Holidays can be hard!
The Thanksgiving table this year may not include a loved one due to death. Or, a son or daughter may be missing a spouse who they are separated from. Perhaps a grandparent may be ill and not able to travel?
Christmas or Hanukkah celebrations might be faced with the loss of a job. Or, a looming retirement that is both exhilarating and petrifying. Or, a family member living with a terminal illness, and you fear this is their last celebration.
Holidays can be happy!
Your table gatherings, whether at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Hanukkah, may include the announcement of an engagement. Or the presence of a new grandchild. Or, the prospect of a new business venture as 2020 is anticipated.
For 2019 we are in the 4th quarter. The seasons are in transition, and so is the experience of our lives personally and professionally. And, then, before you know it, we begin our lives anew in 2020.
Typically, we make New Year’s Resolutions. My experience is that our intentions are sincere, but our actions are more limited. It is tough making a commitment to grow, change, or behave differently—more authentically. But, we can adjust and transform.
I’d like to invite you to “ponder” and to “plan”. Yes, it will be important to set a few reasonable and purposeful goals for yourself in 2020, but it will be in your life’s reflection this 4th quarter that will best prepare you for success—even confidence next year, a New Year.
Let me offer the following suggestions as you engage this exciting work—for YOU.
First, I want to suggest the practice of mindfulness. Wikipedia defines mindfulness as the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which one can develop through the practice of meditation and through other training.
Mindfulness has also been defined as the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
In other words, all of us have under three months to be mindful of this year, 2019. As you begin the preparations for holiday gatherings and giving, spend some time “preparing” your mindful thoughts.
Second, schedule some time for YOU during these upcoming months. What does that look like?:
- Calendar 4 early morning coffees of 20-30 minutes with yourself, and a small notebook
- Consider a long afternoon “away”—a retreat house, a neighbors second home, the park. Plan ahead now, and schedule it for 90-120 minutes. Keep it as an important “date”.
- Enlist a trusted friend, family member or colleague to help you “think through” the best of you, and what you might try to do differently in 2020? It might be while baking holiday treats, or before the Sunday football game?
In whatever scheduled and “mindful” format you participate, jot down experiences of gratitude. Capture relationships that make your heart soar, or perhaps have broken your heart? Ponder and celebrate your particular “purpose” in life, or what you can do to discover it. Finally, be mindful of what you might like to do differently for YOU next year—and why? Consider both personal and professional objectives?
Third, by December 18 take a strong pass at identifying 2-3 goals for your growth and sense of fulfillment for 2020. These goals are important to you; they impact the quality of your life and/or your career. You desire real change as well as real opportunity. These goals are SMART—essentially, they are specific, motivating, and time-bound. For instance,
- Enroll in a professional development course that strengthens accountability and delegation skills. Spend at least 8-12 hours of learning time by April 30, 2020.
- Heal a broken relationship that is preventing your peace of mind by March 1, 2020
- Consult, at least twice, with a nutritionist for changed eating habits and a weight loss goal of 6-8 pounds by Easter 2020.
- Choose to participate in a 360 Assessment process at your work to celebrate what you do well, and to learn 3 areas of improvement (and plan for them) by May 1, 2020.
- Drop your cholesterol levels by 15-25 points by August 1, 2020, without the use of medication.
- Meet with a financial advisor and commit to saving 3-5% of your salary, monthly, through Dec. 31, 2020.
- Engage an outside leadership professional to assist you in developing your team, both relationships, and results. Budget 12 hours of time and dollars by August 1, 2020.
Use any of the examples above as a means of crafting your own 2-3 goals. What is important is you identify how many times, or for how long, or to complete the goal by a particular date. Being specific—and giving yourself reasonable time to accomplish them—is important to the goal-setting process. So, here’s to your future. Your mindful reflection and action that enables you to thrive in 2020.