Do me a favour. I want you to sit back, get nice and relaxed for only a few moments, and pretend it’s the first week of December. Yes, I know, it’s still summertime and how dare I try to take the warm sunshine away from you, but humour me, alright?
So, it’s December, and Christmas looms. You have a bunch of cards to get in the mail tout-suite, baking to do, a dinner to plan and even worse, a mortgage payment’s worth of presents to buy and wrap. You’re going to spend time with your family (that you love) and other family (that you might not love that much. Like, ahem, some of your in-laws). Your kids are abuzz with energy, clamouring for treats and toys. You’re wondering how you’ll fit in (and afford) everything that you have to, before December 25th. And after then, there’ll still be a lull until another round of parties – New Year’s Eve.
Okay, now stop. It sounds exactly like life right now, doesn’t it. You don’t see the parallel, that August and December are virtually the same month? Let me elaborate…
Right now, the new school year looms. You have a bunch of paperwork, doctor’s visits, and back-to-school shopping to do (which may or may not cost the equivalent of a mortgage payment). You still have a few more weeks left of summer vacation, and if you’re like most families, you’ll go on some sort of trip or try to spent extra time together – which might include visiting your family. Including your in-laws. The kids are still high on summer, but they’re also anxious to get back to school, to see long-missed friends and show off new, cool backpacks. You’re wondering how you’ll get everything done that needs to be, including transitioning everyone back into the school-day routine. And then, bam, it’s the first day of school.
There’s a reason I’m using literary license to create a completely non-existent metaphor: The new school year is coming, and if I may be so bold, a new year. You know what that means, right? New Year’s resolutions!
Okay, just one, maybe. Your kids get to go to school and learn lots of new things, freeing you up to learn or do lots of (maybe new?) things, yourself. If you look at the first day of school as a new year, with new dedication and energy, you might just find yourself meeting goals that you never would have though to set!
What I really want you to do is to look at each area of your life and decide how satisfied you are with it, or what’s missing from it – your finances, career, relationship, health and spirituality. Pick one area that seems to be lacking the most satisfaction and ask yourself questions like why?, how did it happen? and what will resolve it?, until you’ve completely clarified what the singular issue is. To figure out what the solution to that single issue is, you can figure out a grandiose attack toward the problem – but don’t just stop there – then refine it into manageable baby steps.
If you set a large goal, it may span the entire school year, and that’s fine because by next summer, you will have accomplished something monumental.
Let me give you an example, from my real-life: I’ve wanted to go back to school for eons, it seems, but I’ve never been able to afford it and don’t want to take out loans to do so. So I’ve been largely unsatisfied, feeling undereducated, lacking passion, reading books on the subjects I’m interested and receiving no accreditation for it. For a decade, ladies. When I figured out that the main issue was financial, the grandiose plan was hatched – to save up for at least a year’s tuition before I went to school. But wait, that’s not that grandiose! I want to save up the entire tuition. But when I did some research, suddenly, that seemed quite impossible. Again. Until I broke it down into baby steps – saving a portion each week in a high-interest, tax-free saving account.
So, my goal for 2010-2011’s school year is to save up tuition, and if I’m successful, my goal for 2011-2012’s school year will also be met: go back to school, myself.
So tell me, what kind of new (school) year’s resolution might you make?