Entering 2018, Johannes Damsgaard-Bruhn wrote this piece about how to use retrospectives for New Years resolutions. This year I, Hanne Rathcke from Cobraid, will try this as well – and you can see my reflections added in this post. I will update this blog post with the progress.
I’ve been through a retrospective with myself. You are hereby invited to follow along and see how I did – and maybe be inspired. Then we might all have New Years resolutions that are measurable, concrete and manageable.
Set the scene
All retrospectives start by setting the scene: Today I’m going to make New Years resolutions that I will be able to keep! And we already know that we will need to follow up on it in 3 weeks with a new retrospective. We can’t just wait until next year to see the progress with our New Years resolutions.
Deals from last time – what do we need to follow up on?
If you made any resolutions last year then make a status on those: Did they work? Did you achieve what you wanted?
Johannes: I had a resolution to get more exercise in my every day. I haven’t done that well. I sit down too much and take my car instead of my bike.
Hanne: I’ve been wanting to eat more healthy for a while, but have never really done something about it before. Now’s the time to put energy and thought into it.
What happened since last retrospective?
When we make retrospectives we look back at the entire last year: What went well? What would I like to change?
Johannes: During the year I’ve tried to start taking morning walks. It went well for a couple of weeks. But then I got too busy and had a lot of excuses to not do it that day. It broke the routine and then soon walking in the morning was over.
I also tried running, but I only made it a few times. It wasn’t for me. Also I hurt my knee this summer so I need something that doesn’t put as much stress on it as running.
Hanne: I really enjoy well made healthy food! And I like cooking. But since last year I’ve gotten a lot more busy with work and a two-year old taking up my time at home. That means planning and shopping has gone to the back of my mind and priorities, so I often end up eating what’s in the kitchen at the time, which is often is frozen food, canned foods or dry foods and no fresh vegetables.
What needs changing?
Beside our reflections from last year we find out what needs changing.
Johannes: I enjoy morning air. I want to stick with that.
Hanne: I enjoy cooking, but often don’t get to it because I don’t have time to plan and shop. I’d like to make sure I still cook.
What’s most important to change now?
There are more things that need planning – like always. That’s why it’s important to prioritize.
Johannes: I liked walking, but my knee cannot take it. I’ll start with something better for the knee – like biking. I actually enjoy biking, so that works out fine.
Hanne: I need to make it easier to plan and shop.
What needs changing and who will do it?
When everything is prioritized the next step is actions. They have to be realistic, measurable and concrete. And I need to have done it for next retrospective.
Johannes: II know I won’t bike every morning. That’s just not realistic. On the other hand, I need to bike at least once before my next retrospective. My action will therefore be to bike 4-5 km Tuesday and Thursday morning. That makes for six bike rides before next retrospective. That’s a nice and realistic start!
But I also know I need to be motivated and kept up with. Then I make an action for my wife, Karen, to push me into going.
For the practical stuff, I know I won’t go if the bike, the clothes, the water bottle and a banana is not laid out ready for me. So I will need to do that the evening before. Then the decision will be taken once I wake up and put on the clothes. It’s not about IF I go, but WHEN I go.
Hanne: I need to think of a plan to make this happen. That’s why I’ve chosen to sign up for a service that delivers all the ingredients and recipes for healthy food right to my door each week. To start with I think two meals a week like this is enough to start with since I often eat at work a few times a week as well. If order too much I know I won’t make it. So before next retrospective I will need to chose and sign up for a service and then actually make the food. That makes for at least 4 meals before next time.
To make sure I remember the great dishes and can go back and look at what I made – to maybe replicate it – I will keep a folder in the kitchen for the recipes and make sure I go to that if I’m ever out of ideas for dinner.
On top of this I’ll make sure to always have fresh fruit and healthy snacks at home.
Time for a game
Ending a retrospective with a game will always give a little smile.
Johannes: Playing a game alone is not that fun. So I’ll just take a cup of coffee and enjoy it. Then I have my energy ready to start a New Year.
Hanne: I’ll also take a cup of coffee, but if you are making goals or retrospectives for more than one person, see this article by Johannes’ colleague Birte Laursen about integrating play into work.
You always need to sum up your retrospectives in a resume. It doesn’t have to be large or long – just the important parts: The actions.
Johannes: I’ve got three actions:
- Biking 4-5 km every Tuesday and Thursday morning before 10:00. Responsible: Me.
- Giving me extra motivation for going. Responsible: My wife, Karen
- Making ready for the trip. Responsible: Me.
To easily remember I print them out and put them on the fridge, where both Karen and I can see it.
Next retrospective: In three weeks. I’ll go through my resolution and check the status.
Hanne: I’ve got four actions, all for myself to take care of:
- Pick a supplier and sign up for meal service
- Make the food before the next delivery shows up
- Put the recipes in a folder in the kitchen
- Make sure to always have fruits and other healthy snacks
Since I’ve got physical reminders of my actions I will surely remember them.
In three weeks I’ll go through my retrospective again and see if the service is working for me – and if I need to order more than two meals per week.
I hope you will make some great actions for this next year.
We hope you enjoy
Johannes and Hanne
Johannes: Did I bike? You might think. Yes I did – I was happily surprised. You can watch a little clip of it here.
Hanne: I’ll keep you updated in 2019!