As I was thinking about the approaching New Year, I began to think about how we tend to set resolutions for ourselves; hitting a reset button in our minds on the old, and welcoming in the potential of the new.  I, too, have defined new goals that I will strive for in 2018.  It also dawned on me that, with these new goals, it can be easy to become myopic, and lose sight of what it is we already have, and value, in our lives.  Setting new goals while maintaining time, focus, and gratitude for what allows us the space to grow and develop into a new year.

I believe resolutions, as with most growth, is about redefining our identity; who we will be and present ourselves to be, in the world.  It’s about the continuous fine-tuning, if you will, of what we consider most essential to expressing our very souls.  We don’t want to get lost in our jobs, our chores, our errands – we want to be defining our lives and what we fill them with.  Identity reshaping, as I know from coaching many, as well as myself, can be not only a bit scary at times, but also a bit disorienting.  We’ve never been this newly-defined person before in the world.

I think one of the keys to transformation is knowing what makes you, you.  What do you do that makes you feel the most connected to yourself, or to life?  For me, I have been writing since I can remember.  So, when I feel identity shifts happening within me, I often will begin to write, so that I know I am still me as I take in these new characteristics that I am striving to incorporate into my whole.  What is it for you that lets you know you are you?  If you can, don’t base it on others, and the role you engage with them, but just think of you as your own being.  Perhaps the changing of the seasons is what taps your soul, or a certain style of music, or an art you do, or deep conversation, or a playful activity?  Knowing this is key to allowing change to occur, as it is your one foot in the bubble of safety that holds you anchored.

So, how do we create and allow for these new resolutions while ensuring we hold dear to what we already value?  I thought about this long and hard, and as I see it, we need to continuously be reminding ourselves of why we are striving for the changes we are striving for.  Why do we care that we make these changes?  Who is impacted by these changes?  When I think about going to graduate school for my Masters degree, I hold in my heart that it is not just to achieve this goal for myself.  One of the greatest reasons to invest five years toward this effort is to improve the stability of my life, and thus the life I can share with my family.  It’s not just to get to share in the transformation of others, but also to ensure I am constantly asking those hard questions of myself, thus improving my relationships as well.  It’s not just to improve my financial stability, but to give me confidence that I can provide for the ones I love in a way that I feel content with.  If I can hold these as truths throughout my journey, then my intention behind my study time is built on that foundation of family.

There is also that essential piece of reality and time.  In order to show that you value something, you genuinely have to make time for it.  If I bury my head in the graduate books for five years, rarely looking up, those I cherish will have changed and grown, and what I held dear that I shared with them will likely have tarnished. So, it’s about scheduling, too.  Accepting the time I will have to study, as I divide it with embracing what I already hold dear, and allowing that to be enough.

So, as you reach for these new goals of 2018, I encourage you to also write out why it is you want those changes and who will be impacted by them.  Asking yourself how a new identity, with those changes, can fit into your life in a way that allows you to hold dear all that you do.  I believe we are all capable of great change, if that is what we are seeking.  And part of great change is adjusting our outpouring of gratitude for how much we already have changed, and all that is now a part of our life that reflects that.

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