Over years and years of studying what does and does not work when it comes to living a happy life, achieving goals, and generally enjoying the journey, I’ve radically changed how I approach each New Year.
New Year’s Resolutions don’t work though like crazy people, our society ramps up for the rah rah rah and gung ho of them each year. I ignore the collective cheerleading and know with certainty that by the end of January I’ll have more elbow room in the gym again. THAT is something I can count on.
You see I used to be a hard-charging, goal-setting, achieve at all costs type. Until I realized that is a fast path to self-abuse and a big hollow empty feeling when I “win” (aka achieve said goal).
I’ve gone through various evolution over the years and my current approach for the last few years has been setting an overarching theme.
This year my theme emerged organically and clarity arrived during a weekend getaway for my birthday right before Christmas holiday. (Fun to combine some business retreat and a lot of pleasure in this way!)
While the first part of it was not a surprise because it has been part of my theme for the last few years: Simplify
The rest of it did surprise me. What kept showing itself in various forms were the words:
Lightness and Curiosity
With the desire to re-discover and discover anew.
Now for 2017
I’ve done another mini-retreat over the holidays and it’s theme is Invigorate. With a subtitle of Relaxed. As in a relaxed but mindful presence knowing that everything is going to be OK. It’s not a delusional detachment from reality but a strong presence of power where I show up fully and relax into what IS.
You might be wondering, well, that’s nice, but what do you actually DO with that?
How a Theme Informs Your Business Activities
While a theme or mantra informs the inner awareness part of the equation, what do you do with it when the rubber meets the road?
You apply it in a practical way.
So for instance, let’s take simplify. Ways I apply this are:
- Getting rid of everything that is extraneous (physical, digital, procedural, expense-wise)
- Breaking down projects and systems to their most actionable, baby-step form
- Doing less, but better
It’s not as easy as it sounds – at least for a lifelong over-complicator like me.
What I CAN tell you is that by applying this approach in 2015, I had my biggest income year ever in my business, highest profit margin, biggest bottom line, and still took over 6 weeks off to play. In 2016 I did it again matching high income marks and profit margin and taking more than 6 weeks off (some to play, and some to deal with a family illness).
As a business owner every new level of success you achieve leaves you with a new set of challenges. It’s just a fact.
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I believe this fact has birthed the 2 supporting themes for the coming year. You see my intense focus eclipsed some of my lightheartedness and curiosity last year. I took myself and stuff a bit too seriously. While I am not suggesting that I plan on reducing my diligence or focus, what I do intend is to hold things more lightly. Instead of having to immediately solve a problem, I want to get more curious about it. Instead of walking the same, expected paths for learning or connecting, I want more purposeful tangents.
While these states of being can be more esoteric than the intention to simplify, they can be applied in a practical way as well. For instance:
- When faced with something I do not know I can be curious about it (vs angry or stressed or feeling bad about myself) and decide whether it is worth my time and attention or not.
- In the midst of a busy workload I can hold an air of lightness about getting it done.
- I can cinch the cheesecloth around my energy and attention allowing only the essential in and further reduce the noise-factor of the world we live in. That means turning off technology even more than I have (and believe me, I know where the off buttons are!)
But What about Goals?
I haven’t abandoned goals. I approach them differently and teach others how to do that as well. I treat them more like an experiment than gospel. I have specific, measurable desires and goals for my business and my personal life. Yet why I want them is more important than what they are. My methods for seeing them manifest are flexible and I am open to something even better showing up in my life.
This is how I create a dynamic that doesn’t suffocate me while allowing me to start and finish so much.
What do you yearn for in the coming year?
If you’re ready to have your best year yet – contact me and let’s explore how working together will help you do that and have time to sit beside the fire with your favorite drink and a good book as well.