Man. Meaningful relationships are really, well, meaningful.

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of meeting my friend Rachel for coffee. We’ve done this before, and we’ll do it many more times, but we had a particular goal for this coffee date.

Danielle LaPorte, author of The Desire Map, sent an email out a few weeks ago with an exercise for setting your intentions for the coming year. Rather than set resolutions, she encourages you to do a retrospective on the past year.



Step 1: Write a list of the highlights of the last year or season. You only have three minutes. Write anything. It’s fascinating to see what surfaces when you don’t filter it, hence the time pressure.
Step 2: Have a good friend look it over and point out what you missed, and what they see the patterns are.
Step 3: What pattern do YOU see? What very obviously gives you joy? What was “big” but didn’t even make it on to the list?
Step 4: Chill out more and really think about what moved you and mattered the most in your past year.
Step 5: Determine the five things you’re going to focus on in the next year or phase of your life. (Easier said than done, and/but…such focus is ESSENTIAL to your success.) Go back to Step 3.”

This exercise encourages you to take stock of what brought you joy in the past year, and then foster those feelings by utilizing them in the coming year. Rachel and I met to do this together! Here’s what my notebook looked like:

  • traveled to New Orleans
  • experienced unscheduled traveling
  • became an aunt
  • improved graphic design skills
  • became more knowledgeable about sustainable habits
  • became less of a body-shamer/self-hater
  • new friendship with Rachel
  • became closer to my sister
  • learned to love KC after moving
  • became a coffee addict
  • became a beer lover
  • sunshine in Florida
  • learned to appreciate healthy, whole foods
  • discovered minimalism
The first thing Rachel says to me after hearing my list, is that everything on it had to do with experiences. Not one thing had anything to do with materialism. Now, I have been working on being more minimalistic and focusing on experiences throughout the past year. But it was pretty dang cool to see it come to light from my subconscious. When you only have three minutes to write your highlights for a whole year, the most important parts of it really stand out. I didn’t mention my job. I didn’t mention my favorite boots. And I didn’t mention any Christmas gifts.
I am definitely not trying to brag or preach about my move toward minimalism. My list would have looked a whole lot different if I had tried this exercise last year. But I am proud of how I have grown and how much I learned so much about myself in the past year. So, to finish the exercise, we chose five (only five!) things to focus on for the coming year. These are not goals or resolutions or plans of any kind. These are five elements of my life that bring my joy, so I am going to cultivate them more in 2016. Here they are:
  1. Traveling overseas
  2. Finding and fostering more real, meaningful relationships
  3. Earning my Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 200) certification
  4. Asking more mentors for advice and knowledge on the health industry
  5. Sharing my body-shaming story to free others from self-hate

Let me know if you decide to try this exercise! Did any parts of it surprise you? Find a friend who will encourage and empower you through it, and tell me what you discover!


I am purposefully living, while not taking things too seriously. I am a blessed wife and a furmom to my precious pup, Penelope. I love Jesus and Jesus loves me. Travel, Health, and Devotion are my tools for purposeful living. I enjoy a good book, a great beer, and hot yoga.


  1. Very insightful! I’m going to model this structure and do a retrospective of my 2015 as well.. I will share it with you!

  2. LOVE this! I can’t wait to cheer you on as you go after them! So, when are you blocking dates on your calendar for your trip? DO IT!
    P.S. I think RLBC will really help with #2!

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