The new year means to me, a time to reflect over the past year. I reflect over my accomplishments and successes and I reflect (trying not to ruminate) over things I didn’t do well, could do better and things that failed and I need to learn from.
In my December newsletter, I included a tool called “Unraveling 2016”. I have used this tool for many years to guide me in accessing the past year and to provide guidance for the coming year ahead.
In this newsletter, I am including another tool which I also have been using for years. It is a tool that helps you to pick one word for the year that will guide your actions. My word this year is POWER. Power to me means stepping into my whole self and being comfortable there. Much like my word, genuine, last year, Power means being comfortable with whom I am but it goes a step further to exercising that authenticity and to go after what I want. I will not wait for things that I want to come to me. I have the power to create those things for myself and I intend to do that this year.
Power, also, means to me having the ability to step away when certain situations rub up against my values. Rather than fighting to change what is, I will use my own power to go in a different direction. Fighting requires a lot of energy and my plan is to turn my energy inwards towards what I want, what honours me and what sparks joy in my life.
I encourage you to give the exercise a try.

Another word that springs up for me in the New Year is Balance.
I am asked frequently how to strike a life balance. I would ask why is balance important to you?
If your answer is like many, that you find you are neglecting things that are important to you or that you want to do, or that you feel overburdened, exhausted, then yes, you may need to look at your activities and make some changes. Balance is an art. It isn’t something you have, stick in your pocket and move on. Balance is a skill that requires exercise every single day.
For me, I have to see it in writing and so I have created a tool for you to use to get a visual of your commitments, obligations and your pleasures. Note that I have listed pleasures first. This is not an accident. You must plan and schedule specific activities of enjoyment. They will not appear when you have time. Because let’s face it, you won’t find time. You will fill up your life with personal and professional obligations. Pleasures are the keystones of life that keep you energized, motivated and refreshed. Please don’t dismiss your pleasures as something to do after you obligations are filled. Finding joy is just as important as those pesky obligations.
You can perform this exercise on a daily or weekly basis if you choose. I have chosen a monthly approach to give you a bird’s eye view of what you have in front of you for the coming months.
Perhaps you aren’t able to know what your obligations are over the entire year, but I am pretty ure you know what your commitments are in a general sense. Likely your work has an annual cycle that has specific activity areas during specific times. Write that down.
Perhaps you already know when your summer vacation is, write that down.
Once you see your commitments, obligations and pleasures written in front of you, you know have a good visual cue of your life balance.
Is it all work? Is it all personal commitments?
Take a good objective view. Have a friend assess your calendar of balance. Can you eliminate some commitments? Can you delegate them to someone else? Can you move some things to different months? Get creative and build for yourself a calendar of balance that you can sustain and makes you happy.
Making a plan is the key to leading a balanced life.
Whatever tools you find to refresh your goals for the new year, I wish you all the best for a productive and happy new year ahead.