Looking Ahead Once Again

Ready or not, January is here and your journey into 2018 begins. January, as you may know, was named after the Roman god, Janus—and for a good reason. Janus is a two headed creature with the ability to look back at the past with one head and towards the future with the other. Janus is associated with beginnings, movement, change, and transitions; and is represented by bridges and doors.

What a perfect analogy for this whole month of January. It’s clean slate time! What will you create this year?

Have you ever noticed how time seems to stop for the first weeks of January? It takes about two weeks to get your bearings after December’s over-doing extravaganza: over-eating, over-spending, over-socializing. Both Janus and January offer four ideas.

The first is a Transitional Pause. As you know, a transition is the place in between where you were and where you’re going. It makes you feel a little tipsy and unsure of your next steps.Transitions can bring feelings of confusion, because even though the old is in the past, it’s more comfortable than the new stuff coming towards you in this future year.

The pause of January is a perfect time for Reflective Celebration of the past year. It’s natural to tally the ups and downs, goals achieved or not, health concerns, changes in your family, celebrations, bumps in the road—all of it—and then name it good or bad.

Yet what we label bad can very well lead us to the door of something even better. One year I got a rejection letter from the University of Iowa for a master’s program. I was crushed, but soon after, I discovered a leadership masters program that fit my life perfectly. What I had termed a bad break became a blessing in disguise. Celebrate the accomplishments first, and if something bad happened last year, or a goal wasn’t reached, take a look at it with fresh 2018 eyes.

It’s also a wonderful time for Creating Boundaries; bringing in only what’s working for us and leaving our limiting factors behind. Is it resentment or jealousy? Do we hold back because of fear of failure, success or change? Dig deep through self-reflection, talking to a friend or hiring a coach. Make a list of what to cut, and flip that item (or list) to a positive action. However you do it, leave it behind.

Opportunity Doorways will open after the pause, the celebration, and boundaries have been set. It’s now time to walk confidently into this new year armed with dreams and goals and plans. No year is perfect, so don’t let the fear of not being ready stop you. My challenge to you (and to myself as well) is to begin to expand your confidence zone by taking small risks.

Former students found this assignment helpful. One man reported having fun playing Mrs. Santa Claus. Another, a shy woman, risked making a comment at a meeting where previously she’d kept her opinions to herself. For a single friend, it was signing up for online dating. Just as we have our own shoe size, we each have something we want to do, but we’ve procrastinated or avoided it completely.

Each of us has something significant to contribute that improves ourselves, our families and our communities. Now more than ever, the world needs YOU to bring forth your best! Make this a picture perfect year, not by sitting back waiting for the perfect situation, but by expressing joy and passion for this precious time and place.

Trust in success for this coming year.

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