February is here and the enthusiasm of the holidays and New Year’s resolutions have passed — not to mention the winter doldrums are starting to set in. We are facing the daunting marathon until June and another school year complete. I must admit, at this time of year it starts to feel hard to keep momentum strong toward the change, that I may or may not have identified, is going to happen this year!
Whether you are one of those hard core achievers diligently chipping away at your goals or not – we all get to a point of questioning – Can I do this and what is next? In my coaching practice I see it happen to all types, the excitement is waning and this is where “the rubber hits the road.” Reality sets in and the climb looks steep. Yet, we continue in a perpetual motion of just staying busy and moving forward. And if you aren’t getting things done, well then something must be wrong. Resonate with anyone?
I have been through different seasons in my life and often faced with this challenge by the end of February. The good news is I have learned some effective coping skills along the way and have come to see this as a powerful gift. Perhaps this is the very nudge, or ah ha! Saying STOP and pay attention. Listen to what is really going on and get connected to myself. I am a doer by nature and my go to pattern is to buck it up and keep going. That behavior has allowed me to escape the deep thinking and contemplation. Or even worse — the uncomfortableness of sitting still. What I have come to learn is that in my “busyness,” I am so disconnected I don’t even realize the impact of how I am showing up. What have I been missing? What have you been missing? While teaching Pilates recently, I realized the metaphor in the tiny movements, holding still, and breathing not only in exercise but in every aspect of our life is where we find the greatest connections and joy.
So, what’s next? How do you want to continue to move through this year and achieve the goals and/or change you seek? Why not pause, be still and evaluate your why’s – the values you hold. The values in which you make decisions on daily that are so subconscious they go unnoticed. As a coach, no matter what challenges my clients face, we start here. Just as strong companies lay this foundation of a mission and core values; this is an incredibly powerful discovery for yourself. It brings a connected sense of purpose and meaning behind the goals you have set. If you find yourself stuck in the winter doldrums, post resolution blues – I challenge you to embrace those moments. Give yourself a wink and say ok, I need to take inventory.
Below are two exercises to sort through in these times:
- For those of us “Doer’s”, this is a challenge but I can attest it has given more clarity than I ever imagined. Give meditation 15minutes a day – No judging allowed, just notice and write down the chatter that is going on in your mind. Reflect – What is it like to just sit with your thoughts and let them go? Do you notice a pattern or theme? What could this be telling you about your values?
- Define your core values: Think of highs and lows you’ve experienced in your life. Write these events and ask: What is significant about these times and what values are being held? Name a value to each – themes will most likely appear. Another, way to identify your core values is consider what you can’t tolerate — what drives you nuts. These are pointing directly to tightly held values and beliefs. Use this list of sample values that might help you. Once you have identified your top 10 – bring them to life with a definition. If that value walked in your house, what would it look like? This is what makes it unique to you – Ex: Trust might be on many lists but that can look very different to each person.
Have fun with these exercises and notice the shifts in perspective toward your goals. Who do you want to BE and are you showing up authentically? I wish for each of you a year filled with a renewed balance, embracing the pause.
Life is a dance that requires a lot of balance and just like when we are training our body – our spirit and mind need the same attention.
Amy Chibib works as a career/life transition coach in Austin, Texas. She enjoys helping clients map out their whys and what’s next. If you are interested in learning more, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512.632.9252