Holiday Greetings

Holidays are symbolic of change and transition from one season to the next. Humans have celebrated with these rituals for thousands of years. For me, this season represents the two primary purposes I feel for my life; personal development and service to others.

I have long dreaded the season of obligatory giving. As a parent I have a new appreciation for the “Spirit of Christmas.” My kids know the historical story of Saint Nicholas and requested we make believe Santa is real. They love everything about Christmas, the tree, the lights, the elf on the shelf and yes, even the snow. Renee and I are still adjusting to the weather in our new Ohio home. Honestly, I do miss the warm Florida weather, but not more than I appreciate being near family.

I also have a renewed appreciation for the “gift of receiving.” I realized years ago that it was selfish to deny those who love me to express it in a way that feels good to them. As with so many wonderful givers I know, I have been challenged at times to be a good receiver. Being open to receive is an important exercise in creating abundance personally and universally.

The arbitrary end of one year and beginning of the next represents the spiral cycles of life. When we come full circle we realize we are in a different place then we were when we started.

This time of year is excellent for reflecting on our accomplishments for the year as well as acknowledging where we can improve for the year ahead.

I know there is no shortage of New Year advice available to help you evolve in the coming year. If you are tired of hearing the same thing every year and not getting the results you desire, I have some ideas that may help. For many, setting resolutions not only doesn’t work, but often makes it worse when we beat ourselves up for not keeping our promises to ourselves.

Albert Einstein said, “Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.”

Maybe this year you can try a different approach. Begin with love and compassion for yourself. Understand that you are magnificent just as you are. Instead of striving for perfection, make plans for steady improvement. We can always improve and we will never be perfect. Here are some simple suggestions you can use for your personal and professional life.

  1. Start by setting realistic, measurable goals that align with your core values rather than expectations set by others.
  2. Establish a plan you can live with that will move you toward your goals. Break projects into specific tasks, schedule each one and assign it a completion target date.
  3. Take action. Pursue your goals aggressively and resolve not to give up on reaching them. Be kind to yourself when you fall short. Imperfect action beats perfect inaction. It is better to take small steps than to put off big ones. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” -Lao Tzu
  4. Acknowledge your successes (big and small.) Keep track of what is working and what is not. We focus so much on what is ahead we often forget about all we have achieved. Learning from your mistakes while admiring your accomplishments will build your confidence and reinforce your competence.
  5. Identify activities that waste time or energy and which ones improve efficiency? Time and energy are your most valuable asset. Be conscious of how you invest them and they will increase in value and availability.
  6. Visualize your success regularly. Use a vision board, post it notes or pictures on your refrigerator, computer or bathroom mirror. Keep you vision in front of you and allow yourself to really “feel” it.
  7. Ask for help. You are solely responsible for your success, yet you can’t do it alone. I believe coaching is the most effective way to achieve your goals. You don’t need to hire a coach, but get help somewhere. Find a friend, family or colleague to be your accountability partner. Share your goals and commitments with each other and check in regularly to monitor your progress.