Forget 2016 resolutions! Widen the path instead

If you’re like me, you’ve probably read more than one blog post or article exhorting you to do better, be better, live better, make plans, set goals—in short, take various steps NOW to make 2016 the best year ever.  

Some friends and clients I know get inspired by the new year’s message and not only dive eagerly into the task of list making and goal setting but actually get movement and results. To them I say “congratulations!"

But for others, the messages we’re reading can create the opposite effect, exerting pressure that ends up paralyzing instead of motivating. Now mix that pressure with the inevitable (but not often acknowledged) fatigue coming off of a hectic holiday season, and the result can be a stressed-out start to 2016.

As a coach who provides counsel for a living, I’d like to suggest a few things to ponder—or act upon—if you’ve entered 2016 feeling more stuck than inspired. 

  1. Start listening to yourself. First, is there anything you’re looking to move or shift in your life? If so, what is it? Second, do you know how you best “do” change? Are you a make-a-list-of-goals-on-paper person or a walk-in-the-rain-letting-your-mind-land-where-it-land type? The best new years gift you can give yourself is to eliminate the word “should” from your vocabulary—focus instead on you—what you want and what moves you.
  2. Let’s say things are going well, but you’re feeling a need to widen the comfortable but predictable groove you’re in. Something I’ve started doing this month is consciously adding something fresh or different to my day or week: selecting something I haven’t worn for eons from my closet, cooking a new recipe, trying a new class at my gym, switching up my schedule and normal routines. See if doing things a bit differently—and being open to whatever good stuff happens as a result—livens things up for you.  
  3. If you had a busy—or stressful—December, make sure to sleep and rejuvenate. I needed to take a few days early this month to refuel—my chosen method was dog-walking alongside beautiful local bodies of water—Puget Sound, Green Lake, and Lake Washington.
  4. Get energized through connecting. If you’re feeling inspiration a bit lacking, reach out to your posse. Make a pre-work breakfast/walking date with folks you love and float ideas or plans you’re considering. Some of my clients are making a conscious effort to network with interesting people outside of their normal sphere to spur new conversations, connections and growth. Challenge yourself to attend an event or conference in your area of interest—it might be the very thing to kick you into the flow of the new year. 
  5. Don’t let your overall busy-ness/social media/other urgent but maybe less-important stuff get in the way of what’s critical (aka the things you need to do to move forward in the ways you’d like). And speaking of happiness (or even better, fulfillment) think of one thing you can enact soon in the realm of “doing for others”—nothing will feel better than that. 

Best of everything to all of you in 2016!