For the past two years instead of making resolutions I have been coming up with a symbol plus six words to represent what I want to focus on for the new year. I call this my New Year’s ‘Solutions’.
While I am definitely a goal driven person and a big believer in reaching for outcomes, I find that in my personal growth area I do better with focusing on habits and behaviors that set me up for long-term success rather than checking something off a list and moving on.
This quote sums up the point I am trying to get across:
“People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.”
― FM Alexander
For 2019 I am choosing the Phoenix as my symbol. I am hesitant to compare my intentions for 2019 to a full-on rising from the ashes, but feel that it represents the overall theme I would like to embrace.
In Greek mythology the Phoenix represents transformation and rebirth, strength and renewal. I have been pushed back on my heels for a couple of years and am looking to lean forward and shift the momentum.
I came up with a list of over 40 words that represented various aspects of my life that I would like to concentrate on in 2019. I narrowed that down to about a dozen solid contenders, then closed in on the most important and timely ones.
Priority 1 this year is – DAD. The word has double meaning for me. First is to be a dad. Now more than ever, my family needs me. My kids need my support, presence, and guidance as they transition into adults. I have learned many lessons in life, they will be wasted if I don’t effectively pass them on. It is helpful for me to revisit them as well. This will be a primary focus for me in 2019. The second meaning is to remember my dad. He passed away a few months ago after living a long and productive life. I want to keep his memory fresh in my mind and lean on his example of love, patience, and example as I strive to be a better husband, father, brother, and son.
The word ‘path’ helps me focus on the journey of life. My dad was fond of saying that you don’t necessarily choose your destination in life, but you do choose your path – which then determines your destination.
This video takes it a little further and describes the ‘warpath’ as one that uses discipline to wage war against weakness, ignorance, and confusion. Successfully battling these things leads to strength, knowledge, and understanding. This helps you to gain control and ownership of your life, with the ultimate outcome being peace.
Don’t fall victim to the victim mindset. Control what you can control, choose the right path, keep going.
After 2+ years of no racing and very little exercise of any kind, I am ready to get back to some level of fitness. Far from the grandiose plans of years ago, I feel the word ‘move’ sums up what I’m after. Move, sweat, then do it again. And again.
I’m not a natural ‘people person’. I am certainly not going to turn into some sort of social butterfly, but I do want to pay more attention to the people and relationships in my life. Some of those relationships are in need of nurture and repair. Everything beyond my most immediate family has been on hold for the past couple of years while we focused on the issues of the day/hour/minute. As much as this was necessary, I realize it is not a very sustainable option. I need to lean on others, and let them lean on me. Like almost everything in life there is a dichotomy involved. I will balance fighting fires while also planting trees.
I have a lot of work to do in this area. I can sometimes freeze up or get stuck in a rut when I’m unclear. The quote in this article really hit me:
The three traits Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella looks for in leaders
By Lila MacLellanNovember 7, 2018
Attribute #1: The ability to create clarity when none exists
This is “the most important attribute that any leader needs to have—and it is often underestimated,” Nadella said. “You don’t need a leader when everything is well defined and it’s easy, and all you have got to do is follow a well-written plan. But in an ambiguous situation, where there cannot be complete information, that is when leadership will matter.”
He continued: “The people who are capable of getting into a situation where there is in some sense panic, and who can bring first clarity on what to do next—that is invaluable.”
As a leader at work and at home, I often find clarity lacking. I spin my wheels and churn on ideas to no effect. In times where I have done the work to get clarity on a issue/decision/situation I am amazed at the difference it makes. Doing the work to achieve clarity is a practice I want to cultivate and grow. I am sure I will get better at it as time goes on.
Remember, clarity does not equal certainty.
This stands for GET SH!T DONE. I am the king of starting with good intentions on new ideas, not so great at finishing them. Nothing on the list above will have much effect if I don’t get better at this.
Getting something done can also mean failing fast or abandoning the concept and choosing not to pursue it, rather than letting it linger to become yet another open loop.
I combine the symbol and words for the year into a badge that I stick to the cover of my journal and use as the wallpaper on my phone. Doing this helps keep my intentions fresh in my mind and relevant to the challenges of the day. If I don’t reflect on them often, they are quickly forgotten.
Happy New Year! I hope your 2019 is a good one and I will work to make that a reality in my own life.