“Change is inevitable, unless you are standing at a vending machine.”
I’m no clairvoyant, but I had a feeling that 2021 was going to have a few surprises in store and yet, no amount of toilet roll prepared me for all the change and uncertainty. As a self-appointed facilitator of learning (or perhaps because I’m self-interested), I looked back on 2021 and attempted to answer a couple of questions. It’s been a useful exercise so, why not give it a go yourself.
What do I know about myself now, that I didn’t know before?
- If I don’t have something to look forward to, I get very grumpy
- I’m not cut out to be a teacher
- I’m turning into my grandfather, who had an opinion about everything
- I have a low boredom threshold and grab every opportunity to creatively problem solve
- My optimism and growth mindset have been invaluable but it’s going to take more, to thrive in all this uncertainty!
How can I be better prepared for 2022?
It’s easy to sit on the sidelines shouting instructions to the ref., but it’s not terribly satisfying when they don’t listen. I’ve resolved to making 2022 more fulfilling so I turned to a few quality podcasts, books and conversations for inspiration. I hope you find some of these suggestions as valuable as I did.
- Discover your values
Other people have been telling me what I can/can’t do, where I can/can’t go, how I educate my children etc. for so long, I’ve lost the art of making clear decisions. I’m not alone; most of my clients are considering big changes in 2022 e.g., a change in career, relocation or study, but they are also cautious and hesitant to make the first move.
Surprisingly, I don’t recommend making hasty decisions – it’s likely to trigger worry or distress. The first place to start is your values then use them to guide the decisions you make.
Take a moment to identify your 3 core values;
- When I’m at my best, what qualities or attributes would I see? Not ones that are aspirational, but ones that I recognise.
- What attributes do I most admire in others? Why?
- What gives me a sense of fulfillment or meaning?
If you’re stuck, search for a list of values and descriptors, check out this useful site Personal Core Values List: 400 Examples To Embrace and Live By (liveboldandbloom.com)
2. Break out of your comfort zone
In times of uncertainty, it is necessary to think outside the box and apply creative and innovative solutions to problems never faced before. However, when we are under pressure and feeling cautious, it is tempting to reach for comfortable or familiar solutions. To break out of this dependent thinking, I recommend a short, 3-step process…
- Identify your lofty ambition – what is your primary focus for the year ahead? Make this challenging and inspiring e.g., we will have renovated our house
- Anticipate the future – what do you know and don’t know about what is ahead? What problems and opportunities do you see for yourself and others around you? E.g., I know it’s going to be difficult to find reputable builders. I know it’ll disrupt our lives. We’ll be able to socialise more and have space of our own to work and play.
- Set Boundaries – get specific about what the ground rules are: what is ok and what is not ok e.g., It’s ok for us to disagree but it’s not ok to be rude or raise our voices. Setting boundaries will help us and others stay focused and minimize distractions. It allows us the freedom to explore possibilities, with clear handrails to keep us walking in the right direction.
3. Fill Your Marble Jar
I know it’s tempting to crawl back into your cocoon to locate your mojo, but believe me, it’s not hiding there.
Most of my coaching clients have spent hours reflecting on their purpose and making decisions about the future. They have all resolved to change something (job, working conditions, parenting, interests etc.) but struggling to find the energy to get started.
To find enough energy to make changes, we first need to add some energy marbles to the jar so, take a moment to identify a few simple daily activities/routines that fill your jar.
It’s safe to anticipate that there will be loads of tasks that will require you to give up your marbles e.g. packing boxes so, it’s important to recharge with simple daily routines and habits that bring you joy. Remember, there needs to be an exchange of marbles for you to keep your jar almost full so don’t forget to give a few marbles away to people who need them more than you.
4. Gie it Laldy (Scottish for ‘Give it All You’ve Got’)
2022 is not the year to play it safe, especially if you are feeling unclear about what you really want. I recommend volunteering, offering your service, trying new things – even if they are not on your job description. Through stretching out of your comfort zone, you quickly learn where your strengths lie and learn more about yourself in the process.
At Reset Hub we are big fans of playing to our strengths as they are a great source of motivation. We encourage people to identify their strengths using a very cool questionnaire then, look for opportunities to use them more frequently – with gusto.
5. Practice acceptance
Ok, so I’m a bit of a stress head – especially when I’m juggling many balls. I know I’m not at my best when I’m sweating the small stuff or anxious about what’s to come. It’s easy to lose perspective and resist everything but, trust me on this, it’s unhealthy.
I’ve learned the hard way that ‘acceptance’ is the key ingredient for staying healthy – learning to let things go and take a chill pill when needed. I can access my sense of humour, reason and empathy, when I’m not wound up. The other delightful side-effect of acceptance is that I’m much more fun to work with.
Acceptance takes effort, but the pay-off is worth it. I take a few moments of active mindfulness when I go for my daily walk. I also give permission to trusted friends to tell me when I’m being judgmental. It stings at first but I’m slowly noticing my triggers and reactions and cutting them off before they escalate. This self-regulation is incredibly helpful when there’s so much uncertainty.
On reflection, I played it a wee bit safe in 2021. My comfort zone has been lovely but staying there has been at the expense of progress. If I’m going to achieve my lofty ambition in 2022, despite the continued uncertainty, I can’t afford to drift along. What about you? What are you up for? How do you plan to help yourself through the next challenging year?