Preparing for the next.

It is the very last Friday of 2017!

Did this year go the way you expected it to?

The way you planned?

Or was it a bit of an adventure – whether positive or negative?

Mine was a bit of both.

Interestingly though, nearly everything that ended up how I wanted it to, did NOT get there the way I expected it to.

Good or bad? I have no idea.

So, I’m just going to be grateful for the blessings, and do what I can to keep walking the right path in 2018.

That started before the holidays, with reviewing the last. That didn’t show me that I did a stellar job of meeting my every goal, but it showed me where I made progress, where I can learn from the process, and where the process needs some changes.

Next is some pondering, prayer, contemplation.

What DO I want this bright, shiny new year to look like?

What about my life right now is a good idea, and what needs to change?

What ARE my priorities, 12 months further on in this life of mine? Have they changed? Stayed the same? Have I changed?! (Spoiler alert: undoubtedly!)

AND THEN: New Life Resolutions!!!

These are also New YEAR’S Resolutions. I just realised a few years ago that each time I make an intentional change for the better, I am also creating a new life for myself.

Sometimes it looks very, very similar to the previous life – and that’s okay! Sometimes it’s a pretty radical change.

I’ve learned a few key things about this process:

  1. I can’t ‘do it all’, and certainly not all at once.
  2. I won’t get most of it done if I don’t have a written record to keep me focused.
  3. If I choose to focus on what really is important to me, I end up happier and healthier than if my time just sifts through my fingers.

Clearly, then, prioritising what matters, and creating resolutions that help me get there is a good investment! And, as everybody knows, my attitude toward new years resolutions is focused on success.

Which will almost certainly require some ‘Winter Cleaning’.

I have never really understood the concept of ‘Spring Cleaning’. I suspect this is because I grew up in a place where it is not unusual for it to be 75 degrees at Christmas, and where 90+ degrees in February is not unheard of.

As you can imagine, houses don’t necessary get closed up for the Long, Cold, Cruel Months of Winter.

(True story: Have been to a Christmas party where the hostess turned on the air conditioning so that we could all sit around a ‘cozy’ holiday fire without suffering heat prostration.)

Whatever the reason, I always thought that Winter Cleaning made so much more sense.

  • You’ve put one year to bed, and you’re just opening up that next year.
  • If it is wintery AT ALL where you live, you’ve got plenty of time indoors to look around the place and see what needs renewing.
  • Also assuming you’ve been locked inside at all, you have a little more time on your hands than during other seasons.

I may be crazy there, but that is just how it has always seemed to me. Mostly, I like clear ends, and clear beginnings, so putting things in order at the start of a new year has always just felt right to me.

Anyway, Winter Cleaning involves letting go of some elements of the past that don’t work in this new life, and making sure that whatever stays is in good working order.

Whether that means fearlessly tracking dust-bunnies to the depths of their lairs under the refrigerator, or changing up my morning routine doesn’t matter – what matters is that the process, and the outcomes, fit my healthy future and make my home a better home.

And, as every process should, THAT requires a Next Right Step.

As I mentioned earlier, I can’t successfully do everything at once.

But I still try!! For years (and years; so many I’m embarrassed to think about them), I have weeded out, and prioritised, and reiterated the truth that focus is key to success; then I have tried to make meaningful, lasting progress on 53 goals at once. Usually within a week.

I don’t know what to tell you. Intermittent Temporary Insanity? That beats Chronic Pernicious Stupidity, anyway. Whatever the cause, been there, done that, and back again.

Even now, I am not immune.

BUT, I have found that my best shot at beating the Monster of Too Many Directions is to outline my next right step, or steps. If nothing else, writing them down lets me at least see clearly when I’m trying to do the impossible.

For this week, the next right step is prioritising what I want to focus on in this coming year so that my resolutions are useful, realistic, and truly in line with my fullest life.

What are you up to this week?


Be well.


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