As a coach, almost all of my clients are on a precipice of change. They are looking into new careers. They are building new teams. They are building lives that require them to step up and become more of themselves.
2020 was a graduate course in requiring more of each of us.
This year pulled back a curtain on so many things we had been taking for granted. I’ve heard repeatedly “This year made me remember what really matters” and “This year made me see what I really want in my life.”
I’m hearing more and more that we’re ready and wishing to go “back to normal”. But to me, it seems like this is a one-way ticket. We’re not going back. So as we approach 2021, let's build on what we learned, what we uncovered, what we know to be true.
Let's work with the heart of what we learned in 2020. What really matters. We can take care of what we care about. Instead of setting goals to meet someone else’s expectation of us - to please our bosses, impress friends, get us more dates, etc.
Frame what you’ve learned in 2020.
Let New Year’s Resolutions become declarations about how you intend to take care of what you care about. Here’s one way to approach it:
1 / Name it: What do you care about?
Sure, we can rattle off some of the classics. We care about family and friends. We care about our health. But how?
- Spending time? Staying in touch?
- Listening with more presence?
- Maybe you care about work - but how?
- Advancing professionally? Why? For the sake of what?
- What do you truly care about with regard to your professional plans and goals?
2 / Measure it: How might you set a satisfactory bar?
For example, if spending time with family matters most, how will you accomplish this?
- Dinners 3x a week so you can make a meal together and connect?
- No-commitment Sunday so you have freedom to just be?
- What is the bar you’re setting for “spending time with family”?
3 / Schedule it: it’s on a calendar or it doesn’t exist.
Once you have your measurement of success, get tactical and schedule it. On a calendar. In this day and age, if it’s not on a calendar, will it ever just “happen”?
- When is it happening on your calendar?
- Who else needs to be aware of this?
- What needs to be planned?
- Do you need to take something else off the calendar or plan to protect this new scheduled goal?
4 / Learn and Adjust
The questions above might be simple, but they might not be easy. Sometimes we’re afraid to start because we might not know how to measure success. We might be a little unsure of what we really care about. That’s okay.
- Start with what you know
- Assess how it’s going
- Adjust accordingly
When we can name what we value, we can make a commitment
When we can name what we value, we can make a commitment. When we commit, we can take action. Action gets results that will bring us a feeling of satisfaction. We can plan on taking care of the things that are most important. It's a good life. It is satisfying.
And guess what? If you aren’t satisfied, take another look and adjust. What brings satisfaction in one season can feel pretty empty in the next. Action results in learning. Learning brings a deeper understanding and opens new possibilities.