Jump Start the Change You’re Looking for: A 5-Step Plan for Your Own Personal Retreat
Step 1: Ask “Why?”
Coaching Questions for Step 1:
- Why are you interested in a personal retreat?
- What struggles do you have that you hope a retreat will help you with?
- What do you hope a retreat will provide you with to help you in the short term? Long term?
Step 2: Set a Goal.
- Specific: Avoid vague statements like “I want to feel happy” or “I want to enjoy myself”. Aim for measureable and targeted goals like “I want to lower my daily stress level from a 10 to a 5” or “I will be able to stay focused on a difficult task for an hour straight”.
- Measurable: By the end of the retreat, you should be able to review your goals and clearly state “Yes, I accomplished that,” or “No, I did not accomplish that.
- Attainable: Make sure your goal is something you can actually influence. For example, I wanted to spend time working on my relationship, but I can’t do that alone. I could, however, set a goal to improve things that I have control over, such as how I react to my spouse when I’m angry or frustrated.
- Relevant: Be sure to pick a goal or goals that are consistent with the purpose of the retreat (e.g., “finish laundry” might be an important todo, but less relevant to the actual retreat planning)
- Time-bound: Make the goal appropriate for the time you put aside. Don’t set a goal to get in shape or write a whole novel if you only have a week.
Coaching Questions for Step 2:
- What does success look like to you for this retreat? What specifically do you want to accomplish over this period of time?
- How will you know if you’re successful?
- Tip: Be gentle with yourself, you can’t (and don’t want to) change everything overnight!
Step 3: Identify Barriers.
Coaching Questions for Step 3:
- What are some existing personal/emotional/mental barriers you typically face in the process of learning/self-reflecting/etc.? What are some insecurities or anxieties that could surface throughout this process?
- What are some things that might get in the way of finishing your personal retreat?
- What are some things that might get in the way of achieving the goal that you set?
- What might you need or want to help you through these tough moments? Is there a mantra, a person, an activity, or a resource that typically calms you or helps you to push through?
Step 4: Make a Plan.
Tips for Planning:
- Put aside some time before the retreat to prepare in order to limit commitments to others and responsibilities around the house/work as much as possible. Buy groceries or do laundry ahead of time, arrange for a baby-sitter, or talk to a partner or friend about helping out with errands during your retreat.
- Build in time for the things you absolutely can’t avoid. Maybe there’s an appointment or a work dinner you can’t reschedule. Make them a part of the plan and work around them.
Step 5: Retreat!
Coaching Questions for Throughout the Retreat:
- Each morning/At the beginning à How am I feeling about my plan for now/today? What might I change based on how I’m feeling or based on what I know now/learned yesterday?
- Each evening/At the end à What made me feel proud of myself? What did I learn about myself or this process? What went well, what was a challenge?