Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

Here we are... January 1, 2008! A very Happy New Year to you!

I spend my new year's eve as I always do: performing a comprehensive review of the outgoing year. I spend several hours, looking back over my goal list (more on this in a moment) and flipping through my journal to mine out the events and achievements that were the most meaningful to me during the year.

The 'year review' is a powerful process that reminds me just how much life I lived in the course of the outgoing year! I pay special attention to trips I took, experiences and gifts I gave to others, significant personal achievements, and the contributions that I made to maintaining and strengthening the health of my relationships. The resulting list is several pages long. I always end the night feeling that my year was worthwhile and that I did far more than I give myself credit for.

Some of my highlights for 2007 were exploring my roots and heritage in Texas with my mother and my uncle David last spring. We spent a fantastic two weeks driving ALL over Texas, meeting relatives and visiting the places where my mom and her family lived when she was a child. I even got to stand at a pulpit where my Grandfather, Morris Russell Pike, Sr. preached as a Methodist minister 65 years ago. As an ordained minister myself, that was a magical moment for me!

Me behind the pulpit of the Channing Methodist Church

The Channing Methodist Church where my Grandfather preached 65 years ago

It was such a treat to share this experience with my mother and my uncle David. We saw so many relatives. I had never met many of these people. It was fascinating to see some of my heritage. Many things about my drive, determination, personality and mannerisms made more sense after this trip!

Another highlight was discovering my Drazdoff relatives up in Canada, and uncovering my Doukhobor heritage! I've written about this a bit on my blog back in September. It was also very enlightening and revealed a lot to me about 'why I am the way that I am!' A lot of things about me make a lot more sense now!

I got a double whammy of spiritual depth from both sides of my family! :)

The list of achievements and special moments, as I said, is several pages long. It would be a bit boring for me to recount them all here. The point is, I think there is tremendous value in doing this sort of review. I actually do this almost every night when I go to bed. I do a 'day review' to remind myself of all the life I've lived that day. Whether for a day or a year, it is always a good idea to give oneself credit for the life we've lived. It helps us not take things for granted, or let things slide by without really appreciating them.

This is my New Year's Eve tradition. The year review.

Then, on New Year's Day, I set about setting my goals for the year. I've been doing this for 22 years! I use a journal that I found at Jack Boland's Church of Today (Now Renaissance Unity) in Warren Michigan. Jack Boland was (and is) one of the primary spiritual teacher's I've had in my life. He is one of the two people I actually credit with saving my life... literally. (The other is my teacher, Dr. Charles Bruni .) Both of these men have made their transitions and are no longer living with us here on earth. I have brief tributes to Jack and Dr. Bruni on my website, and will undoubtedly write about them here at some point.

At any rate, I use the journal, developed by Jack Boland, to guide me in a comprehensive goal setting process. I set goals by category. Among the categories are: Physical health, Mental/Emotional health, Career, Family, Relationships, Finance, Things I want to do, Things I want to have, Things I want to be, etc.

Every year I set these goals. Some of them are very minor things and other goals are actually more like 'life' goals. Some goals carry forward from year to year because they are continuous and never 'achievable.' Others are items I can tick off the list. I evaluate goals based on whether I 'achieved' them or 'made progress' on them. It is a really wonderful process!

What I have discovered over the years is that I really do achieve a lot more because of writing down my goals! Sometimes I'm very shocked to see that I wrote down a goal, forgot about it and have achieved it!

In addition to goal setting, I declare a 'theme' for each year. I record my theme at the front of my journal, and I literally try to keep the theme in front of me during the entire year. It can actually aid in decision making! I can ask myself whether an action will take me toward or away from my theme. It has aided me many times when I have felt confused about a course of action!!

Some of my themes have been "The year of the body" where I worked on physical health, "Adore and Adorn this body NOW, as it is" where I worked on grooming, wardrobe, etc. and embraced my body exactly as it was in the moment, "Embracing my Femininity," etc. I look forward to choosing my theme each year. The first couple times I did it, I felt some pressure. It seemed like a really big commitment, and I struggled with all the themes I 'couldn't' choose if I selected only one. As the years have gone by, however, I've learned that I have time to get to all the other themes that are important to me. I've lost the urgency and am just left with the excitement of taking on yet another new theme each year.

So, as we sit at the dawning of 2008, I encourage you to give yourself credit for the life you have lived this past year and do a bit of a year review. Then, set yourself a few goals to focus your energy and attention on in the coming 12 months!! Last, but not least, think carefully about a major theme that you might embrace for 2008. You might find that your life takes off in wonderful and unexpected directions!

Happy New Year!!!

No comments: