Ah, 2015. All done and dusted (literally – I’ve been dusting and vacuuming throughout the house, the Christmas tree and decorations are packed away, as are all signs of school work and other paraphernalia that has been hanging around last year). I’m starting to prepare for a new year – I’m moving on.
But before I close the book completely, let’s take some time to think about You, my 2015 Year.
In truth, You were not a bad year:
- You contained some times of success, challenges completed, times of celebrations and times of peaceful joy.
- You provided me, within the theme of ‘enough’ (I have / I am / I do enough), the scope to try and test new things without the pressure to ‘succeed’.
- You didn’t lock me into longer term commitments (beyond the ones I already have – no changes on the home front!), and You allowed me time, to sort through some thinking and actions that I needed to get my head around, about how I work, how my immediate and broader family works, my role in the world – things I would normally let pass me by.
- You gave me the flexibility, along with my family, to accommodate some unexpected worries and concerns that inevitably happen within a family (including some health issues within the broader family).
I thank you for for all these things.
But – let’s be honest – although You were ok, You weren’t a particularly great year. Ironically, the idea of ‘enough’ provided too much flexibility. It didn’t seem to bring me closer to what was important. I lost focus – I drifted.
That’s ok – I opened myself up to that. And that’s not your fault – they were lessons I needed to learn. It wasn’t you, 2015, it was me.
I’ve realised I need a little more than than the word ‘enough’ to guide me. Although recognising I am enough does provide me with a solid basis – I don’t need to do things to prove my worth – I do need some direction in order to feel like I am moving forward.
And so, thank you for the gift of (relative) freedom, 2015, but I’ll be looking for a bit more from this current year.
My word for 2016
Now it’s time to start focusing on 2016 and what it might bring. And to help me, I’ve followed the lead of Bron from Maxabella Loves and adopted a word (and some supporting words), to help guide me through the year, and these in turn, have really helped in setting some goals for the year*
This year, I am choosing the word ‘progress‘ to guide me through.
Progress means movement, change, building on – rather than abandoning – what’s been before.
Progress doesn’t mean perfection. It doesn’t mean waiting for all the elements to line up and I have perfect clarity. Because that might not happen. It is more likely to mean just getting started, with a broad plan, and giving it a go.
Progress doesn’t mean ‘living out my passion‘ or my ‘life’s purpose‘. For one thing, I haven’t found a single passion or purpose yet (and it’s probably time I stop hoping they arrive on a plate for me). For another, I have lots of interests – could these be passions? If so, I can’t follow them all. I’ve tried this year, and what I’ve found is if I pursue them all, I end up feeling like those 1980s contestants in the money machine, desperately grabbing one handful of cash only to let three handfuls go. Very unsatisfying.
Progress does means identifying logical changes to make life better – to be the best ‘me’ I can be (which is probably everyone’s overarching objective). And to do that, I need to be Purposeful and to Prioritise.
I will be more Purposeful by by consciously choosing the way I live my life and the outcomes I seek, recognising I have certain abilities and talents that I can better use, and I have some areas that, with some attention, can be brought up to speed.
By doing this, I will be living as fully, and as giving to others and myself, as I can be.
Progress means Prioritising. It means deciding what is most important, the changes I can make to become more focused, how I can lessen my distractions and deal with ‘life draining’ activities (where I so often procrastinate). energise me and minimise my distractions and tendency to angsty-ness and the corresponding need to refocus again)? I will prioritise by identifying what I need to stop doing, including letting go of any guilt associated with it (not much value in not going on a school excusion due to lack of time, if all I do during it is feel guilty!).
Progress means becoming more Persistent. Some changes are easy to identify. Some are more challenging – they stray into topics I’ve avoided for a while. Some are easy to start. But almost all are hard to maintain. Focusing and working towards a goal can be hard, especially once the novelty wears off. Except, of course, when the goal, or the change, becomes second nature – habitual. The danger stage is the in-between steps. At this stage (or stages – there are lots of areas I will be working on, at different times throughout the year)
Therefore, I will need Patience and Perseverance.
Progress also requires Perspective. Change won’t happen all at once. Being clearer on where I am heading, and how I am going will help. I can be harsh and critical on myself. I can also forget (mostly because it is not as much fun), that this is a resolution for a year, and things will take time. I will fail to reach targets at times. Other things will, at times, be more important that my identified areas (in fact, things will happen throughout the year that I can even imagine, yet). I am also not someone who can run at full throttle the whole time. I need down time. I need to cut myself some slack – without losing perseverance. This will be a hard area for me.
I will also need the help from Other People’s perspectives. Looking internally is not always the best way to see things – I can be too close to see what is going on. And life is not lived in isolation, anyway, from others, and (I believe) from God, and the interaction of others is so important.
And Progress requires some Playfulness. I’ve thrown this in at the end, because that’s probably going to be important too. I’ve realised this all seems very overwhelming, the way I’ve written it, and it doesn’t need to be.
There’s no need to take it all TOO seriously – it’s only life after all (and no one hands out a pass or fail at the end) – but that is something I tend to do. Becoming more playful could be really important this year, I’m thinking, plus it is something that would really be beneficial for me, and us all, to be honest.
So there it is – Progress, supported by a swathe of other ‘P’ words.
My word, 2016, you look like an exciting year ahead!
How about you? Do you chose a word, or set resolutions or goals, for each year?
* Yes, the ‘P’ theme seems a bit contrived, but really, they all worked together. Not sure why (I feel like the post should be brought to you by the letter ‘P’!)
** For the moment, I am keeping these goals between Al and I. Let’s see how they pan out, and if I need some accountability, I may be calling on some of you!