Monday, December 26, 2011

Take this time to reflect and plan.

With the flurry of hopes, joys and responsibilities of the holidays over, the winter lies calm and cold here in the Pacific Northwest. (But not yet wet, really.) Time to sit back with your favorite beverage -- a tea, coffee, or cider. Pull out a page, and think back over 2011. Jot down the big things, the stand-out highlights, and the things which seemed little but have caused significant ripples in your life this past year. The planned, the unexpected... all of it.

For most of us life is so busy, like a rushing river. At first it's hard to grab onto anything; the past is a blur. Review your calendar as a memory trigger. Or go through the Sent folder of your email. Anything that helps you see the flow of events these past 12 months.

Chances are, you'll find this time to be relaxing, grounding, and enlightening as you realize you really did a lot... when chances are you had forgotten a fair amount of it before starting this little exercise, and instead focused on the lingering items on the to do list.

What did you think you wanted that fell short? What did you never expect that had a great positive impact on your soul?

With that mindset, jot down some goals and directions for 2012. This often starts as broad general philosophical directions, but work to hone these down to specific tenants and action items that make them a reality. Iterating the process is often necessary; start with the philosophical thought, then ask, "How would I DO that?" Continue to ask, "How would I DO that?" until you end up with a few key milestones, and their component steps.

Add an item or two from the bucket list -- and mean it. Set a frame and structure onto which you will build 2012.

This is the year to do something which you have feared. Time to cut out habits that eat up your time but don't enrich your life. Let drift off those people who are somewhat toxic, while giving more attention to that person that always enriches your life in small ways. Is it the time to trade checking Facebook ten times a day for coffee with someone who means something to you once a week? Turn in a few hours of video games for volunteer time with a local organization that is in line with your world vision.

Time to carve a bit of time out for yourself, just to be your awesome, beautiful self every so often.

Too often life seems to happen to us, as we get swept up in the various responsibilities we juggle. Being reactive leaves you feeling out of control and unsatisfied... even if the drift of the stream is taking you in the same general direction you'd go if you were proactively paddling.

So grab that paddle and steer your boat with purpose and forethought.

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