I credit my parents with instilling a positive attitude and can-do approach to life. It has helped me to see obstacles as opportunities, even as promptings toward personal transformation. A line from a cassette tape (yes, it’s that long ago!) my dad gave me frequently comes back to mind: “If you want to change some things in your life, you’ve got to change some things in your life!” At first, I remember thinking that this made no sense, or that it was just a clever punchline to grab the attention. Only now, years later do I see a different wisdom in it.
It now speaks to me of a process of change that is planned, consistent and achievable. The problem a lot of us encounter when trying to make changes in our lives is that the process of doing so tends to be the opposite of this – random, inconsistent and unrealistic. This is particularly true at the start of a new year. We are determined to make the coming year a great one. Goals are written, with every area of our lives targeted for upgrade. January begins and we try to do it all – take up exercise, change our diet, spend more time with family, change career, take up a new hobby. The result is usually that by February we feel overwhelmed, spread too thinly across our lives. In the words of Bilbo Baggins we feel ‘like butter spread over too much bread’. Trying to change many areas of our lives leaves us jumping from task to task, doing none very well and expending lots of energy in the process. As the goals begin to fall apart, we become fed up, lose our motivation and are back where we began, wondering why it must be so every time.
If this sounds familiar, then hopefully you will be open to trying a different approach. Over the next few articles, we will explore a different perspective. We’ll start by looking at your life as a whole, then at what you value most, an inventory of the things that mean most to you if you like. Once you have uncovered these core values, you use them to set your annual goals. However, we’ll be looking at a different process to help you achieve these. Once your goals are written down, we will establish actions to help you move forward in each one. The process will be clear, consistent and achievable. Hopefully, it will provide a blueprint for ongoing change for you.
Our first step is to identify those areas of your life in which you would like to effect positive change in the coming year. Use the ‘Wheel of Life’ exercise in the attached sidebar to do this. Next week, we will use this information to further clarify what is most important to you in your life. Once you put pen to paper, the process of change has already begun. Let’s make it a year to remember!