Every year, I disappear for about 4 days. It has become known as “hibernation,” probably because my wife thinks I act like a bear most of the time. I literally go away and cannot be found for 4 days. These are my days. I am not available. I do not answer emails, text messages, or phone calls. I take this time to think.
For 4 days!
Are you kidding?
This may seem crazy, but it has become one of the most important things I do every year. Without exception. It allows me to review how this year went and what is going to happen in the year to come, both personally and professionally.
So, I am going to let you peek into the cave. I’ll tell you what I do and why I find it so valuable, and, hopefully, you can find something that will help you too.
- FIND A PLACE TO BE ALONE
Hibernation is not a team sport. It is a time for personal reflection and delving deep. It is a time to think about who you are, how you are showing up, and what needs to change. I have done it at home, at my cabin, in a hotel, and a cruise ship. The location isn’t as important as you being alone and undisturbed.
- PREPARE THE LOCATION
For me, I need a dry erase board. I think better on a dry erase board. I need snacks (berries and honey) and drinks. Sometimes, I will go the entire day without leaving the room, so I need to be prepared. I have soft music to play in the background, or I bring headphones.
- PREPARE YOUR THINGS
Since you will be reviewing and planning, you will need to have things to review and plan with. The things I take include my planner from this year and my journals, both handwritten and electronic. I actually print out any electronic versions of journals so I have them with me physically. I review posts from Facebook as that is a great place to see my year in review. Also, business plans and strategies we worked on this year, personal and business financials, and any workout or health records. I also take books or biographies I read, reviews of those books and how they affected me, and summaries of any conferences I have attended or trips we have taken. Anything else you can think of from this year that you would like to review, you should have with you.
I spend the first day reviewing and taking notes. I reread journal entries, review business plans, and look over goals that I did and did not accomplish. I grade myself as a father, husband, business partner, and friend. I get real with myself and ask how I am doing and if I am happy with it. I review my relationship with myself and with God and think about my place in the universe. I don’t allow myself to do any planning this day or really any thinking about the present or future. I just immerse myself in the past year and think about how I did. What worked? What didn’t work? Where was I smart and where did I really miss it?
By day two, I am feeling very grateful. Day one makes me so grateful for all that I have in my life. I spend day two taking notes. I use the time to write down who I want to thank and what I need to do. I write more journal entries, and I start making very broad strokes about what the future holds. I try to use this day to think about the big picture for the next 5, 10, or 20 years. I spend time thinking about my kids and what is best for them. I do the same thing for my wife and for my parents. I think about what I can do to help my friends and business partners. I try very hard to stay in an attitude of gratitude and serving. When I am done with day two, I usually have a great list of things to do and people to thank.
I begin formalizing my goals for the next year. I take the information from days one and two and create the list of what I would like the next year to look like. I set goals for the year in our businesses. This includes the strategies we will use to accomplish those goals. I set personal goals in health, wealth, relationships, learning, and adventure. I try and think of a few things that will scare the shit out of me and add those to the list. I try to add a couple things I would have never dreamed of like riding a box car from one place to another with no money.
I spend the last day finishing up. I review anything I want, finish the goal list, and formalize it. Then, I make myself start taking action. I try not to leave the area without actually doing something important on those lists. I write some letters or some emails. I make some calls. It is a great way for me to finish up. I then pack up and get ready to leave the hibernation cave and enter the real world.
So there you have it. That’s my hibernation routine! I hope it has inspired you to think about your life and how you can improve it. Hey, we only have one as far as I know.
Living Every Minute,