Sometimes the holidays will get us thinking about what is most important. We think about our health, we think about our family. We may even think about setting goals for the New Year. It certainly is the time that we gain a few pounds, and resolve again to lose those pounds after the New Year begins. Then in February, as we begin to juggle our time commitments, we can be pulled in so many directions. If most of our days are focused on accomplishing the urgent tasks, we may have little energy and time remaining to accomplish what is most important.
Sometimes, it takes a crisis to make us aware that how we spend time and what is deeply important are not related. We may get a wakeup call: the loss of a job, a divorce, a loved one dies, someone we love has an addiction, or a doctor delivers the diagnoses of cancer. In order to achieve our goals, we need to spend time on those things that are most important.
This January, try something different:
- Put first things first: Spend some time thinking about your direction. Stephen Covey calls this your True North. Some call it your mission or vision. Whatever term works for you, just try to begin at the beginning, before jumping into goals that will be long forgotten. First, then think deeply about your mission and form your mission statement. Then write down your goals from this vision. Remember goals need to be specific, measurable, and obtainable within a certain time. Set priorities and get them on the calendar.
- Practice living in the present: When you can practice present moment awareness you can also manage the stress of juggling many different demands on your time. Bring the present into focus by taking a few deep breaths and asking the following question: “Is this the best use of my time at the moment?” Treat the present moment with respect and remember what Deepak Chopra says: “The past is history, the future is a mystery, and the present is a gift.”
- Find time for renewal: There is a strong link between play and energy. This is one of the reasons why children have so much energy. They spend most of their day playing. That high energy fun behavior of kids can be used by adults to increase their energy as well. What is fun for you? Think about the things you enjoyed as a child, or just the things you would want to do if you had the time. Try making a fun list. Pick something that is fun and schedule some play time, or just some time to relax. You will have more energy if you take time to renew. Who knows, with all of this fun, maybe you will end up losing those pounds without even trying!
Dr. Carol-Anne Minski is known as the Goal Achievement Guru. She is an executive coach, and founder of CMA Leadership Consultants, an organizational and leadership development firm in Jim Thorpe, PA. For more information, please visit www.cmaleadershipconsultants.com/dev.