This time of year is a reflective time for me. I feel the pace of things slowing down. I welcome the opportunity to thing about the year and begin to think about how I will shift for the year ahead.
For me, making time to truly reconnect with myself at my core allows me to do several things. First, I get to shift if I've drifted too far from my values and core. How do I know if that's happening? For me it's very visceral... I physically feel out of sorts, sluggish, tired, unfocused, a tad crabby --- scrunchy --- if you ever ask me how I'm feeling and I tell you scrunchy, this is what I"m talking about.
Second, I still have time to realign with goals that may have gotten pushed aside. I still have a couple months to make progress before year's end.
Third, I get to start thinking about all that I HAVE done and celebrate in small and not so small ways. For me, the feeling of pride is a great motivator. I love taking inventory of what I've set out to do and bask in what I've accomplished. And by the way, making a decision to change things up also gets celebrated--- probably even more so, because it's sometimes harder to make a change once you've made a decision about something and committed to it. The difference between making a decision to change course versus simply quitting is something only you can define--- BUT, sticking with something that ISN'T working.... is that what you want to celebrate?
So here is a simple way to take start going down that path. Think about your own year... the things you set out to do. Figure out where you are and how you're feeling. Really take stock. Once you've done that, think about what you'd like to Start, Stop & Continue. This is a tactic people use on projects, and you may have even used it yourself.
You want to think about all the things that you're doing or have changed that are working well.... those are the things you want to CONTINUE.
You also want to think about things you're doing that aren't working..... figure out a way to STOP doing those things. A BIG example of this for me is my decision to stop having a retail store front. A SMALL example would be having a monthly set date with a friend for coffee... it turned out that even though we both thought it would make our lives easier and we'd see each other more, it actually was stress-inducing. Rarely could we make the date and ended up rescheduling most of the time. That date idea (for us) had to STOP.
And finally, what do you need to START doing? What kind of feedback have you heard? What would make your life better? And while it can be fun to think of all the great things you could start doing, try to limit it to 1 or 2. Begin that, work it, then go from there.
Getting into this mindset of reflection will prepare you for bigger planning and you'll have lots to start from.
What is one thing your going to Start, Stop or Continue?
It will come as no surprise to many of you that I love me some good visioning. It is a technique that I have used to great success for most of my life... from a wee sporty and competitive girl to ambitious woman and all the stages in between, it not only helps me focus, but more importantly it lays the foundation of BELIEVING that I can and WILL achieve what I set out to do.
I have found that often times the thing we want the most is, for whatever reason, the thing we think we can't have.... and that sets in motion a whole lotta challenges that frankly, you just don't need.
A powerful way to turn those self-limiting beliefs around is to engage in some visualization. You have the power within you to create the life you truly desire.
Start at the END... what does your future you look like... what are you doing... how are you living... and what does that feel like? Once you have created a powerful mind-picture (Vision) for yourself, you can work backwards and create goals to help you bring to life this clear vision.
Working one on one with folks to help them map our their course is something I love doing. Seeing you achieve your true desires brings me great joy. One of my favorite quotes, attributed to Theodore Roosevelt is: Believe you can and your halfway there.
What vision are you working on bringing to life?
During this time of year it is only natural to think about making shifts... changes... new beginnings. It is also quite natural to be impacted by the energy of change that is in the air. And it's a great motivator to commit.
Typically we don't have trouble jumping in and starting. The real challenge is in sustaining the momentum.
Change can be difficult. Even when it's a change we WANT. So... to help you sustain the the effort and changes, I offer a few easy steps:
1- Partner with a friend. It can be reinforcing to have someone who knows what you are working towards. She can help cheer you on and keep you on track. Just be sure to understand what your motivators are. Do you like being held accountable? Gentle support? Tough love? Whatever your preferences, have a conversation up front with your partner so you can agree on how best to support each other.
2- Build in reflection time. Often we are so focused on the main goal and outcome that we neglect the effort and changes that are happening along the way. True change doesn't happen overnight. Your willingness to continue the path is worth celebrating. Take time to take stock of not only where you are headed, but where you began. Note the shifts. Celebrate the wins... even if, or especially if you feel there have been detours along the way. Remember, it's not how much we fall down that matters, but how often we get back up.
3- Chart your course for change incrementally. Small steps are easier to incorporate into your life. Let's say you want to wake up an hour earlier each morning. Instead of flipping the switch and setting the alarm to shock your system by an hour in the morning, choose a smaller increment. Maybe 15 minutes earlier. Or 10. Or how about just 5. It won't be so jarring and you'll be able to sustain the changes more easily. Just keep making the small incremental movements until you reach the goal. And then celebrate the hell out of it!
What is a goal you are going after this year? How can I help you get there?
Living a joy*filled life is a top priority. Here I will share what I learn along the way.