More Than Anxiety

Ep 68 - Looking Back and Moving Forward with Self Evaluation

December 26, 2023 Megan Devito Episode 68
Ep 68 - Looking Back and Moving Forward with Self Evaluation
More Than Anxiety
More Info
More Than Anxiety
Ep 68 - Looking Back and Moving Forward with Self Evaluation
Dec 26, 2023 Episode 68
Megan Devito

I used to hate looking back over the year.
I didn't like what I saw,
I didn't know how to move forward,
and I've never been a fan of resolutions.
(Do we really get a clean slate at the stroke of midnight just because the picture on the calendar changed?)

Not anymore. I learned why self-assessments are helpful and how to use them to my advantage and in this episode I'm teaching you how to do it too.

Check out Episode 68 where I'm talking about how to look back over your year with curiosity and love so you can find what worked, what didn't work, what you'd do differently, and feel gratitude for the lessons you learned.

Grab my Year End Assessment Freebie.

Help others find this resource so they can calm, confident, and have more fun by leaving a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review wherever you listen.

Find me on Instagram
Find me on Facebook
Schedule your consultation and let's talk coaching!

Thanks for listening!

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

I used to hate looking back over the year.
I didn't like what I saw,
I didn't know how to move forward,
and I've never been a fan of resolutions.
(Do we really get a clean slate at the stroke of midnight just because the picture on the calendar changed?)

Not anymore. I learned why self-assessments are helpful and how to use them to my advantage and in this episode I'm teaching you how to do it too.

Check out Episode 68 where I'm talking about how to look back over your year with curiosity and love so you can find what worked, what didn't work, what you'd do differently, and feel gratitude for the lessons you learned.

Grab my Year End Assessment Freebie.

Help others find this resource so they can calm, confident, and have more fun by leaving a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review wherever you listen.

Find me on Instagram
Find me on Facebook
Schedule your consultation and let's talk coaching!

Thanks for listening!

Megan Devito:

Welcome to the More Than Anxiety podcast. I'm Megan Devito and I'm the Life Coach for stressed out and anxious women who want more out of life. I'm here to help you create a life you love to live, where anxiety isn't holding you back. Get ready for a lighthearted approach to managing anxiety through actionable steps, a lot of truth, talk and inspiration to take action so you walk away feeling confident, calm and ready to live. Let's get to it.

Megan Devito:

Hello, you are listening to Episode 68, the final episode of the More Than Anxiety podcast for 2023. If you are listening in real time, I hope you had a really great holiday season. We're on the downward slide into New Year's and I want to get you ready for 2024. If you're not listening when this episode first airs, I hope you're having a great day and that you're ready to make some changes, because, even though this episode is going to be about assessing the past year, you can do this anytime because, honestly, New Year's Day is kind of silly, isn't it guys? We buy a new calendar and then your fairy godmother is supposed to come in and change everything overnight. It's rubbish, total rubbish, but I wrote this episode sitting in the dark in front of my Christmas tree, thinking back over this past year, over 2023.

Megan Devito:

It occurred to me that there were some things that I started doing that I really want to share with you all that can be helpful to get you out of your rut or to get you moving forward, even if you're not in a rut. So, as I'm thinking back over this past year, this is what came to my mind: this year was hard for me. What a mess. Next year will be better. And then I remembered that last year I did this evaluation I'm going to tell you about, and I wasn't sure at all if I wanted to go back and review 2023. I was talking with a friend at dinner a few weeks ago and we agreed that we would take 2020 over 2023 again in a heartbeat. But now, recording this, I'm not actually sure that's true, and 2023 has tested and tried me in a lot of ways. Some of these ways were new and some of them were ways that I didn't really want to repeat, but I'm here recording this and I've been through the trenches this year as a mom and as a business owner, as a human being on a planet that is sometimes pretty scary and things are okay. We're coming out the other side. 2024 is only a week away when you hear this, maybe, like I said, if real-time in , and I decided that I'm going to just get excited about what comes next while I look back and see what worked, what didn't work and all the things for 2023, because we're going to be able to do both.

Megan Devito:

For years, though, I refused absolutely refused to look back or to set goals, and I always thought resolutions were ridiculous. Honestly, I still don't set resolutions because January 1st, like I said, it seems like just kind of an arbitrary day and it's a surefire way not to get what you want, isn't it? There's a pretty short window for most people to hold on to those shiny New Year's resolutions that they make or those goals, and I want you to succeed. I want 2024 to be the best year for you. I want you to learn how to do things and to go after what you want for yourself without anxiety being a problem or stopping you. This is something that can be particularly hard if you're anxious, because anxiety makes you see the worst and everything that could go wrong, but I'm going to show you a new way to do this so that you can evaluate your year, so you can start letting go of anxiety stopping you, all of that negative self-tough stopping you, and help you move forward. And it's going to be in teeny, tiny bites where you don't have to make resolutions, and I'm going to encourage you to screw up so you can't go wrong.

Megan Devito:

But let's go ahead and talk about what's actually going on. Why is it a problem to look back over the year? So one of the things that could be about being a problem. It might have been a really hard year for you. It was a rough one for me, I'll be honest. It's been rough and it's okay. Those rough years teach us things that we need to learn. You can get stuck in it, you can swirl around in it, you can swim in it for as long as you want but if you're ready to stop swimming in that cesspool of everything that felt yucky, let's move forward.

Megan Devito:

So if you're afraid to look back and set goals or create resolutions because you don't want to see all of the times that you felt too anxious, or that you quit on yourself, or that you failed and then felt really rotten or get trash talked yourself, I know this can feel pretty big and I get it, but I've learned that this is not the point of going back and evaluating your year. It's not to point out all of your failures. It's not to point out everything that you screwed up. It's not to point everything that like will, you blew it on this one, and you totally freaked out and didn't even show up for that one. That's not the point of the evaluation. That is just criticizing yourself into a hole where you really will stay stuck and not move forward.

Megan Devito:

Another reason that doing these evaluations that might feel kind of intimidating or like something maybe you don't wanna tackle right now is that you're afraid to look at what isn't working because you don't know exactly what the future is gonna look like anyway, or what to do differently, or how to change what you're doing right now. I wanna remind you that that's pretty normal. If you knew, you would already be doing it and your brain is going to show you what's not working to keep you safe. It's gonna say 'do you see all these things that didn't work, but you're still alive,' just keep doing those things. It's hard to change those habits sometimes, but I can help you make it simpler and it just takes a different shift in perspective. I'll talk to you about that in a minute.

Megan Devito:

Another thing that might make these evaluations or these assessments, or whatever you wanna call it, feel like maybe a waste of time or kind of scary, is that you wanna change really bad but it also makes you critical of yourself and it stresses you out and anxious about what might have to happen. Or if I go back and think about this thing again, I'm gonna feel anxious all over again and that's not necessarily true, because remember that anxiety comes from what you think about a situation. So when we can look at it, as I'm changing the way I think about it, that anxiety isn't a problem anymore and it doesn't even show up. So are we ready?

Megan Devito:

If you wanna pick up this evaluation sheet that I created, I'm gonna tell you right now. I'm gonna put that in the show notes. I'll also send it out with my weekly email. So if you go to the show notes, it'll bring you to a landing page where I will send you the evaluation guide that's gonna go with this episode. You'll also get on my email list, which means that you'll get all kinds of fun extra tips and tricks, and I send it out every Tuesday yes, the same day as podcasts come out, but that's a good way to get on my list and also to get this form so you can fill it out, so you don't have to take notes if you're listening while you're driving or doing whatever it is that you're doing. So let's talk about what it is that you might be doing now.

Megan Devito:

If you look back over your year, if you decide to think back and you look back and you only see where you are right now, in this moment, and it doesn't feel good to you, so you tell yourself that you're a failure, or you feel like I just am still here where I was last year at the same time and nothing has changed. You might tell yourself things like I should be further along. I should have started getting help for my anxiety, or I shouldn't be anxious anymore. I should have quit my job and made my side hustle my number one priority. I should have done whatever it is, whatever it is that you're thinking. Looking back is not to make you feel worse and it's not only for people with tons of things to celebrate. It just gives you a chance to see what you'd like to do differently and then come up with a starting point; not come up with an entire plan that is overwhelming and that will throw me into a downward spiral. I'm 100% learned this past year. Don't try to think that far ahead. You don't need to. It's gonna make you anxious. It's going to make you stressed out. All you wanna do is just see, okay, what's going on right now. Let's just look at it as if I'm looking through the window of somebody else's house, if you can picture that.

Megan Devito:

A second thing that you might be trying that's not actually working for you is thinking back and seeing the things that aren't working or where you think you failed as something about you as a person. I'm an idiot. I can't schedule anything. I always quit. I screw everything up. If you hear those thoughts coming through your head, you are judging yourself about the things that you failed as. Failing actually is good. Something else I learned this year you can tell that this learning process was no joke I've been doing this work all year long that you're looking at failure as you being a failure, and that's not true.

Megan Devito:

So if you're judging your future based on your past, why would you even begin to spend time thinking about what didn't work or what you didn't want? We're gonna talk about that. If you're using your past history as the track for how you'll be forever. You won't get anywhere and it will keep you feeling rotten. So this makes setting new goals maybe feel a little too big and impossible, because you want to be less anxious and you want to have less stress and you want to do other really important things, but you're afraid to go there and be disappointed because you're judging yourself. You're telling yourself it's impossible, so I'm not even gonna put that on my list because I'm going to fail anyway, because that's just what I do. I feel I am anxious forever. None of that is true. It's just what you're thinking.

Megan Devito:

So another way you might see this is if the future is a scary place full of giant, what ifs? And you know all about what ifs, don't you? Yours might sound more like what if I fail? What if something bad happens? What if everyone sees me fall on my face? What if I made the wrong choice?

Megan Devito:

Anxious brains love what ifs, mine included, and they also love to find the negative to everything. But so do calm brains. So you believe the negative what ifs? Because you feel them and they make you feel really anxious Instead of the other side of the thought, which is just as possible. If you're believing those what ifs. It's keeping you stuck right where you are. And another thing is just really quickly that you just don't know how to do it. You don't know where to start and you just you're stuck. So you stay right where you are because you're like I don't know, I have no clue. If I knew I'd already do it. I get it. Okay. So this is what has to happen so that you can start looking back over your evaluations and decide how you're gonna move forward.

Megan Devito:

All of these things could be true that we talked about, right There there really are scary what ifs. There really are times that you screwed up. You really are stuck. Let's not pretend it's not true. Let's just take the judgment out of it about who you are or what you're capable of. That's really the important part, because everything could also be the opposite could be true.

Megan Devito:

I've told you that anxious brains will find a problem for every solution to keep you from changing. So don't, you know, if I change I'll upset my parents, or my spouse will be so mad if I change, and it makes you feel secure. So you stay at work, even though you don't love the job and you wanted to do your side hustle, or you don't start to work out so, because what will people think? They'll think I'm vain. They'll wonder, you know, they'll wonder what's up with me. So you just, you just choose to stay stuck. Sometimes change, even change you want is new and it's unknown, because you've never been there before and your brain will start firing off all of the warning shots to keep you from getting where you want to go.

Megan Devito:

This is how I started doing my reflections on not just my whole year, but also on People after I coach, or after I talk with someone on a consultation call, or if I go and I speak to a group of people, or anything else that I'm working on really. But for now, let's just talk about how looking back over no more than the past year can help you move forward. Let's just keep it contained to that, because that's a really big chunk of time, isn't it? You might even choose to look back over only a half a year or just three months, whatever it is you want to look at, but I want you to pick a constrained chunk of time. Don't rush through this. I want you to take your time. Remember there's a link to the form, so you don't have to memorize this and do it while I'm talking - I talk fast, anyway You're gonna feel a lot of emotions.

Megan Devito:

Some of these emotions are gonna feel really good when you start looking at things, and other ones are gonna feel pretty crummy. It's okay, they're just emotions. I read not too long ago that a negative emotion only lasts about 20 to 30 seconds. So why do we stay angry so long? Think about that. If the actual chemical reaction inside your body lasts for seconds, why do we swim in those negative emotions for so long? It's because we keep thinking about them. So I'm not asking you to sit in the misery here of you, these negative emotions. I want you just to notice them and say, ooh, that makes me feel jealous, that makes me feel angry, that makes me feel humiliated, whatever that is. Name the emotion and then say, okay, that's what that one felt like. Moving on, but don't rush. Please. Let those emotions be there and just keep on writing.

Megan Devito:

Grab the PDF, download it and keep going. Okay, here's what we're gonna do. The first thing I want you to do is start by listing all the things that worked for you in the amount of time that you chose, whether it's the entire year or three months or somewhere in the middle. Without over thinking or judging yourself, list them. If it felt fun, if you felt confident, if you smiled, whatever worked for you. Write that down. Anything little, teeny, tiny things. Maybe it was a funny memory or a huge event, it doesn't matter. Maybe you did something brave. If you were like I don't know what I did in the last three months, it could be really helpful to pull out your calendar or even to open the photos, like whatever photos app you use on your phone, even to scroll back through your personal photos, whatever you put on Instagram, and just look what did I actually do this year. See what jogs your memory. But everything that worked gets to make the list.

Megan Devito:

Worked means felt good. Worked means got me where I wanted to go. Worked means I wasn't anxious, or I was anxious than I did it anyway. Anything that you qualify as worked, write that down. We're just making a list. After that, I want you to do the same thing, but I want you to write down specifically what didn't work.

Megan Devito:

Now there's a caveat to this one. I don't want you to write down what other people did. They can do their own evaluations. This is about you. I don't want it to be, this person did this to me and this situation did this to me. I want you to let yourself be like what did I do when something bad happened or negative happened? How did I handle it? What did I do that didn't work? Maybe your thought is I said I was going to start getting help for my anxiety this year and I never did it. I didn't do it. Or I said I was going to take that side hustle and make it my number one job. I didn't do it. That's okay. We're not judging ourselves. Just be curious. Maybe you blamed yourself for other people's mistakes or you binge watched Yellowstone when you wanted to work out. This is just your chance to see what didn't work and ask yourself why. Was it totally out of your control, like there was a big storm that blew your roof off, or was it something else? Was it something you did or didn't do? Again, no judgment. It's not allowed.

Megan Devito:

The third thing I want you to look at is to make top five lists. These are kind of fun; the top five things that you liked or enjoyed this past year. Maybe you went to a baseball game, maybe you went camping, maybe you tried a new recipe, maybe you I don't know, you got a bird feeder and you love watching the birds. I'm kind of guilty of that, you guys. That aging thing with the birds is not a joke; it's real and it's me. I'm not kidding. Anyways, I'm not going to go down that . So you know, why did you like or enjoy those things? How did they make you feel? Again, we're looking for the emotions. When I watched the birds, I felt joyful or I felt relaxed, I don't know whatever. It was for you and the emotion that came with it, not the thoughts. I thought they were pretty as a thought. I was relaxed as a feeling. Okay, it's a feeling.

Megan Devito:

So you also want to do the top five things that you didn't like or even hated. Why didn't you enjoy those things? Or what emotions did you feel there? I got fired, I hated it, I felt humiliated, or maybe you were relieved. I got fired and I felt relieved. Maybe that was on your top five things that you liked and that's really where that thought shift comes in there. But you're gonna list the top five things that you liked and the top five things that you didn't like and next I want you to do the top five gratitudes you have.

Megan Devito:

This one might surprise you. I think you might be surprised at the things that made your top five list, that show up on your gratitude list. Yes, even the things that you hated or didn't like. It might just bring up these feelings of gratitude. Look at that idea of being fired. At first, when I got fired, I was embarrassed and I was humiliated, and then I realized that I could do anything I wanted to do and I feel really grateful that I got fired. That's where gratitude sneaks in.

Megan Devito:

Just roll around in that feeling of gratitude, because gratitude is going to get you everywhere. Everywhere! Give yourself a little party for the things that went well. Celebrate them. Just celebrate honestly, that not everything sucked. Sometimes we have to look back just to see that not everything was bad. Sometimes we like to skip over the good stuff because it doesn't last forever, but the bad things didn't last forever either, did they. Celebrate that too? Feel the gratitude for the lessons that you learned and for what went well. And then finally this is a big one I want you to make a list of only three things that you would do differently. You don't want the list to be a mile long or you're going to feel overwhelmed. Just keep it to your top three, even just one thing, if you just want to focus on one. This is where you're going to start.

Megan Devito:

When you decide that you're ready to make some changes, whether it's in the new year or the new moment, whenever, what do you think about making those changes and what do you hear yourself saying? Or do you notice that you feel it's really important to notice what you're thinking when you think about doing something differently or when you think about making changes? Are you already thinking this is never going to work. This is going to be way too hard. I'm never going to stick to this. I am never going to be able to do this? Those are anxious thoughts trying to keep you stuck, and I can help you let go of them, because I've had them too. I've worked through them, and it's just the process of learning what you're actually thinking and why you think it. Let me start right now by acknowledging that if you've never done this before, I know it can feel big. That is especially true if you are critical of yourself. Remember, that's where we started this episode.

Megan Devito:

We're just looking at where you are in life and where you want to go. We're looking over your past, and that's a great place to gather information, but we're not hanging out there. There's a really, really powerful part of what I do when I'm coaching people where we say what happened in the past? How are we moving forward? This is really the difference between therapy and coaching. Therapy does a fantastic job of healing your past, helping you deal with past situations. Coaching acknowledges the past, that it exists, and we move forward. I can help you look back and find the information that you need to move forward so that you don't drown in the things that you think you messed up or gave up, or what you should have done instead, or even, sometimes, things that happened to you. We can do that all without having to rehash past trauma. It can also help you decide what you want to do from now on and make those new things that you want to do turn into habits that stick, so that you aren't repeating that same cycle over and over and over again and feeling like garbage.

Megan Devito:

You're going to start noticing that sneaky thoughts, those old sneaky thoughts that kept you stuck or afraid, are disappearing little by little, one little step at a time. Again, small little bites and steps. So, for example, let's say you've been wanting to go out and meet new friends, but time after time after time, you just find yourself thinking that this is too hard. I don't know how adults make friends. I don't know where to meet people. I'm boring. Who would want to hang out with me? I'm a terrible friend, I am way too introverted and I just like to stay home.

Megan Devito:

Whatever your story is, it doesn't matter. Even though you would really like to be making new friends, you just don't, because you do the same things every single day and you wonder why you're not finding new friends. I went to Target today and I didn't make any friends. Yeah, okay, so that didn't work for you. Let's find something that does. You might go to one new thing. You say, okay, I'm going to go to this group, and you just go one time and then give up because you were uncomfortable. Or you tell yourself that nobody wanted to talk to you anyway, and then you believe it, and then it's too hard and you just spiral back down. I'm going to help you.

Megan Devito:

Come up with a plan and for this example, we're going to say to make new friends, but it could be anything. How do you want to meet them? How do you want to introduce yourself? How do you want to feel confident? What do you want to do? Where would these people even go? We're going to ask all those questions.

Megan Devito:

So whatever it is that's on your list for this upcoming year, get solved. That's just one example, and we can talk about this on how the evaluation works and how coaching can help you on a consultation call from 2024 or from whenever you're listening forward. So to find out how I can help you, go after whatever is on your list. You just go to the show notes, click the link. It'll be right close to the one with the evaluation sheet that I'm going to send out to and let's talk about how your evaluation went or what you came up with, and I want to know what worked and what didn't work in your top fives and your three things that you want to do differently, and you can learn more about how I can also help you through coaching on that call and you'll have a great step forward to whatever it is that you want.

Megan Devito:

Next, whether you decide to do coaching or not, these calls are super fun and they're really eye-opening. So you get to see what you're doing now that might be keeping you stuck and you get to see what needs to happen instead, so you know where to go next. If I don't talk to you on a call this week, I will be back next week with another episode. Take care and happy New Year. I hope you enjoyed this episode of the More Than Anxiety podcast. Be sure to subscribe and leave a review so others can easily find this resource as well. And, of course, if you're ready to feel more relaxed, have more energy, more confidence and a lot more fun, go to megandevitocom forward slash work with me, or just to the show notes to talk to me more about coaching. See you soon.

Evaluating and Improving Your Year
Reflecting on the Past Year, Moving Forward
Finding Gratitude and Making Positive Changes
Benefits of Coaching for Personal Growth