2022 Personal Retreat Flow

Justin Foster
3 min readNov 29, 2021


Thomas Merton’s Hermitage in Kentucky

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Every year since 2011, I’ve gone on a personal retreat at the end of the year. Each personal retreat has brought epiphanies, reflection, new practices, leaving some things behind, intentions and plans. Although the format and locations have evolved, one thing is consistent: a flow/agenda. This flow keeps things fluid but focused. Several years ago, I started sharing my personal retreat flow on my blog. These turned out to be some of the more popular content I’ve shared, so I’m excited to do so again.

A few thoughts on personal retreats …

  • If you spend a lot of your normal time with your partner, kids, etc and currently don’t have a solitude practice, I strongly encourage you to do these personal retreats solo. Once you develop a consistent solitude practice, the personal retreats could include your partner, a friend, etc.
  • One night away works, but two nights is better.
  • The personal retreat is not a vacation, but it’s also not a worktrip. It is a third way — which means you will have to watch your mindset about it.
  • I don’t do goal setting or fixed plans. I used to, but life’s unexpectedness humbled me.

Below is the flow and itinerary I’m using for 2022. Feel free to use it as is, pull inspiration from it for your own agenda, adapt it to your needs. If you do a personal retreat and feel like sharing what came up for you, just drop me a note (justin at fosterthinking dot com).


“In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.”
Albert Camus

2022 Personal Retreat Flow

Prompting questions:

What was 2021’s biggest accomplishment/success?

What was 2021’s biggest failure and what did I learn from it?

What do I wish I would have done more of in 2021? Less of?

What are my current unanswered questions?

What themes (words or phrases) for 2022 are coming to mind?

What do I want to be feeling one year from now?

What assets or resources do I have?

What am I avoiding?

What new habits or practices do I want to implement in 2022?

What’s 2022’s “Magic Number”?

What projects do I want to finish in 2022?

What tangible thing(s) do I want to create in 2022?

Flow of the day

  • Hearty breakfast
  • Movement (yoga, walk)
  • Meditation on creativity
  • Light journaling to set intentions
  • Flow through the prompts at a steady but unhurried pace
  • Lunch
  • Nap
  • Review progress and continue prompts
  • Leisure time + dinner

Next day:

  • Hearty breakfast
  • Movement (yoga, walk)
  • Meditation on creativity
  • Light journaling
  • Review responses and adjust if needed
  • Craft a recap of the prompts and share with a small group of close friends


  • Create as much unbound time as possible. Have a start time to your day and let it flow from there.
  • Trust the energy. Don’t force anything but be disciplined and present.
  • Be aware of trying too hard, striving, perfectionism and other ego-based tendencies.
  • Don’t overstimulate yourself physiologically, psychologically or spiritually.
  • Music, alcohol, plant medicine, digital disconnection are all up to your preferences. There is no right or wrong formula!



Justin Foster

Co-founder of Massive, a conscious business leadership coaching practice. Poet, essayist, music & coffee snob.