2017. It's here.
I spent the last Friday of 2016 with a cup of tea, some music, my laptop and a journal. I took myself on a mini "retreat" for my practice. I've found that doing this starts the year off on a really good note. The day isn't just about looking at the numbers and setting targets, though that is a part of it. It's really a piece of inner work- noticing the qualities I strengthened, seeing where I grew and where my old stories managed to trip me up yet again, letting go of 2016 and getting ready to rock 2017.
First I reviewed all of the things that went well in the past year- new triumphs, small victories, milestones hit, and moments when I knew I was on the right track with a client or with the direction of my business.
Then, with self-compassion, I looked at what failed, taking a close look at the year's challenges and what I learned from them, and keeping the focus on what lessons I could apply to my projects for next year.
I spent some time imagining what I'd want my life to look and feel at the end of 2017, and then crafted intentions and goals that would help me get there. Some were personal, many were business related.
My practice had some big changes in 2016. After new ownership, construction, and a fire, I decided it was time to leave the building where I had spent the last 10 years, and move my practice to to Oakland. Now I'll have ample space to accommodate the groups and classes I am going to offer this year.
I also changed from using GoDaddy bookeeping to QuickBooks and couldn't be happier. I had lots of funky connection issues between GoDaddy and my local community bank, and wound up spending countless hours with tech support trying to get the two to sync. ByeDaddy! The lesson? It makes a huge difference to have systems in place that make things easy, and when a system really isn't working for you, ditch it!
If you haven't taken some time to reflect on your 2016 year in practice, take a few hours sometime this week. It's best if you can do this away from the office, somewhere you can relax and reflect without "shoulds" and distractions of other work. When you're done, put your intentions somewhere you will see them regularly. This year I used Canva to make an easy and pretty graphic and set it as my laptop wallpaper and screensaver.
Remember that intentions are the general statements of your overarching vision, and goals are the concrete things you will do to get there. Break down your goals into action steps and set yourself up for success by making SMART goals- more on that here. Block out time for your projects for the next few months, then you can review and see how things are going.
Sharing your intentions and goals with people with folks who want to see you succeed can help get you stay focused and motivated. Private practice can be isolating if you don't intentionally build community. With all that is going on in the world, it is more important than ever to have a community of therapists to help hold the often challenging work we do. To that end, I'm currently interviewing for Building Your Therapist Self, a consultation group especially for therapists who are newer to private practice. It focuses on both the clinical and the business sides of private practice.
I hope you are supported and nourished in all aspects as you do your work in the world this year!