillary Kolos · Jose Olivares · Cydney Gray · Alicia Stott · Claire Suddath · Matt Black · Celia Pierce · Juliette Rooney-Varga · Cal Fishberg · Margaret Lobenstein · Beverly Pimsleur · Julia Pimsleur · Sean McIntyre · Steve Duncomb · Mike Silberberg · William Andeson · Tim Rodriquez · Joe Richman · Charles Melcher · Phoenix Perry · Frank Rose · Nina Strochlic · Julie Arrighi · Barbara Soalheiro · Ayden Grout · David Sharps · Julia Sourikoff · Sanjay Agnihotri · Anna Marrian · Anne Correal · Wylie Stecklow · Patricia A. Wright · Joana Seguro · Michael Lynch · Andrea Calvaruso · Ligia Giatti · Carola Costa · Rodrigo Guima · Edgard Gouveia Júnior · Denise Saito · Fernanda Cardoso · Sara Marina · Bruno Höera · Fernanda Cardoso · Jaakko Tammela · Amnah Asad · Manuel Nogueira · Gilberto Topczewski · Renato Fregnani · Gus Bonfiglioli · Marina Bortoluzzi · Luciana Minami · Joana Tuttoilmondo · Carla Mayumi · Sabrina Dridje · Sabrina Aggarwal · Earl Sebastian · Natalie Galazka · Laura Lewin · Nikki Zeichner · Cameron Yates · Phil Engelhorn · Christine Jones · Don Jones · Baraunde Thurston · Jordan Seiler · Chris Reid · Chloe Veraldi · Shira Bannerman · Mike Sweeney

Old Connections Who Continue to Bring Awesomeness into My Life

Kaitlin Prest · Mitra Kabuli · Natasha Del Toro · Sue Jaye Johnson · Laine Nooney · Kiana Love · Rachel Aicher · Kyle Balmer · Ben Norskov · Mohini Dutta · Sarah Schoemann · Dylan Thuras · Kate Ryan · Pablo Suarez · John Timothy · Myric Lehner · Gaelen Green · Rose van Steijn · Margaret Moser · Larisa Fuchs · Jessie Sheildlower · Dan Glass · Yoni Brook · Andrew Otto · Mike Hicks · Matt Parker · Lee-Sean Huang · Colby Reed · Tod Seelie · Jason Eppink · Haitham Ennasr · Allison Meier · Lois Beckett · Amira Anne Pettus · Tom Toynton · Mary Flanagan · Deedee Vega · Matt Dallow · Kaho Abe · Jeff Stark · Eugene Ashton Gonzalez · Mark Krawczuk · Nicolina Art · Clayton Grey · Perry Chen · Amy Yenkin · Susan Meiselas · Eric Gottesman · Nick Fortugno · Colleen Macklin · John Sharp · Jonathan Harris · Greg Trefry · Eric Zimmerman · Emma Raynes · N.D. Austin · Dirby Luongo · Katie Bode · Annetta Black · Brad Haynes · Ryan Hale · Scott Valentine · Christopher Nesbit · Clemency Cook · Katherine Isbister · Charlie Todd · Colin Snyder · Colin Nightingale · Chelsea Wagner · Ereka Duncan · Lisa Jamhoury · Anthony Simon · Andrew Mahon · Lev Kanter · Zeke Shore · Molly Butcher · Deborah Zinn · Orit Halpern