A question for you:
What do you do when you’re unhappy with the way your business is going?
Personally, I eat a lot of Doritos and chocolate. Then I feel sick and decide to balance it out with something healthy like meditation. Of course, one meditation session can—for better or for worse—turn into a full afternoon of “self care” (anxious journaling, listening to podcasts, staring at the ceiling).
Eventually, I figure things out. Then the anxiety evolves into redoing my website. And the cycle continues. That poor site has seen some 3-4 iterations in the past year (though I’m really digging the latest rendition).
Some people can focus on one goal for years, writing down their daily to-do’s and hustling toward that Big Dream.
But for others, our careers are more winding paths, fraught with days of self-doubt and triangulation. It’s a tough path, but I quite like it. It means we’re less likely to end up at the end of a road we never wanted to go down in the first place.
And so, in the spirit of December and preparing for fresh beginnings, here are a few questions to help you analyze your current path—and what needs to change in the new year:
1) Am I content?
The ancient philosopher Epicurus is associated with overindulgence and extreme pleasure. In reality, though, he preached that a good life is simply one of contentment: modest pleasures that promote tranquility while avoiding fear and physical pain.
American hustle culture tends to say that you have to stay “hungry” to succeed. But hunger implies you’re driven by lack. What would it look like to be driven by joy instead?
Another thought—If you are not content, consider what you require in order to become content. And tread mindfully. Contentment tends to be closer than you expect.
2) What do I need to leave behind in 2018?
Without a doubt, 2018 has been a trying year here in the States (and across the world). The anxious political climate has spilled into our everyday lives, bringing uncertainty and driving wedges between us and our loved ones.
What in your personal life needs to be purged in order to walk into 2019 with fresh eyes and an open heart? What needs to be done away with in your business or job? And what boundaries do you need to set to keep those things out for good?
3) What do I need to embrace in 2019?
What new ideas, techniques, or offerings do you want to introduce into your business in the new year? What relationships will you seek? What experiences do you want to have?
If the prospect of a new year excites you as much as it does me, allow me to lend a piece of advice: Don’t actually think about it in terms of a whole year. Anything you intend to do, commit to beginning it in January. February if you must. But capture the excitement before the idea starts feeling stale.
4) What is my theme for the new year?
I find that a theme is often much easier to stick with than goals are. It’s an intention that’s fluid, designed to be interpreted into multiple facets of your life.
And if you choose your theme well, it has a habit of sticking around. In college I took on a theme of “simplicity,” and today I’m still practicing my own version of minimalism in both what I own and how I live.
This year, my theme is “creative freedom.” I’ll let you interpret that how you will (that’s kind of the point), but let me just say that I am incredibly excited to let that idea guide my efforts after the holidays.
As always, thanks for reading. Happy holidays if you celebrate, and I hope you get to spend some quality with your friends and/or family this season.