It’s never too soon for a New Year’s Resolution.
October, November and December are very special to me. Holidays galore, true, but there are special calendar days for the entire world all year long and my particular celebrations aren’t shared by everyone. But important to me and mine is significant enough. And the final quarter of the calendar year matters beyond one’s celebration du jour.
October is a 31 days of scary. My favorite freaky movies are playing 24/7 on cable. This, of course, means I get more crocheting than writing done.
November – ahhh. Sweet, crisp, November brings the first of the snow for the Treasure Valley. The mountains will have been blanketed for weeks . . . poor Meredith. Even better, November begins with the last of the summer clearance as retailers make way for the buying horde. Yep, I’m a sucker for flea markets, clearance whatevers and one-day-only schemes. I draw the line at Black Friday. Herds scare me. Sheep, cows, people. Pick your species – herds, like offensive linemen and my daughters with entourage, intimidate.
December is the biggie. December is gold. Not only because of the celebrations (and, face it, gingerbread dipped in white chocolate deserves a day of silent reflection), but it’s my time for a stern look at the year. What did I accomplish?
In my day job, I teach, consult on and research organizational/individual performance. I’ve shared bits and pieces during the past few months on this blog. One of my ‘best practices’ is to accept a truth. While we can’t do much more than experience time, we CAN manage our priorities to enhance life. We need to look at what we value as an end along with those values we use to shape the process. Prioritize the how of life, not just the result.
December, not January, is my time to assess and adjust.
Using three categories – Healthy to, Have to, and Hanker to, I blend my personal and professional hopes into ‘what to accomplish’ and ‘how to accomplish’ H-goals. My December reflection forces me to assess whether I ‘got er done’. (I really ADORE the phrase, but suspect I’m simply embracing, with an odd pride, my redneck roots. Seriously. It’s as much fun as ‘serendipity’ and ‘puhfendorf’ especially with rapid-fire repetition . . . and it’ll get stuck in your head like an Elvis song.)
I don’t use a seven day week in planning. People (and organizations) often adjust performance unconsciously after Wednesday. A ten day (or so) block ‘tricks’ my subconscious into maintaining momentum. I divide the year into three-month blocks and each month into approximately three ten day blocks and then work backward. Though I can’t always devote a major effort towards a goal every day (and we’ve all had days where existing is Nobel-worthy), I can commit to doing something to facilitate each goal during every ten-day or three month block. If I diversify those small steps toward a larger goal (e.g., different approaches, yet the same path), then I don’t get bored with repeating the same action, but still make measurable progress. An unfinished task during a particular day or hour doesn’t need to discourage me from continuing the quest. I’m keeping focus on a larger block of time.
But life happens. (Ya can’t beat a good cliché. I’ll work on giving them up in 2012. Time will tell. Oops.). December, like every other month in our lives, is a time to celebrate. And – to consider where glitches skewed my good intentions. To fess up when I lost sight of a bigger goal by paying more attention to technique than purpose. I’m a day or so away from the big ‘end of the year inventory’ for 2011, but I’m more confident now than the last half decade. Oh, I’m expecting a little self tsk-tsking here and there. Still, we deserve to embrace our personal character arcs as much as the ones we tweak for our heroines.
Thank you for letting me share these thoughts. Would you return the favor? What do you celebrate about you as this year closes? Don’t wait until January 1. Make December about starting anew.