A new year is a new beginning for even the most unromantic of us. Children get used to a new number in the upper right corner of the exercise book and need a few weeks for it, we older people say: Another year has passed. Perhaps there are still a few loose thoughts on the way: less alcohol, more sport, more often going out and hiking, meditating daily, running three times a week. All good ideas, and we all know they won’t last long. “A day like any other,” the unromantic say.
But the time between the years is not like all other times. Everything is a little quieter. Corona will prevent the metropolises from being empty and the village discos full of young people, but nevertheless life will be shut down in many work areas for several days. The telephones ring less often. We withdraw to the closest circle, to those we like best.
The strategy session is a family project
For several years now, I’ve been spending part of this time thinking about the New Year. We do this together in the family, brooding and discussing, collecting ideas, discarding them. In the end, we have an idea of the time that lies ahead. With this little project we are adding value to the time between the years. It is family time, it is time for nature and good food, for sport and time for each and every one of us. We take stock: Another year was completely different than planned – but look where it has led us.
Goals are actually frowned upon in New Year’s resolutions: “Losing weight” is not a resolution – “Intermittent fasting and strength training Tuesdays and Thursdays” is a resolution that allows the goal to come closer by itself – as far as the theory goes. But “all by itself” or “simply” are signal words that you should pay attention to. Things in adult life are not easy. And that’s fine. People are very well equipped for most challenges. Rather, it is the promise of simplicity that leads to failure.
“Concrete resolutions” are not everything
So we need both: goals and an idea of how to achieve them. I already wrote about everyday working life how important it is to bring several levels together for a good strategy. A strategic mindset helps us to achieve our goals, to fulfill our own desires, psychologists have researched this. We need a goal. We need the strength to focus on this goal and we have to trust our own decision. And we have to get started. From this combination we form the strategy.
At the weekly level, this may seem a bit fleeting. I have to write texts, edit my podcast, do the laundry and come up with new ideas. Repeat.
It gets exciting when I look at the year. I want to go back to the mountains. I want to learn something new so that I can develop more creative, meaningful ideas. I want to get fitter to manage my low blood pressure. These are goals that really mean something to me. I believe in their worth. I want to stand up for them because I stand up for myself. So I’m going to work my thighs and look for good times for days of hiking. I will choose and book a new course. And I’m going to step up the strength training and keep running three times a week. To me.
Goals are self-centered, but that’s fine. We are there for others every day – the “big picture” of our own life may well relate to our own life – to whom else?
Ask yourself the right questions
Taking care of yourself is more than a moment in the bathtub with hot chocolate and “roasted almond” ice cream, although I highly recommend it. Selfcare deserves more complex thoughts, ideas that we work with. After a personal strategy session, the goals for a year will be more closely related to your own values and ideas. This is how life feels better. We are creating a new level, moving away from just managing the daily business of our own life.
This is exactly what the strategy session between the years is good for:
What I want?
Why do i want this?
And how do I create good conditions?
A goal can really be anything – but ideally it offers a strong impulse to act. The armchair exercise from coaching is a nice method for this, but we’ll shorten the idea a bit. Imagine, twelve months from now, you are sitting together on New Year’s morning and talking about the past.
How would I like to look back on this year?
For those of you who are less verbal and more visual:
Which photos would I like to see of myself when I scroll through my smartphone pictures in a year?
What do I want to have celebrated?
The promotion, the new job, the self-employment? The vacation with all generations? The completely worn out hiking boots? Less fat, more muscle mass? Climbed a 2000er for the first time? A closer relationship with the people in the neighborhood? No longer chasing after the demands of your own household?
The wishes are free.
And it’s perfectly fine not to fulfill all of your ideas, goals, and desires. I have long made up my mind to hike across the Alps and, well, it doesn’t look too good for 2021 either. The past three years have taught me once again that life is stronger than any plan. I got pregnant the first year. In the second year I underestimated life with a baby. And then Corona came, we gave up traveling. That’s how it is then.
Goals are guiding stars. We don’t have to follow them every moment. Even the sailor has to deviate from the route in a headwind in order to move forward. But later the star knows the way again. If we create our own stars, then we create our own route.