Celebrate what you want to see more of.
When I ran a marathon a few years ago, my friend Tim coached me because he knew I needed a plan to reach a specific time goal I had in the race. He sent me workouts in an Excel spreadsheet, and as part of my training, not only did I have to run, but I was supposed to fill in an additional box after the run that indicated how things had gone. We could then use this to track what things worked to set me up for a good run, and what things were working against my efforts toward my goals. Over the months, we could change and refine the plan to make sure I was doing more of what worked and less of what didn’t. In the end, the plan didn’t look exactly the same as it had at the beginning. Because of our simple tweaks along the way, it became a better plan, and it ultimately helped me accomplish a huge goal I’d set for myself.
We are all staring down the blank slate of 2017, and regardless of whether resolutions or goals are your thing, the end of a year is a natural opportunity to reflect on the 52 weeks that have just gone by. But this often comes with a dose of shame and guilt over past failures, and overwhelm at all of the ‘shoulds’ that you think you ought to strive for. Resolution setting can be difficult, aspirations can seem too lofty, and when I start to think of all that could be, I sometimes crumble under the pressure before I start. I know I am not alone.
So as we end the year, I want to offer one simple exercise that I hope will save you from the overwhelm and help you with an easy reset. Businessman Tom Peters says “Celebrate what you want to see more of,” and I say “Amen.” So here’s what we are going to do: look at what worked, and, if you want, look at what didn’t. It’s an easy way to prioritize what we can do more of in 2017, and what we might choose to put off, in order to reach whatever goals you may have for the year. I’ve made this worksheet that can help get you started.
When I work through something uncomplicated like this, it allows me to see things I did well: Protecting my morning time from phone calls and internet usage was a vital step in accomplishing more in my ‘job’ of homeschooling. Re-prioritizing a friendship after focusing for two years on a particularly difficult infant and toddler fed my soul and hers. I started consistently running again, which for me is a self-care milestone. My natural instinct has always been to write off my successes as unimportant, or as flukes, and then to either focus on failures or move quickly on to setting even bigger goals. But it’s so important to take a moment and celebrate those things that worked! It allows me to honor the work I did, and to realize that if all I do is more of that, then I’ll continue to make progress. Simple, right? It actually, really is. I promise.
On the download you will also find a column about what didn’t work. That’s an optional part of the exercise that may point you to things you want to cut out in 2017. It may also relieve you to know that your perceived “failures” can help you do better—because you know to cut them out!
I hope you find this exercise simple but helpful… and I would so appreciate it if you would share anything that you discover when you do it. Did it work for you? What are you celebrating? What will you do more of in 2017? Happy New Year!
Encouragement Spoken Here
"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver." Proverbs 25:11