*new term incoming…
one (of two) things you need to do before you start making new plans
We are almost (sob) at the end of August. Some of you may well have yet to embark on summer adventures, but many of us bound by the constraints of school holidays will be feeling the summer slipping through our fingers. This sounds rather morbid, sorry. But I do love the summer, and tend to struggle a bit once we hit October.
I also imagine many of you are turning your attention to the new term. You don’t have to have school-age kids to feel like it’s time for a new beginning – most of us still associate September with fresh starts. The problem is – we all have a tendency of rushing head-long into the next term, hoping it’ll be different. We get cracking and low and behold, three weeks in, everything is as was. No change.
There are two key things we all need to do so that we can see real difference in our next season.
I’m going to cover one of those things today, and the second one next week.
Stop and Take Stock.
I don’t just mean taking an inventory of your feelings, or picking a couple of things that you know didn’t work out. I mean properly taking the time to review and evaluate where you are currently at, and considering why you are in this place. You see if we can’t see what’s working and what isn’t, how can we do more (or less) of certain things going forward? If we don’t know what is especially working or is especially broken, how can we see what needs our attention?
There is a practice called examen that was created by Ignatius of Loyola in the 15th Century. It is a daily practice that allows us to reflect upon the day’s events. It enables those that use it to start and end each day with intention, with reflection and with knowledge of what is working and, quite frankly, what is not.
How about taking an examen approach to the last term? Here’s a how-to that I am loosely basing on this approach to help you reflect and review well. No running ahead, you.
💭 Make time and space for wisdom
Firstly, you need more than five minutes to do this well. Furthermore, you need to de-clutter your head a little in order to do it effectively. Set some time aside and do what you do best in order to be at peace in your mind (by the way, I would like to help you do this – so if you’re free on the 5th Sept at 8pm then put me in your diary). If you have a faith, or believe in any kind of higher power, I would encourage you to consider this as you seek out wisdom and insight.
💭 Be grateful
Look back over the past three months. What are you grateful for? What comes to mind as you stop and look back, perhaps even getting out your calendar as an aide memoire? What is making you smile, feel joy, pride or happiness? Any threads developing? Or what moments are you most grateful? What experiences felt most life giving to you? When did you feel most contented, most like yourself?
💭 Be honest – 1
You need to be honest about what hasn’t worked so well for you, too. That’s all part of the process and we can’t filter out the bumps in the road. These questions might help. For what moments are you least grateful? What experiences drained life from you? When did you feel the least sense of belonging to others?
💭 Be honest – 2
Sorry to say this but there will also be some ways that your character and choices didn’t live up to what they could be. You will have hurt and disappointed your loved ones, friends and colleagues. Be honest about this, too. It what moments did you feel the most disappointed in yourself? What is it you were doing in these moments? When did you feel the most discontented, uncomfortable, and the least like yourself?
If we take the time to do this well, it’s both a relief and enlightening. It can arm you with the knowledge you need to have a new term that looks and feels different. Bit by bit.
I’ve been planning a webinar, New Term, New You, on the 5th September, 8PM UK time to help you do just this very thing in more detail. I’ll guide you through an hour of input so that you can plan the next term for a win. In just one hour of your time, I promise you will be in a better place to face what is ahead of you. We’ve got to avoid running on autopilot and instead be intentional and focused about what matters most in the term ahead. Simply register with your email and you’ll be added to the guest list. Reserve your place for £15 (let me know if money is an issue and I can send you a link without charge).
Oh, and I’ll tell you what the other thing that you need to do is, next week.
Bye for now,