It's a brand new year and all around us is conversation about New Year's Resolutions. Some people make them and some people don't - but lots of people have opinions about them!
Regardless of whether or not you make a formal New Year's Resolution, each new year brings a certain energy with it and begs us to answer the question: What am I going to do with this brand new year?
Maybe your answer to that question is short and simple, but for many folks, there might be lots of possible answers.
If that sounds like you, here are three steps that can help you hone in on where you want to focus your energy.
- Check in with yourself - Schedule some time for some personal inquiry and then ask yourself a simple question: "Where would I like to be this time next year?" Then, answer that question honestly. You might do some journaling, or praying, or dreaming, or doodling to stimulate your creativity. There's no right way to find your answer. The idea is to allow yourself to look for the growth opportunities that are calling to you.
- Figure out where you are - What you uncovered in the first step will lead you naturally to take stock of your current situation - especially as it relates to the area where you'd like to achieve some growth. You have to start from wherever you are, so give yourself the freedom to notice and say whatever there is for you to say about what is currently so. In mindfulness, this is the attitude of acceptance. Accept things just as they are and just as they aren't. This doesn't mean that you are resigned to them being this way - it simply means that you are able to recognize the situation as it is, without denying or judging it. When you accept, rather than resist, what is so, you will gain freedom to respond creatively, rather than react, to your situation. There are many self-assessment tools available, depending on your area of focus, so pick one that works for you. This Brief Wellness Self-Assessment is a free tool that explores a number of areas that impact well-being.
- Notice the gap — Once you know where you are and where you want to go, the next step might seem simple - but that doesn't mean it is easy. At this point, you may have a list of several areas where you'd like to grow. For most folks, it is important not to take on too much too fast. As you review the list, notice how you feel about the prospect of taking action in that area. Do you feel excited? Overwhelmed? Confident? Confused? Each of these experiences will give you data about your best next step. You are most likely to be successful if you choose a focus that is important to you AND that you feel confident about your chances for success. If you really want to tackle something that feels out of reach, consider working with a coach to find an approach that will support your success.
Now that you've honed in on one or two focus areas, you're ready to set specific goals. You can find more about setting goals that work in my free resource "Five Essential Steps to Greater Well-Being"
What about you? What tools or practices help you to find your focus? Please share your experience in the comments below!