As I write, we’ve just slid through the Halloween finish line and suddenly retail establishments are executing a leap over Thanksgiving, fully zeroed in on Christmas for the next two months. Does this seem a little rushed to you? It makes me wonder if it’s the holiday or the anticipation of it that we’re really celebrating. But that’s a topic for another day.
Today, this full frontal assault reminds me that 2018 is around the corner with all the plans, wishes, hopes and dreams that accompany the newness of a fresh slate in the New Year. Innately, there is something I love about the beginning of a new chapter, I always have. But year after year, I had made the mistake of setting myself up for failure and disappointment with lofty goals backed by unrealistic strategy and the expectation of a 180 degree change in some area of my life. All a New Year’s resolution really achieved was an invitation to a mid-February self-shaming served alongside a heavy helping of guilt. Ugh! I hadn’t been interested in inflicting that upon myself and had fully given up the concept of resolutions…until 2014.
Whether it was words of a mentor, a book entitled The Compound Effect or my most recent visit to the dentist; in 2014 I didn’t set a New Year’s Resolution, but rather an “intention”. You might call that a resolution dressed in fancy clothes, but I saw it differently. Resolutions come with judgment, timeframe and expectation. They feel harsh, something you win or lose at and I don’t like being a loser. Yet, quite often that’s what I became. With an intention, there was no pressure. It felt encouraging, gentle and doable. If it didn’t happen one day it wasn’t a big deal, I could practice at it tomorrow and the next day. As if I was giving myself the entire year to get this little habit ingrained into my life. That, my friends, felt great!
I began small, with something that if done day after day could have huge long term effects. And the subject of this experiment was to master the practice of flossing! Go ahead and laugh, but I had never done it regularly. Brushing yes, flossing no. And the visions about future dental work I’d be enduring if I didn’t create this little habit were enough to spur me into action. Long story short, I did it! It took only 30 seconds every evening and needless to say, my Dentist was thrilled and so were my gums. This example became a launching point for every year since.
Beginning about October, I spend some time thinking through what I could adopt that would greatly impact my life. Sometimes it results in a new habit and other times, I settle on a beneficial mindset. Either way, these are the points I consider:
1. What overarching theme do I want to change in my life or business?
2. What small, seemingly insignificant action or mindset can I embrace each day that would support growth in this area?
3. What will thinking this thought or doing this action, compounded over 365 days create in my life?
4. What small, encouraging reminder can I set to support this intention?
A task is measurable and easy to check off such as reading daily for 10 minutes, creating a boundary allowing one hour of uninterrupted work each day or putting away all technology to sit down as a family for dinner. Imagine the impact! A mindset acknowledges that changing our thoughts can support transformation in more than one area. Such as finding a deep connection with the work you’re doing? Creating more fun in the office? Or doing the “and then some” in all situations? How could these intentions renew your business? Are you willing to give it a try?
I’d be curious to have a conversation with you in 365 days and hear how the intention you chose transformed your year!