Reflection Can Create Stronger Resolution
Updated: Jan 5, 2020
The gyms are filled with those newly committed. Closets are being cleaned for the “last time”, again. Emails and letters to long lost friends are being sent. Meanwhile I am sitting in my pajamas listening to music from a century ago and driving my wife nuts with slang from the roaring 20’s. It’s the bee’s knees!
Let’s be honest. I entered these last two weeks with a long list of “to do’s” before year’s end, but a nasty cold took care of that. Now I am left with the final days of leave trying to figure out the “must do’s” before returning to work on Monday. A good time for “resolutions”, right?
I read as people post “good riddance” to the year past, mournful of failure, with hope for a better year ahead. A catharsis. I simply don’t feel that way. This was a good year, and during the unplanned break, I took the time to slow down and reflect on progress rather than focusing on failures or setbacks. That is not to say that I don’t have goals for the year ahead, I absolutely do. But I am building them on a foundation of success, far more powerful than lamenting what may not have gone right. That behavior is why only 12% of those making resolutions will see any real change.
The last year saw us travel to Japan as a family, after our daughter vetoed a long-planned trip to South Africa. Watching her navigate the streets of Tokyo and respect the Japanese culture, growing up incrementally over a ten-day span melted our hearts. I graduated with my MBA from William & Mary, something not done for career aspirations but rather personal growth. My wife became a real estate agent and one of our proudest accomplishments is the home office my daughter and I designed and built out for her, respecting my wife’s wishes to spend little, but in doing so, we achieved a great deal (and our daughter built a lamp). I am learning to be more comfortable with not having all of the answers, accepting failure, letting others lead while I block and tackle more. I am focusing more on active listening, on developing true inclusion, realizing that there is a much longer road ahead of me. And I am learning to embrace my fallibility as a father, struggling as my daughter struggles, not taking a hard-lined approach but instead taking each day as it comes and realizing that no, I haven’t walked in her shoes.
I’ve made progress. And yet, there is much more of this journey left to travel.
For those of you who have been following along, I started writing these “Early Reflections” when I was taking my daughter to school at an ungodly hour, at first trying to make the bus, eventually trying to make the first bell, to hoping she made it before the first class ended. Yet, we have seen in her a resolve, a commitment to keep pushing along. So much so that on her first day back, after a productive break, she and mom had to WAIT for the school to open this morning. In my daughter’s words, “I’m actually alive WTF.”
I am alive, WTF! I have made progress and will continue to do so. Yes, I will check most of those “must do’s” off my list in the next few days, which includes spending quality time with my wife, helping my daughter start Siddhartha, sending out thank you notes to my team, and finishing season five of West Wing (I think the writing went downhill after season four though). What gets missed, I will try to make time for….
Happy New Year!