16 Essential Lessons for 2016 [Part 1 of 2]

Whether you choose to make new resolutions, goals, strategic plans, vision boards, declarations there is a sense of excitement that comes with bringing in a new year.

The idea of new gives hope. It can change our perspective on a current situation. There can even be relief that when the clock strikes at midnight, the agony of the former year will end.

A new year is an opportunity to emerge into a greater version of you.

I realize that it doesn’t take a new year to make the necessary changes for self-improvement. When life becomes overwhelming, sometimes an immediate decision is needed to move towards a different way of living. 

Goal Setting isn't easy.

It’s not easy to sit down and create new goals. I can count the many times that I have written down plans for a new year, a to-do list of things to accomplish, a new mantra for encouragement.

Some have stuck and others have not been as successful.

It's not too late.

If you haven’t decided which way you are going to plan to succeed this year and meet your personal goals—it’s not too late. While some people have ambitiously developed their plan for the year, there is still time to think, create, and organize to put into action dreams that you desire to change your life.

If you are still looking for a practical method to plan for 2016, check out this post by Jeffrey Shaw outlining “7 Creative Ways to Prepare for the New Year.” 

Over the past few weeks I have been reflecting on all the aspects of my life as I prepare for my 30th birthday. This is a milestone birthday that for many is an age to dread.  I am approaching the next year using some essential life lessons that I have learned and hope will guide me through future successes and challenges, truths and uncertainties, faith and doubt. Many of these lessons are timeless nuggets that have been passed on from generations. I don't claim to know it all, but this is how I am making sense of how to navigate life. 

It is my hope that you can use these lessons as well to help you pursue and achieve your goals in 2016.

 16 Essential Lessons for 2016 [part 1]

  1.    Less is more and more is less. I read the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown because I was looking for guidance on how to focus on doing the things that matter. I’ve learned that focusing on what is necessary and eliminating distracting behaviors can build productivity habits.  Multitasking is not always the best solution to help you solve problems. It can slow down progress and create a hamster wheel mentality. The simple life doesn’t always mean the opposite of a lavish lifestyle, but by incorporating practices to do what matters most—spending quality time in completing the most important task first.
  2. Joy can be found in silence. I used to be afraid of the quiet. I thought that in order for me to feel safe, I had to have distractions around me (music, people, social media). Recently, I have been trying to retrain my need for noise and lean into the silence. There is a sense of blessed peace and abundant joy when you re-imagine silence as a gift.
  3.  Take time to disconnect.  Yes, I said it. DISCONNECT from the constant need to stay in communication with others. There is no need for rocket science or a fancy study on the number of people who are attached to their phones or other electronic devices. Just take a look around you the next time you are in a public space. You will most likely see someone attempting to have a conversation while communicating on social media at the same time without ever looking the person in front of them in the face. When we disconnect from the external world, we are forced to encounter those who are in our physical space. We need to care and be more intentional about our physical relationships. There is still value in real time conversation.
  4. Plan to revise, revisit and re-imagine goals. Often we get tied down to the plan and forget that life will sometimes bring about the unexpected. When adversity enters, and it will, don’t let the struggle prevent you from working towards your goal. Changing the plan is not an admission of failure.
  5. Love those who chose to stay in your corner. Some of us have experienced loss in deep ways that cuts deep. This kind of loss is different from the physical death of a loved one. This loss happens when someone we love, value and trust chooses to end their relationship with you. I’ve been there before and have felt the pain each time. However, I have learned that even during the grieving process, I was not completely alone. There were still people in my corner who genuinely loved and supported me. I found that by valuing relationships, I had more people who were really with me than against me in some of the toughest moments in my life.
  6.  Pray for those who depart, but don’t lose any sleep. This might be the harshest lesson on this list. It’s not about being rude. However, we sometimes spend too much energy wondering why other people choose to exit out of our lives. You will probably never know the real answer. I’ve learned to pray for them so that both parties can receive healing. More importantly, I pray that with time for the strength to endure and hope that if it is the will of God there will be reconciliation.
  7. Care for your body; you will only get one. I’m sure you have heard many people in your network make “getting physically fit” a top priority or resolution. I support all endeavors to improve physical health. But, I am more passionate about the ways we care for our bodies. We are blessed with only life on Earth. If we cared for our bodies (including our souls), we would be wiser about what we choose to put into it, who we allow to touch it, and what we do with it. Our bodies are precious gifts from God. We should be better stewards of what we have been entrusted.
  8. Choose an accountability partner. Working to achieve your goals can be a more rewarding experience when you recruit a support system. An accountability partner is a trusted confidant who can provide the guidance and motivation you need to pursue your goals.  The value of choosing the right accountability partner can be the most beneficial when you hit road blocks and want to give up. To help me with my fitness goals, I started working out with a personal trainer to hold me accountable. I appreciate how he pushes me to finish each set without cutting corners.  An accountability partner can come in many forms-- a coach, pastor, mentor, teacher, family member, or  trusted friend. 

NEXT STEPS: What important life lessons have you learned that you are carrying over to guide you as you set, pursue and achieve goals? 

Stay tuned for part 2 of the Essential Lessons for 2016. 

Suggested Resource
Here is the book mentioned in the article. As a disclaimer, this is an affiliated link to the book. This means that I will receive a commission if you decide to purchase the book using this link.