My Version of New Years Resolutions
I’m not huge on New Year’s resolutions, but I am a fan of new seasons. Every New Year gives a good reminder to look back over the last year and see what you learned about yourself. Take some time for introspection. Whether you finished a hard year or finished a good one, take some time to soak it in before jumping into 2016. When I look back on 2015, there were a whole lot of good things happening. And then there were a whole lot of hard things. It was about 50/50. But at the very end of 2015, I felt like the good to bad was more like 30/70. The end of the year was exhausting, in every sense. But it was an exhaustion that was so very different than what I’d every experienced.
I feel like I just came out of a black hole of work. It had lasted the whole fall. I surfaced a few times, only to jump back in again. I have to say, at the beginning, part of me felt enlivened by the weight of the work I had to do. But now looking back, I don’t think it was about the weight of work I was doing. I felt important and marked for the amount of work I was doing, the pace at which we were moving, and the struggle I was having. I wasn’t very good at focusing on the lighter side of things. Writing helped, praying helped, but I seemed to be caught in a snow globe that was constantly getting shaken. It would be easy to pull a couple good things out in conversation or writing, but I was carrying a lot inside. No amount of verbal processing was getting that weight out. I started working on letting go of it. I started admitting I had a lot of things to work on. I am a relational person through and through. Relationships are usually the highest priority in my day-to-day life. But you can’t change your own life when you’re completely outward focused. I stopped for introspection from time to time but it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t getting into the weeds of my own life. I was scared of what I might find.
Now that I’ve surfaced from the inescapable work, I feel waterlogged. In an attempt to process the last few months, I started thinking about key things I’ve learned that I should carry into the New Year.
1. Drop Some Responsibility
I’m not responsible for everything. I need to find a line between my duties and the duties of the rest of my team. I can’t carry everyone. I shouldn’t even try. I need to find the boundaries of my projects and polish them until they shine.
I need to ask for help and admit when I don’t know something. If I’m not doing this, I’m not making a project shine. I’m also so focused on thinking I know everything that I don’t recognize success when it comes. And if I’m not recognizing success, I won’t ever feel like I am developing or moving forward. I’ve always had this crazy notion that if I know where I should be in a few years, I should be there now. NOT TRUE. Any great leader, inventor, or CEO never got there and did their job well without experience, mentors, counselors, and trainers.
3. Take Time for Myself
Taking time to develop myself outside of my career and the workplace is a must. Without introspection and self-development my sole purpose will start coming from where I spend the most time. If it’s work, that starts defining me as a person more than it ever should. I am more than the tasks I do everyday. Work does help form me, but it shouldn’t be the only thing that forms me. If it is, every bump will crack me. In the end, work might break me.
4. Stay Thankful
When work overloads me, I forget how to be thankful. I’m always thinking about how long my list is, how many things have gone wrong, or how I’m not doing things up to snuff because there’s such an onslaught of tasks. I listen to Bill Johnson, from Bethel, quite a bit. He said once that the best way to take care of your skills and talents is to remain thankful for them. When you stay thankful for what you have, you stay positive. Sometimes it takes work, but when you have a positive outlook, you stay invested in what you’re doing which will develop and improve what’s in front of you.
Goals usually die off within a few weeks or months, but when I focus on the tangible things I’ve learned, I tend to carry them forward and turn them into new habits. The list above is my version of resolutions. Some will get broken down into practical application for day-to-day life. Others will be my regular reminders to keep my focus on the big picture this year.
Cheers to the New Year. Don’t forget last year.