This was a newsletter that I sent exactly a year ago, but it feels very right this year.
It is a long one, but worth the time you take.
The God Janus, month of January was named, could look in both directions and see the past and the future at the same time. In December, I like to take the time close to the winter solstice to look back at the past year and gaze forward into the future. For me, the festivals of light remind me to go deep and contemplate.
Whether you are a Jewish person who celebrates Hanukkah or a Christian who celebrates Christmas, you might want to plan a retreat for yourself. You can take an hour a day for a week, or the entire week, to disconnect from technology, take up watercolor painting or a coloring book, eat simple foods, spend time with yourself, and journal.
The last year was challenging for most, if not all, of us. Challenging times are stressful. But what we do not usually consider is that stress is good for us to a certain point. Stress that overwhelms us damages our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. But some stress can be like “a kick in the butt” and prompt us to try something new, learn a new skill, adapt and grow. The last year certainly gave us the opportunity to learn new lessons, adapt and grow. Our growth was not an overnight change but a slowly evolving process that spanned over the past ten months.
Growth does not happen in a linear form but more in spirals. Like with kids, if you spend time with them daily, you do not notice how they grow. Only when you go away for the week and come back that you look with awe at how much they grew.
I encourage you to grab your journal, sit and reflect:
What were the small daily steps you took to adapt to the uncertainty brought by COVID 19?
What are the lessons that it taught you? About yourself? About life?
Did you acquire new skills? If yes, what are they?
Did you change your priorities in the past year? How?
Pat yourself on the back. Celebrate your growth, your resilience, and your strength.
Before you start to set goals for the future, it is good to ask yourself:
What works well in your life? What do you want to keep?
Are you ready to change how you think about your life’s goals?
This is the first stepping stone from which you can identify the clutter that functions like boulders on your path. Can you shove them to the side? Can you clear your path so you can put less effort into your hike?
What happened this last year is key for creating your goals for the future. When you see the potential for growth that you embodied the previous year, you are ready to set intentions for the next year with the confidence that you can achieve your goals.
There is a fine line to walk when setting goals. You want your goals to be realistic. You want to be confident in your ability to win them over. At the same time, you want to challenge yourself to grow. You want to create goals that are not your “safety goals” but your “reach goals.”
What is your legacy?
As we gaze into the future, I encourage you to imagine your life as you want it to be. You want to have an arching goal, one that you can view from each point in your journey. It should not be something like losing 10lb or earning a six-figure salary. Instead, consider what kind of feeling you would like to inspire in yourself. Then, when you look back at your life from your deathbed, what will be meaningful to you? The six-figure salary or the lessons you learned on the way?
My big picture does not have a #, not of clients I want to have or a # of products I want to sell. What I do have is a way of living and a way of feeling. It is more a way of being.
- I want to feel well in body and soul. It means to me to feel full of energy and inspiration every day.
- I want to create relationships with people and impact their ability to thrive in their bodies.
- I would like to have the ability to choose the people I work with and the program I offer.
If you look at my goals, you see that they are clear; they speak to feeling connected to a quality of life. It is neither the number on the scale nor the annual income that inspires me to get up every morning and do the work that I am doing.
What is your BIG picture vision?
Make yourself an Intention Reminder. Hang it next to your bed or next to your sink. Use it daily to affirm yourself of your “peak.”
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. …
Only when you get a really clear vision of your big picture can you start making your first steps. It is not about conquering the mountain in a day, a week, or a month. It is about showing up every day and consistently taking one step, so in 365 days, you achieve 365 steps. You made progress.
If you look from the bottom at the mountains, you set yourself to climb. Do you find that your identity is connected to your achievement, be it professional, monetary, or personal. Do you find that only if you reach the mountain peak, you are worthy, you are enough. If your value is only attached to your wins rather than the process, the lessons that you learn on the way are chores. It is tough to motivate yourself when what you see is sweat, muscle cramps, and fatigue, but you do not get to experience the joy of every step and the view from every vista.
We have in us the ability to change the perception of our reality. If each step that you take on the trail becomes important. If the view from each vista point takes your breath away, you are not on a race to the peak but an adventure. We often set up a goal at the beginning of the year, but after a month or two, we lose sight of the goal and stop striving to achieve it if every step becomes the goal. If every step is sexy and fun, we stand a better chance to be consistent.
If you can’t fly, then run; if you can’t run, then walk; if you can’t walk, then crawl, but by all means, keep moving.
– Martin Luther King Jr.
Goals might become overwhelming sometimes. If your head feels like a cluttered drawer filled with things that you need to do to achieve your goal, take it and break it into small pieces that you can conquer. Take small steps toward your goal every day—Cook one healthy meal. Show up once on your yoga mat.
You might not know all the skills you need to achieve your goal but google is your best friend. When COVID hit, I decided to reevaluate Bee Fields Farm and understood that I would need to grow my online presence. In the past year, I took some courses, and I learned how to design professional Facebook and Instagram pages and use the tools they offer. It is a learning curve. My work is not perfect. Sometimes I am confused and distracted. Sometimes I even forget why I am doing what I am doing. I make it a priority to show up almost every day with intention. If you make a list of the steps that you need to take to achieve your goal, if you make every small step meaningful, you will see the progress you made by this time next year.
If you believe that you can step forward only if your step is P.E.R.F.E.C.T, there is a good chance that you will get stuck. The fear of not doing things in a perfect way might freeze you. Give yourself points for trying new things. Acknowledge how brave you are for even trying. I remember my first Facebook Live. I was nervous. The words jumbled in my mouth, and it’s Live; you can not take it back. Here is what I learned: Practice makes better. You want to be ready to be vulnerable, put yourself out there, and be honest with yourself and others. That is the essence of creating relationships. (reminder: my second goal) If I am not going to care about it when I am old and sitting in my rocking chair, it is not worth my energy now.
Transitioning into a new way of thinking and doing will require you to make some adjustments. Here are some questions to ask yourself daily:
- Does this need to be done today?
- Do I need to do it to achieve my goal? In other words, are there shortcuts?
- Who benefits from you being perfect?
- Is this step essential, or is it an excuse to delay? Procrastinate? Are you complicating things? And why? (fear? Look good?)
Imagine what will be possible for you if you take 365 small steps toward your big goal this year. And another 365 steps next year and so on. Do not put a deadline on your plan. Instead, keep it in your mind as an inspiration to show up every day and take the step.
You might want to get very practical. Buy yourself a weekly planner—plan one step for each day for the next week.
You might not know where it will take you in a year? Two? Five? Or ten? Stay open to whatever comes your way doing this work.
So much to think about. Take the time. Make a warm cup of tea. Go for a hike. Meditate. Whatever is your unique personal style of contemplating, do it!
You want to be awake in your life and not let them waste away in a race to a peak that is so high above the clouds that you can not even see the view.
Wishing you a Happy Solstice, and a Happy New Year,