This week might be one of my favorite weeks of the year. Not just because I work in education and get this week off, but also because it gives me some breathing space.
I look forward to this time all year to reflect on the lessons learned, experience gained, relationships rekindled or lost, and the unexpected surprises that buoyed my spirits or broke my heart.
Some of these things were in my control and many of them were not. Either way this year provided a continually expanding arena for me to rearrange my perception of my place in the universe.
In an effort to become more visible and accessible, I became aware of how small I’ve been playing for a long time and how safe it is to do so. The minute I risked becoming more visible and having an opinion, an agenda, or an attitude, I risked opening myself to judgment, criticism, and haters.
I can live with that. It appears to be the price of admission to a non-apologetic life.
What I can’t live with is being a writer and censoring myself so as not to offend or otherwise ruffle a few feathers. There were many things that had me worked up this year. It was also the year I embarked on an Integrity Cleanse so not writing about them was not possible.
As a writer, my job is to articulate the emotions underneath the issues so you can feel them in a way you may not have, left to your own devices.
I take this job very seriously. And though I don’t get paid to do it or enjoy celebrity status because of it, it’s the most rewarding thing I do. Because of you.
If reading makes us feel less alone in the world, then writing makes us feel more understood.
The greatest satisfaction I get from writing is knowing that some of you are reading this and thinking,”I know exactly what she’s talking about.” Especially when I describe the crazy stuff or make an obscure reference to something you thought you were the only one who remembered or had an experience of.
After a long day at work, I know I can retreat to my writing room and send something out into the world that will come back with a reassuring, “I hear you, honey. Welcome to my world.”
As I begin my week-long year in review, I want to start with saying thank you for being a consistent source of delight in my world and an incentive to keep pushing the envelope, expressing unspoken hopes and fears, and sprinkling a healthy dose of humor on ridiculous situations.
In between dog walks, reading, and savoring some quiet time at home, today I’m working on a few templates I’ll share with you tomorrow.
In the meantime, please share your highlights from 2016 in the comments below or email them to me at email@example.com.
Congratulations for sticking with me through the whole alphabet plan in the Here to the New Year in Good Cheer challenge. As you know, each day presents its own challenges. Since you can’t always depend on Plan A or even Plan B, you now have a whole alphabet plan in your arsenal.
But it doesn’t end here.
We’ve got one week left and this is when things can get tricky. It’s like you’ve been on this long road trip and you’re mere miles away from home when suddenly your car breaks down, you get pulled over for speeding, or you’re redirected on a detour that turns your minutes from home into hours.
How you handle this determines how you view the entire journey as well as how you approach future adventures.
Remember, you are equal to the challenge. You wouldn’t give up earlier in the challenge. Do not give up now. Don’t let fatigue or perceived failure stop you now. Put one foot in front of the other. You’ve got this, my friend.
Even if there are no hurdles left to jump and you plan to coast into the New Year without much thought, I’m asking you to give more.
This week reminds me of the Tibetan Buddhist concept of the bardo – an intermediate time between death and rebirth. So much depends on this week.
Pay particular attention to your thoughts and actions. Act with intention and do with deliberation.
If you can take the time and make the space to review your year, you’ll be much more likely to see the patterns, the people, and the places that impacted your well-being in the last twelve months. Then you can consciously choose whether you want to include them in the next twelve.
“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” – Sir Winston Churchill
Acknowledge what went well and what didn’t. What did you learn and how can you leverage that in the New Year? What do you want and why do you want it? I mean really truly want and are willing to disrupt life as you know it to get, not those things you say you want every year but never quite get.
I’m not interested in resolutions that will be broken by 12:15am on 1/1/17. Resolutions seldom stick. We need “goals with soul” as Danielle Laporte calls them.
I’m interested in those things you want to create, do, be, or have that will keep you up at night dreaming and scheming and planning and collaborating until it comes to fruition.
And that starts with a little clarity.
This week I’ll be sharing some of the templates I use to do my Year In Review. Hopefully they will help you start thinking about what’s possible for you in 2017.
Regardless of how you’ve ended years in the past, this year I want you to finish strong. As they say, “It ain’t over, til it’s over.”
Use this week to amplify your output. You know how you get super productive the day before you leave for an Alaskan cruise, Hawaiian vacation, or weekend getaway? This is the time to tie up loose ends, anchor out of control emotions, make things right in your relationships, and take care of any business you don’t want to drag into the New Year.
You are beginning Week 52 of 52 for 2016. What would it take to make it your best one so far? Only you can define what that means to you.
Let me know in the comments below what you would like to accomplish this week so you can go into the New Year in Good Cheer – especially if that is to just have fun and completely relax because you’ve been crazy busy all year.
P.S. Do you need a notebook to write down your responses? If so, I’ve got one for you. Leave your information below and I’ll send a Resolve to Evolve notebook out to you in time for the New Year. Your information is safe with me.
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It’s not that each of these letters aren’t worthy of their own plan in the Here to the New Year in Good Cheer challenge. It’s just that I’d like to finish the whole alphabet plan this week so we can get down to business next week preparing to ring in the New Year.
Like a well-planned exit strategy from a job or a relationship or a location, a well-thought out exit strategy for the year will yield excellent results.
While you may yearn for a yacht, a yellow submarine, or a career in yodeling, you can’t get from zero to hero without a little strategic planning.
You may zig. You may zag. You may even zip around in order to convince yourself you are getting there fast. But as Aretha once asked, “Who’s zoomin’ who?” Let’s get real about what it’s going to take.
So after we have ourselves a merry little Christmas and make the yuletide gay, we’ll recap 2016. We’ll leverage what we’ve learned so we can leap into 2017 with every intention of 10Xing the results we can expect once we get clear on why we want them.
I appreciate you reading and working through the Alphabet Plan. All I want for Christmas is to hear how these tips helped you or someone you love through the holidays.
Please leave your comments below. Or just pipe in and share how you are spending the holidays. What are your favorite traditions, foods, presents, places, or parties? I love learning from you and knowing what matters to you.
P.S. If you’d like to trade in your fruitcake or other interesting gifts for a perfectly-sized Resolve to Evolve journal, just fill out the info below and I’ll send you one. No need to send me the fruitcake in exchange though. 🙂
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The letter “V” is the visiting today to validate and vouch for the various strategies we been voicing to get from Here to the New Year in Good Cheer.
If this were a tv show, I’d be asking you to vote for your favorite strategy. But I’d like to give you a vacation from vocalizing your views or vetoes and simply ask you to practice the strategies that add value and verify what works for you.
Venting about what vexes you may be all that’s necessary to vanish the stress. Or visualizing a vibrant, healthy, happy version of yourself may do the trick.
The variety of tips vying for your attention may vary. So I’m going to volunteer one of my very favorite strategies.
Find a room with a view and let your imagination veer you towards that venerated state of a virtual Valium like quality peace and serenity. When you can vacate the need to control events and open to the vulnerability of being present, the volume of vibrant ideas you recognize as vital signs to your well-being may astound you.
One of those ideas for me is to venture into video. So slave-driving Santa will be bringing the equipment I need to up my game, face my fears, and be more visible in the New Year.
I’d love for you to voice your viewpoint in the comments below.
P.S. How would you like a perfectly sized Resolve to Evolve journal to record your resolutions, write out your to-do or ta-da! list, or record the many vistas you see out of your room with a view? Just let me know where to send it below and I’ll get one to you in time for the New Year. Please know your information is safe with me because selling your information violates all that I hold dear.
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Skipping to the front line of the Here to the New Year in Good Cheer challenge is the letter “S”, stacking one stone upon another in seasonal style.
There are several “s” words and ideas that strive to serve you. I could shower you with strategies that leave you staggering with a sprawling spread of spirited suggestions, but sticking to something more subtle suits us better.
You don’t need a series of solutions to get through the day. All that scheming, scripting, scouting, and scheduling may sacrifice your sanity. Where’s the satisfaction in that?
So without further speculating I shall spill the beans and sow the seeds of what I hope will be a shared sentiment.
Slowly succumb to the sights and sounds of your sacred space. If you can’t physically be there, go there in your mind. Soften your sharp edges. Seize the opportunity to shimmy, shake, shine, shout, or seek shelter in this place sanctioned solely for the spectacular surrendering of your stress.
It may seem silly or sound self-indulgent and you may be tempted to shrug it off. Do it anyway. It will soothe your soul, sweet pea. Splurge. Savor. Soak it up.
You deserve some serious stress relief. And I’m here to see that you shift your sights slightly sideways so you might be seduced by a shameless sashay into a silent night – or seconds if that’s all you can sequester – to sleep, shop, or shovel snow in heavenly peace.
Score some stickers or snag a sassy Resolve to Evolve mini journal by sharing your “S” stories in the comments below. I never sell the information on my list so your secrets and your emails are safe with me.
P.S. Here’s a bonus book recommendation for Plan “S”. Start With Why from Simon Sinek. If you prefer watching TED talks to books, catch his sensational talk here. (Thanks, Tom, for sending the book to me in the (saint) nick of time for Plan “S”.)
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Plan “R” is ready to report in for duty in the Here to the New Year in Good Cheer challenge.
Although there are many “R” words in the running for today’s top tip like relax, rejuvenate, roam, radiate, read, renew, receive, reveal, respect, restore, represent, reflect, reign, and shake-rattle-and-roll, one of the revolutionary principles I like to coach people on is resolving to evolve.
Although I have written Reasonably Radical Resolutions to Redefine Your Reality in response to regular resolutions that tend to last as long Rocky Road ice-cream on a ridiculously hot day, resolving to evolve means you repeatedly return to the place where you get to rewrite, re-do, or reinvent yourself as a result of your most recent reach for something outside your comfort zone.
This quote by Rumi sums it up.
“Respond to every call that excites your spirit.”
The reward for risking everything is that you reveal who you really are and this reminds you of what is possible for you.
Instead of removing yourself from any chance encounter with a roly-poly bearded guy and his flying reindeer, see if you can recapture a bit of the Christmas magic by reclaiming your own superpowers and rising to the challenge of realizing your potential.
I know you may resist and possibly resent me for requesting this of you at this time of year, but I want you to ride this year out on a wave of remarkable moments made possible by your commitment to reigniting your rousing curiosity and rejoicing with the totally righteous dudes and dudettes who recognize your rebellion as your resurrection into right livelihood or reassurance that you’re already rollicking along the right track with no regrets.
And one more thing.
Release the need to ricochet or rush around. It will rob you of any peace of mind you may have recovered while reciting riddles in a padded room. Rely on your own rhythm to move at the pace of grace this holiday season.
What rings true for you? Report in and recall your reasons why you rock and your Plan “R” rules below in the comments.
Right on. Or write on, as I like to say.
P.S. I almost forgot… more Good Cheer here! Remember I told you there would be goodies? Well, I’ve got goodies galore!
If you would like Resolve to Evolve or Here to the New Year in Good Cheer stickers to put on packages or love letters, or a mini Resolve to Evolve journal, respond in the comments below. Please leave your contact info below so I know where to ship your goodies.
It’s my way of rewarding you for reading and responding. (And don’t worry, your privacy is a big deal to me. I don’t let anyone have access to the information you share with me.)
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No way! We’ve already narrated our way to Plan “N’ in our Here to the New Year in Good Cheer and nothing can stop us from neglecting our duties now.
The need for novelty necessitates less napping and more noting of nouns and verbs that begin with the letter of the day. Focusing on things of a specific nature nurtures a nuanced notion of creativity not normally noticed by novices or newbies.
But since you are nearly a ninja now at naming a number of basic holiday survival tips, I must be nimble and expose the naked truth in order to nab your attention in a noisy world.
Despite never ending negotiations as to whether you belong on the naughty or nice list, nailing the nickname “Notorious” by nosy neighbor Nigel does nothing to negate your nomination to St. Nick’s newly named Not Quite Sure list.
Here’s a little nugget of advice. A nudge in the right direction is as near as one good deed away. Notice, nourish, and nuzzle up next to any number of noteworthy causes.
When Jack Frost is nipping at your nose, neck, knuckles, and knees, donate hats, scarves, gloves and other necessities to local shelters or schools. The net gain gleaned from giving is often greater than receiving.
Or while nibbling away at Nana’s nutritious nutcracker cake instead of Nelly’s nachos, find out where your local food bank is and feed a family or two.
What needs nestled into the nooks and crannies of normal life might you meet for others in your neighborhood this season?
Give me a nod and share the ways you move up a notch on the Nice List in the comments below. For every like, comment, or sharing of this post with, I’ll donate a dollar in your honor to our local food bank. How’s that for spreading good cheer?
Hey there, hi there, ho-ho-ho there!
It’s Day 8 of the Here to the New Year in Good Cheer Challenge.
Headlining today’s tips is the letter “H”. Put your headphones on and click here to hear them.
Hark the herald angels sing! Which begs the question, “Do you hear what I hear?” or am I hallucinating? Today I was hankering for a hack or a hook that would help you hoot and holler with happiness or at least hum along to a hassle-free hip-hop house party hit. I happened to hone in on recording this because caroling is out of the question. I can’t sing to save my life.
But I can hurtle through hundreds of “h” words in a horribly halting hammer-time haze. She who hesitates, complicates and hinders her hitch-hiking hero’s journey home for the holidays.
I’m recording this hurried and hobbled together blog post to humanize my written words. So huddle in close for hidden hints at what hooks the ear and hitches good cheer to the sound of one human humbling hearing and healing another.
I’m fully aware this may hurl me into humiliation and hamper my hopes of hatching a career in voice-overs. However, it’s what we do to help each other through the holidays. What will you hear today that highlights, hijacks, or harnesses your good humor?
I‘d love to hear what you heard in the comments below. If you prefer to hear these tips rather than read them, please let me know and I can make that happen for you. By the time we get to Plan “V”, I might just have some video for you as well. It never hurts to hypothesize!
It’s Day 5 of the Here to the New Year in Good Cheer challenge. “E” hopes to electrify and energize you so you are engaged, entertained, and ultimately enriched by reading.
“E” words encapsulate the experiences I enthusiastically endeavor to share with everyone I encounter. From embody to evolve, I envision programs to help expand, explore, and exude the excitement of enriching lives by fully engaging in them.
What word epitomizes today’s tip? As much as I enjoy verbs like empower, embolden, express, evoke, enliven, and emphasize, for this challenge I’m electing to endorse the idea of emerging.
Derek Rydall has an entire education system based on the Law of Emergence. Derek encourages us to achieve our potential by activating the genius already in us, not looking for it elsewhere.
What’s outside may very well enthrall and entice us. But when we embrace the existing excellence inside, it enables us to engineer our own brand of brilliance.
So how might this advice come in handy, especially during the holidays? Well, rather than eating, drinking, or shopping excessively at the first sign of stress, try to ease into the ensuing mental exercise.
Extricate, evacuate, or evict yourself from the situation, if possible. If you can’t escape, breathe slowly and deeply and empty your mind of emotionally charged exchanges. Remind yourself you are equal to the task at hand and able to enjoy what is going on around you as well as within you. Perhaps an epiphany will enlighten you. (And peace will guide the planet. And love will steer the stars.)
What effect do “e” words have on you? Please express them in the comments below. I’m not trying to extort you, but there could be a prize in it for you.
Tomorrow we have the letter “F” to look forward to. See you then.
It’s Day 2 of our Here to the New Year in Good Cheer challenge. Leading the charge for today is the letter B.
Today’s tip comes from Dan Pink’s book To Sell Is Human. It was also inspired by my trip to the pool for a swim on Wednesday.
Buoyancy is the quality that allows you to stay afloat amidst a sea of negativity, rejection, discouragement, heavy traffic, crowds, or whatever brings you down.
Reciting the work of a leading researcher on positivity, Pink describes buoyancy as the “calibration between two competing pulls: levity and gravity.”
“Levity is that unseen force that lifts you skyward, whereas gravity is the opposing force that pulls you earthward. Unchecked levity leaves you flighty, ungrounded, and unreal. Unchecked gravity leaves you collapsed in a heap of misery. Yet when properly combined, these two opposing forces leave you buoyant,” says Barbara Frederickson of the University of North Carolina.
I don’t know about you, but I span the emotional spectrum from levity to gravity every day. Sometimes every hour. Calibrating these pulls can take some practice. Pink suggests three things to help cultivate buoyancy.
The first is to practice interrogating self-talk such as “Can I figure this out?” as opposed to emphatically affirming self-talk like “I’ve got this!” Questioning if something is possible or doable opens you up to more creative options as to how to get it done.
The second is to allow yourself a proper ratio of positive to negative thoughts or comments (3 positive to 1 negative is where people seem to flourish) as you attempt to figure it out. Reality checks keep your dreams grounded. Humor does wonders as well.
And finally, an optimistic explanation of your results – no matter what they are – prevents you from playing the victim or taking rejection personally. That will help you get up and do it again. Amen.
Today as your emotions bubble up, remember Casey Kasem’s tagline, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”
Be sure you don’t miss a day of our Here to the New Year In Good Cheer challenge by signing up here. This allows you to pick up your Holiday Survival Guide and other goodies as we go.
I’d love to hear your comments below.