The end of a calendar year – with a new year on the horizon – provides many people with an opportunity for reflection. Individuals ask themselves questions like:
- What is working well in their lives, career, leadership, relationships, etc.?
- What is not working well in those areas and what behaviors might we leave behind for good?
- What do they want the following year to be like?
- How can they get more aligned with their purpose, or even, begin to answer the question, “what is their purpose?”
It feels like the new year is a new start. This leads us to see many people writing about or talking about resolutions, goals, and intentions for the new year.
Start at Any Time
I am one of those people who reflect upon what was, what is and what is possible for the upcoming year. The good news is the date really doesn’t matter. This practice doesn’t need to be done at the beginning of the year. That’s the beauty of this. At any time, you can choose who you want to be and identify the shifts that will help you move closer to being that person. I encourage people at some point this year to take stock on who and how they want to be going forward.
Choose a Process That is Meaningful
There is no one right way to do this. That’s the good news. Over the years this process has changed for me. The most important step is choosing a process that is meaningful to you. I’ll list out a few of the ways I have done this process in the past. See if any of these resonate. If not, hopefully they inspire a new process for you.
I used to focus solely on goals and finding quantifiable metrics that could help me measure my progress. I set 1-3 for the year. At that point in my life, the structure that the goals and metrics provided me with gave me the support I needed to shift.
At another point in my life, I chose 3 words that would embody the year. Fun. Creativity. Connection. I would aim to add things to my life that were missing to ensure my life embodied those three words.
I also loved Stephen Covey’s Important + Urgent quadrants from his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I would really think about what was in the not-urgent/important quadrant and see how I could spend more time with those areas than always being sucked into the urgent/important or urgent/not-important quadrants.
Some time later, I focused not on what I wanted to do, but how I wanted my life to feel. I wanted to feel rejuvenated, or inspired, or calm.
5. What I needed most
This year, I started with how I wanted the year to feel, but it wasn’t matching up with what I needed most to be the person I want to be this year. So, I pivoted a bit. I asked myself how I wanted to be this year. What came to mind immediately for me was the word ‘presence’. I wanted to be more present this year. Last year felt unfocused, scattered, and chaotic to me. I was constantly doing things that needed to be done, especially given the 2nd topsy turvy pandemic year we had. I was feeling exhausted. This year I want to be fully present in what I am doing. For me, this means shifting some of the things I do throughout my day. I’m choosing to bring in more meditative or quiet, reflective practices into my day, to create an awareness of what distracts me most throughout the day, to stop viewing multi-tasking as this wonderful gift I possess and focus on what’s at hand, to not jump on my email first thing in the morning.
Music is important in my life. Almost every year I pick a new song that embodies my hopes for the year. It’s often a song that I play when I want to get pumped up, when I’m stressed, when I’ve had a bad day, etc. It’s often my motivation song and a song I find solace in when the day is tough. My song for 2022 is India Arie’s Just Do You.
Now It’s Your Turn
What do you want 2022 to be like or feel like? Who do you want to be? How might you shift this year? Whatever method you choose, I recommend you spend some time reflecting on these questions. The beautiful thing about life is that we can choose who we want to be and we can choose to shift ourselves to become closer to that person. It’s definitely not an easy road. Old behavior patterns and external forces will pull us back, but making the choice will help lead you to change.