Florence and the Machine inspired our post this month. For us, this song encapsulates what the New Year symbolizes – a time to plan, set intentions, chart a course, and set sail! Moreover, like any effort that requires planning and forethought, you don’t want to sabotage the delicate balance by taking on too much or failing to map your journey. Here are simple things you can do this month to keep your ship sailing in smooth waters all year long.
Pick a symbol for 2016.
A bit like a vision board, but simpler. Think of a word, a phrase, a picture, or a thing (power animal, anyone?) that symbolizes your vision for this year. Write it, print it, say it aloud. Last year, my word was refinement. Although, I didn’t pick it until three months in, “refinement” symbolized my commitment to say no to things that steered me away from my vision or that sapped my energy. It kept me on course for the remainder of the year.
Stay connected to your motivation.
Make two lists. The first will cover the top 10 things you do in your day-to-day that get you closer to your aspirations. Make sure to include self-care on your list. You can’t accomplish your goals if you are exhausted or burnt out! The second list should explicitly call out those things that fail to connect you with your vision. Put these lists somewhere you can refer to them. They will serve as a gentle reminder to ask yourself, “Is this worth my time?” Should I prioritize this over the other items I have on my to-do list?”
Plan to learn something new.
Learning new things keeps our minds open and imaginations active. Whether it’s a new technology that’s taking over your industry, a calming meditative technique, or a new productivity skill, set an intention for the first six months of the year. Research resources available to help you learn or hone this skill, and make a plan. Sometimes, it’s as simple as asking a friend to mentor you in your quest.
Give yourself the gift of time.
Dawna Ballard, a professor of Chronemics (the study of time’s role in human communication) at the University of Texas, recommends canceling one thing a week. While we don’t advocate bailing on date night with your spouse, or being a no-show at your child’s recital, taking a rain check on that weekly coffee with your friend won’t hurt. By canceling, you are also giving the other person a gift. 90% of the time they’ll be grateful for the extra time, even if they hadn’t asked for it!
Pause before you commit yourself.
Between work, family, friends, and personal pursuits, we’re all busy. When requests and invitations come your way, just wait. Allow yourself the room to sort through your feelings about these drains on your time. Refer to the two lists you made above as a way to vet the consequences of saying yes, or no.
Resolve to be more uncomfortable than you were in 2015.
Yes, uncomfortable. Let’s face it, more often than not comfort involves phoning it in. My wish for you this year is that you allow some discomfort into your life. You can indeed build a ship, put it out to sea, and just flow with the current…forever. However, if you want to reach your dream destination, you must set a course and steer into the wind.
Happy New Year, Creative Executive!