A clean slate. A fresh start. Ah, the enormous possibilities of a brand new year.
As a leadership coach, I often feel conflicted about New Year's resolutions. On the one hand, it's a natural time of the year to evaluate the past and refocus forward. Practically speaking, I tend to pick up a lot of new business in January! But on the other hand, "resolutions" are often code for "do more!" And for a culture that lives on overload, "more" is rarely a workable solution. Often, what is most needed for life alignment is less...or different...or a different way of thinking altogether.
In fact, when it comes to meaningful and effective resolutions, seems to me they should reflect the particular season of life we currently occupy. Take a look at these 5 seasons and see how they might inform your resolve in 2014. I've also added a resolution guide for those who might be in transition from one stage to the next.
- Optimistic: Our first season of human development (teens and 20s) is typically marked by youthful zeal, naivete, and an open, receiving posture toward life.
- Resolution: What can I explore this year?
- Transition: Where can I focus this year?
- Industrious: The second season of life is often about productivity and is usually focused upon externals like career and key relationships.
- Resolution: What can I create this year?
- Transition: How can I reproduce myself this year?
- Consistent: The third season of life generally gets into a groove (or possibly a rut). This is a plateaued season that is usually somewhat comfortable and known. Alternatively, it can be a time of disillusionment if the first two seasons didn't play out as expected.
- Resolution: What can I savor this year?
- Transition: What can I imagine this year?
- Visionary: Many people get stuck at stage 3 and never move on...but we're meant to move on. The Visionary stage is a time of reinvention, a creative revival that generally focuses upon inner work.
- Resolution: How do I need to think differently this year?
- Transition: What do I need to let go of this year?
- Integrated: The final developmental stage of life is one that is accepting and embracing. It is marked by contentment, surrender, and generosity. Ironically, it mirrors the first stage...but with an entirely different depth and richness.
- Resolution: Where can I give most meaningfully this year?
As you get ready to open a brand new calendar, think about your current stage of growth and how that might direct your resolve in 2014. A blessed new year to you!