Monday, December 26, 2016

December Resolutions Update – Phase 3: Progression

The day after Christmas – a day to unwind from the mad flurry of the holiday season, to recharge before going back to work (sorry if you had to work today), and to find some time to yourself after spending weeks checking off items from your to-do or shopping lists in order to make this holiday weekend enjoyable.

Today is a good day to find a quiet corner, hold a nice cup of coffee or tea in your hands, and either start reading that new book you bought for yourself or play a fun board game with your kids.

I’ve had my coffee and I’ve had some quiet time (board games will come later), but now it’s time to work on what will help me recharge and that’s getting back to preparing for the New Year.  It’s time to work on what it’s going to take to make next year a great year.

Progression is the next phase for me in this resolution month.  Looking up the definition of the word “progression,” you’ll find: “a gradual change or advancement from one state to another” or “forward movement.”  This is perfect, since each time I try to figure out what my 2017 word will be (picking just one word is more difficult than I thought it would be), I keep coming back to either movement or momentum.   

Beginning a new season means change, implementing what it will take to bring about the change you want will result in forward movement, and staying on course with your plan as you look ahead at the possibilities the new season may bring will cause momentum. 

All positive results.  And that’s what I’m going for.

I began this new season by reflecting on the past year.  I’ve really tried to dig deep, to learn from the past 12 months, and to let go of what can hold me back.  As I move into the New Year and endless possibilities, I’ve decided to focus on personal growth and professional momentum and the way for me to get there is to find a balance and to live a creative life.  As I progress with positive movement, I will achieve those goals as I continue to look ahead at the possibilities. 

For me, again, it’s all about focus. 

To progress with positive movement, I will begin with affirmations.  Everyone wants to do better in life, whether that involves physical, mental, professional or otherwise.  Affirmations will pave the way for my intentions and sticking to those intentions will provide great results as long as I stay committed to the possibilities. 

There’s a saying I have on my desk that will likely be a motto for me during 2017:

To achieve a balanced and creative life, I will believe in the possibilities and I’ll have fun imagining what’s to come.  That said, moving forward now leaves me with the last and final phase of this resolution month, and that is to state my intentions, or my resolutions, for the coming year.

 See you next week!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

December Resolutions Update – Phase 2: Possibilities

Imagine standing next to a very large hole in the ground; one you’ve carefully dug as you rooted around for rocks, all representing your past actions, events  and decisions over the course of a year.  Also next to the hole is your large pile of rocks and on the other side of that pile is a cliff. Now imagine that after you’ve dug out the rocks, you examine each one carefully and decide which ones to keep and which ones to throw away. The rocks representing what will help you move forward, help you continue to develop personally or professionally, were the result of positive experiences or may continue to provide additional lessons to be used in the year ahead are all tossed back into the hole for safekeeping. The rocks representing decisions or experiences that make you feel anxious, may limit you, will likely provide little to no encouragement or could hold you back completely are all thrown over the side of the cliff.

Now imagine what you will see when you’ve completed that task. Will your hole be full of rocks, or will most of the rocks be found at the bottom of the cliff?

Sunrise on Haleakala (House of the Sun) - Maui
Regardless of whether this past year resulted in more positive or negative experiences, whether the hole you dug out is now partially full of rocks or completely empty, the real task is letting go of what can hold you back.  What’s left after letting go of what can hold you back will be a hole full of rocks representing positivity, purpose, and possibilities. Throwing the rocks over the cliff is just my way of saying to let go; not to forget how something affected you, or pretending it never happened, but to acknowledge it, learn from it, move on from it and let it go so that you can enjoy what life still has to offer.

I’ve done my best to dig deep when it came to the task of reflection, how this past year has challenged me, what I’ve accomplished, what it has taught me, and how I can use what I’ve learned to make next year a better year. To be honest, I’ve thrown more rocks over the side of the cliff than back into the hole. It was just that kind of year.

However, now that I’ve earned my badge of reflection, I’m moving on to the idea of possibilities. By evaluating this past year, reevaluating what I should do differently, mapping out a plan to reach my goals and forging ahead with positive thoughts and exhilarating expectations, I can look ahead at what’s to come.

So what do I look forward to in the coming year? 

What possibilities are out there for me? 

There are so many opportunities to look forward to, to transform, to develop, to learn from, to cultivate. Looking ahead, the possibilities are endless, but for me, focus is the key to staying on course. I look forward to many possibilities, both personally and professionally, but personal growth and professional momentum are mainly what I plan to focus on. Finding a balance and living a creative life will be my goals.

To reach those goals, I’ll need to implement a plan to move ahead towards the possibilities, which means moving into the next phase of this resolution month: progression.

Have a great day and I’ll see you next week!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

December Resolutions Update - Phase 1: Reflection

I stand firm in my decision to make December my resolution month – especially when the task at hand is more than just making a simple list of resolutions: eat better, drink more water, write another book, exercise more regularly…very generic resolutions that are easy to make or break depending on the mood on any given day.
Yellowstone Lake

My list of resolutions is still in the making while I work through certain phases, and the first part of my resolution phase involves reflection. 

This may seem simple, but when you really try to dig deep and get honest with yourself, it can take time and energy to get through this phase.  Looking back at what occurred over the past year is easy enough; experiences, celebrations, milestones, challenges, successes, what was gained, who or what was lost.  The list may be long, or it may be short, but overall the list can be limited to factual data.

Evaluating what has occurred in the past, when it comes to the date, time, place, and what happened…that’s the easy part.  However, when you reflect on how each event affected you, that particular task can be difficult and it can take some time.  But to find honest answers to prepare for another (and hopefully better) New Year, you should be taking the time.

To begin, think about your fears, dreams, feelings, beliefs, values, wants and needs.  These are the types of questions I’ve been asking myself:

Did your dreams come true?  Or did your fears become a reality? 

Did you surprise yourself with your bravery or did your fears overcome your courage? 

Have you stayed true to yourself, your values and your beliefs?  Or did your worries and doubts push you to become someone you don’t recognize? 

When thinking about the past year, what were you able to accomplish?  What challenged you?  How did both the accomplishments and the challenges change your life?  What did they teach you about yourself? 

What lessons will you take with you into the New Year? 

What will you be willing to let go of? 

What are you grateful for?  What do you regret?

What made you happy?  Is it something you can continue with or do again?

What made you unhappy?  Was it temporary?  Can you move on from it?  Or is it something that needs to be forgiven beforehand?

What do you want to leave in the past?  What do you want to continue with or make better in the future?

My answers to the above questions were a combination of both expected and unexpected results when it came to what I discovered about myself.  The past year was another difficult one for me, but what I can do with what I’ve learned about myself after some reflection is nothing but positive.  Fully armed with this knowledge about myself, I can move forward into the New Year with a framework to make this next year a better year. 

With Phase 1 of my resolution month complete, I’ll be moving on to the next phase: looking ahead at the possibilities.  

See you next week!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

December has become my Resolution month

It’s only the first part of December, but I’m beginning to feel the pull to begin working on some changes that I wouldn’t usually feel the need to think about until the end of this month. You know what I’m talking about – that drive to make a change because the New Year is upon us? 

I’m not sure exactly why I already feel the desire to switch things up; I just feel the need to make changes now, rather than when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Day.

Maybe it’s due to the accomplishment of getting through NaNoWriMo and completing the challenge of reaching my goal of 50,000 words last month. Yes! I finished the challenge and was able to reach my goal of over 50,000 words, which means I am that much closer to completing my next novel.

I’ve put in all that time, and kept up with a strict writing schedule which allowed me to prove to myself that I haven’t lost my passion. I can’t lose that momentum. It would result in the month of November being a terrible waste of time if I lose the persistence and the inspiration which led me to complete the writing challenge. It may take a challenge such as NaNoWriMo to get the fingers flying on the keyboard, but once those 30 days are over, it takes regular effort and desire to continue to stay on task.

That means making resolutions now, not when the calendar changes to January 1st. So instead of waiting until January, I’m going to phase into positive change and goal-inspired momentum now. The upside to this is that by January, the movement towards my goals will already be in place so that I’ll be ahead of the game when the New Year rolls around. 

That would result in beginning the New Year already in the black.

Part of the plan of action to gain momentum means taking stock in a few things and getting prepared for what’s necessary to stay on task. I discovered a few mini-courses I’m going to take part in, which will generate lists for me to focus on as I move into a fresh new year. It’s no secret, I love lists; whatever type of lists help keep me and my mind organized. To move ahead into the New Year with a positive attitude, continuous inspiration and a constant flow of productivity, I’ll need to reflect on a number of things, plan a course of action, map out my goals, and keep on hand a list of the tools necessary to evaluate my course should I find myself moving in an unexpected direction. 

I may expect much from the month of December, but I look forward to moving ahead, ready to set sail on a constant course with my lists in hand.

I’ll continue to check in each week with an update. Until next time…have a great week!