I don’t know what it is about the holiday season, but it seems like, every year at about this time, everybody I know starts worrying out loud about whether they are doing enough or getting enough out of life. Perhaps all that family crowded into such a small space brings up old memories about what we dreamed about being or doing when we were kids. Or maybe it is the looming threat of January 1 and our as-yet-unset resolutions.
Whatever it is, I too often find myself falling victim to holiday anxiety about years past, present and future. As human beings, perhaps we are programmed to automatically begin a life-inventory every so many months, and the ending of one calendar year and the beginning of the next just happens to be a convenient time to work this in. Add to this that, courtesy of our respective employers, many of us get a few extra days off, and it may just be that we suddenly find ourselves with both the motive and the means to conduct our inventory.
For me personally, since my birthday and the Christmas holidays and New Year’s all fall right around the same time, I sometimes feel like I get the triple dose of holiday navel-gazing. But this year, things have felt a bit different. I turned 42 a few days ago, and I feel more settled now in my own skin than I have ever felt before in my life. In fact, this is the first year ever that I didn’t text my mentor for holiday support! That has to count for something (although I texted her anyway just to tell her I love her).
I think this is because, this year, I truly have a vision for how I want my life to look, feel and be. I spent a good portion of both this year and the previous year working with a life coach, and that investment of time and money, while significant and sometimes challenging emotionally, financially and time-wise, is now paying off.
My coach helped me learn how to reshape my way of setting life goals and working towards their achievement. To put it simply, with her help I moved from a bottom-up to a top-down goal setting approach. She also taught me new skills so that I could move away from over-thinking things and towards feeling and intuiting what to do next.
With her help, I learned how to take all those fragmented areas of my life – pieces I had quarantined into their own separate little corners – and allow them to come back together as a whole. Instead of working on first this and then that and then this other thing, I saw how, when I make a change in one area, that nearly always changes something in another area as well. Here, I learned to think about my overall intention for my life as a whole before I make a change in one area or another.
Thanks to her guidance, today I have an overarching life vision of myself living a life that fosters peace and contentment. Beneath that big vision, I can then work on how to best create that peace and contentment through all aspects of my life, including how I do my work, how I conduct my personal relationships, what I need to do to maintain my health, how I spend my free time and more.
So I guess, in a way, instead of a New Year’s resolution or even an intention, I am now moving towards setting a single New Year’s vision for myself – and then simply working to align everything I say and do to best enhance that vision. So far, I really like this approach and I look forward to sharing another update around this time next year to see how it’s going!
Today’s Takeaway: If, like me, you have traditionally been a New Year’s resolution person, but (also like me) have found that juggling a variety of New Year’s resolutions can quickly get both tiresome and confusing, perhaps this year you might like to try setting a single New Year’s vision instead, and simply work with that in every area of your life. If you do decide to give it a try, I’d love to hear your experiences!
Railroad tracks photo available from Shutterstock
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Last reviewed: 26 Dec 2012