Updated: Jul 8, 2020
It's Not About a Resolution but an Evolution
Most Resolutions promise things - goals about health, money, or time. Others pick one word they believe will represent their year - bloom, surrender, positive, love. All good words that can serve a grand purpose if they drive someone during the year. But I've opted to take a different approach...to choose "feelings" as goals - how do I want to feel this year. Then I can make choices during the year guided by these feelings. As an introvert often deep in my head and connected to my emotions, this approach seems powerful.
This has been a particularly challenging blog to write this week. I wanted to compile the first blog of the year to ensure it is impactful - that it prompts us to pause and think and perhaps make some changes in our 2020 plans. I didn't want it to be yet another New Year's Resolution blog.
I've also struggled with this post because it takes a lot of reflection and vulnerability - not just in sharing with all of you, but especially in contemplating 2019 for myself. As I noted in my December post An Introvert's Reflections, I feel like I made a lot of progress on my journey in 2019. Sort of settling into retirement, finishing my first book and preparing to publish, creating my website and this blog to connect with other introverts, and spending more quality time with the family. However, I also reflect on how far I have to go. Despite our progress, I expect everyone has moments of second-guessing our progress. Am I on a healthy track, am I tackling new challenges with confidence? I'm reminded it is indeed a journey. There really is no end. Success must be gauged by progress in the right direction, regardless of the size of the steps.
However, with such small steps comes one of my biggest concerns entering 2020... stagnation. Throughout my 30 years in the energy industry, I had many projects, presentations, and difficult conversations as a team leader. I didn't relish many of these but I stepped up to meet the challenges as part of my job. Those times of stepping outside my comfort zone were some of the most stressful, yet I learned to stretch myself and become accustomed to, and actually crave, change.
Without that outside influence, it became easy in 2019 to lose that edge. I'm finding that getting out of my comfort zone is like a muscle that must be exercised regularly. In 2019, I look back and find that my health was stable, my exercise was consistent, my days became a bit routine, and even our travel became predictable. I'm not complaining. I think I needed that to decompress after 30 years of work and to find my true comfort zone. But, it was colored with stagnation.
So 2020 will be about change...positive change. I want to be guided by three tenets in 2020. I want to be...
Challenged- to occasionally reach out of my comfort zone - dip my toe in strange waters and see what ripples it creates in my life.
Proud- of accomplishments but also in just making the effort to stretch outside my comfort zone. This requires a dose of self-confidence and self-compassion.
Kind to others - not to be hypocritical of others or levy shame upon others (sort of a Golden Rule goal).
As noted in last week's blog, my two Magic Moments for 2020 (events that will become poignant memories I will cherish the rest of my life) will be:
Publishing my first book, In Search of Courage: An Introvert's Struggle with Addictive Behaviors, and
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest point, with my daughter Maddie.
Both will provide ample opportunities to be guided by my 3 tenets. But supporting and sharing with my family, researching my next book, maintaining a mindful approach to my eating will also provide daily opportunities to learn and grow in 2020.
I believe this last item, "mindful eating," deserves a bit more discussion, especially given a huge number of New Year's Resolutions focus on losing weight. Throughout my life, I've tortured myself with the yo-yo experience of dieting, restrictions, and counting followed by binging, recklessness, and guilt. The entire cycle bred pain and shame in me as it does for millions of Americans battling similar issues. Over the past year and a half I've been guided by a principle of mindfulness that has helped me to be happy with who I am and encouraged me to make conscious choices about what I eat without guilt or shame. Yet as I reflected on 2019, I once again felt the draw to cave to society's conditioning toward dieting. But pondering my tenets for 2020 has reminded me of the value of being mindful...to challenge myself to be in the moment, to be proud of my choices and to be kind to myself.
At the end of the day, being challenged, proud of myself, and kind to others helps build self-confidence, a condition I lacked as I struggled to cope with my own introversion for decades but find to be a key to long term happiness for many of us.
I wish you all a very Happy New Year and best of luck in your own personal journeys. Thanks for making Beyond Introversion one of your valuable sources for personal growth in 2020. We have an exciting year ahead!