22 things for 2022

December hike on Little Deer Isle, Maine

{Update from Debbie} Sorry about the radio silence from our end. We haven’t forgotten about you!

2021 has been a strange year. Endless in some ways. Timeless in others. Uncertain throughout. Sam and I both turned 70 this year, which seems like a milestone. (We are not renaming the blog.)

I’ve been intrigued by, and a student of, the backward or forward annual review for years, not just during the pandemic.

Doing a year-end review or making a forward-looking list of goals imposes a bit of order, especially in chaotic times.

In the past I chose Three Words to guide the upcoming year. I wrote about that in 2012, in 2013, and in 2014.

My words included Alignment, Quiet, Compassion, Fearless, Imperfection, and Write. You get the idea.

This year I decided I need an approach that is not too taxing and that is creative and fun. I ran across several review/planning methods I hadn’t considered before and I’m going to try them. Maybe they’ll speak to you too.

1. Make a list of 22 things for 2022

Gretchen Rubin’s list of 21 things for 2021

This idea comes from Gretchen Rubin, the well-known author of five New York Times bestsellers, including The Happiness Project. She has a huge following on social media and recently posted her list of “21 things for 2021” (the scribbled list pictured) to her Instagram.

This is no-guilt approach that I find appealing. It’s okay if you don’t complete your list, she tells her followers.

“I got a fair number of things crossed off my list. Now I’m writing my 22 for 2022 list—and deciding what items to carry over from 2021,” she explains. See here.

It’s noteworthy that many of the items on her 2021 list are NOT earth moving: “Watch Mad Men,” “Get chair recovered.”

I’ve started a 22 things list and have jotted a few items down. Some are big goals; some are practices; some are simply To Do’s.

– Find a network to underwrite my podcast so it will generate revenue and also reach a much wider audience.

– Practice the cello for at least five minutes every day (I started lessons a few months ago).

– Take a solo trip to spend time on my own and learn something new.

– Sort through and toss out the stacks of paper in my office.

It helps to think of things you want to do in a number of areas. To borrow from author Chris Guillebeau, who has created an exhaustive process for an annual review, the categories could be: writing, business, finances, travel, wellness, relationships. 

Then I read about another approach to planning for the New Year.

2. Claire Mackinnon’s energy map

Claire Mackinnon, an executive coach in the UK, is a former writing client who is also a friend.

She describes a planning / awareness exercise called an energy map.

In her words: “Create a map which visually represents how you spend your energy. By energy I mean both ‘doing’, time-spent energy, and emotional/thinking energy… “

She continues:

“Write your name in the centre of a piece of paper.

Around it, write down the names of the people in your life, as well as activities you are engaged in…

Draw arrows to each, with the length and thickness of the arrow representing how much energy you expend on the relationship or activity. It might be that something you don’t spend a lot of time doing, but that you find yourself thinking about a lot, warrants a big arrow.

Then, draw an arrow from the person or the activity to your name, representing how much energy you receive from each.

As you ‘size’ the arrows, go with your gut. As an example, on my map, I drew a long, fat arrow to one name, where I seem to spend a lot of energy thinking about a relationship, and the arrow coming back to me was a faint, dotted line…”

Ha! I love the fat vs. faintly dotted arrows… so true.

You can read Claire’s complete energy map instructions here.

3. Choose one word for 2022

I can’t resist this one – it’s doable. Gretchen Rubin has one word at the top of her 2021 list – Open.

My word for 2022 is Together. 

My feelings about those who refuse to get vaccinated are not charitable. I am angry and unforgiving. But I want to keep reminding myself that we’re all in this (continuing) pandemic together. And that’s the only way we’ll get through it.

And there’s also the meaning of collaboration. Only by collaborating with other people can you get big things done. I’m thinking of my podcast but there are many other examples.

What is your ONE WORD for 2022?

I’d love to hear. Please respond and tell us. Include a few items, mundane or significant, on your “22 things” list.

Sam and I wish you all the best in 2022.

P.S. Here’s a recent podcast episode where we talk about turning 70 and what lies ahead: Debbie & Sam on entering the land of the old.

2 Responses to 22 things for 2022

  1. Sam Harrington December 31, 2021 at 11:48 am #

    My word is B[OLD] – get it? Like the new name for your podcast – [B]OLDER – but with a twist.

  2. tom ricks December 31, 2021 at 1:05 pm #

    I like the word ‘scram.’ It brings back my childhood.

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