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Use These Questions to Keep Personal Development Resolutions Alive All Year Long: Who do you want to BE?

Each January people fill gyms and exercise clubs across the nation with hope to follow through in their New Year’s resolutions to work out. So many plans of what people want to DO fill calendars in January. Yet often our intentions of doing things differently fall by the wayside as habits pull us back to past ways of “doing” life.

  • Have you considered who you want to “be” – both in this New Year and across your life span?
  • What character qualities will people best describe you with after your life is over?
  • What legacy are you creating now, today, this year…when it comes to how you interact with people and society?

For the past 3 years, I have taken on a character trait or attitude of the heart that I desire to really BE like, and have focused on it for a month in the year. And the next year come January, I revisit that character trait and way of being, in an effort to possess that trait as a fiber of who I am.

For example, it is January, and for the 4th year, during this month I will examine the place that compassion is integrated into my behavior, self, attitudes, calendar (how I spend my time), and thoughts. When it comes to being a person of compassion, now that I have a few years of taking a month to develop this trait, how am I doing?

It has been fun to focus on character and qualities of who I want to “be” with an annual focus on one for a month each year. These 12 ways of “being” are becoming more of who I am.

With a month to consider, reflect, ponder, and learn how to “be” more like each of these 12 traits, I have found that it results in changes in what I DO and how I act and relate to people and our world.

What do you want to BE in the New Year? Here are some strategic questions to consider – both now in the beginning of the year – as well as at any point in the year. I believe these can serve as a powerful, cyclical, personal character growth tool; at least they were for me over the past years, and continue to be focusing.

January – Compassion

Who can I take the time to truly try and view the world from their perspective, seeking to understand them, while feeling in a caring way what they do?

February – Kindness

How can I show kindness to someone today, whether it is merited or not? How can I go out of my way to be nice?

March – Humility

Will I pause today and consider each person I talk with as a human being of infinite worth and value? Will I choose to interact with each individual with an authentic attitude of wondering, “What can I learn from you and your experiences?”

April – Gentleness

Will I choose to pause before I speak and act today in order to run my words and behaviors through a “gentleness filter” in order to soften the edges in my words and deeds? Can I tweek my tones, words, and body language to better display gentleness in my interactions with others and our world?

May – Patience

Am I willing to do my best and leave timing and the rest in God’s hands while I wait patiently? So much of life occurs “between things.” Will I trust that God has everything in control and that my worry or impatience serves only to frustrate me?

June – Put up with one another

Will I choose to bear with people I find exhausting or frustrating while trying to keep a positive attitude? Will I keep in mind that I may need to give grace to others – and that I will surely need it given back when I am not at my best?

July – Forgive others

Am I willing to forgive others when I feel offended because this is the right thing to do, rather than hang on to bitterness? Will I choose to forgive people, unrelated to conditions of their continued behavior?

August – Love

How can I demonstrate love and acceptance to someone today who I may not naturally and easily think to give it? And whom do I believe I love that I can do a better job of expressing my love and appreciation to? How will I overtly show love today?

September – Peace

In what area of my life would I experience more peace today if I would relinquish control (even if the level of control I am clinging to exists only in my mind)? When in my day today will I carve out and set aside 5 minutes to be still, breathe deeply, and meditate on things of beauty, wonder, and tranquility? Will I ask God for His peace to wash over me?

October – Be thankful

At what points in my days this month will I pause and express gratitude – to God each morning,  and to others throughout the day? Will I choose to verbalize gratefulness aloud as I become mindful of all of the good things today – regardless of what type of day it is?

November – Memorize God’s Word

What am I choosing to pour into my mind and heart? If I believe that out of the heart come our attitudes, words and behaviors, am I filling my heart with content I want to come rushing out at any given time?

December – Do all things as unto God

If I believe God is my Creator, will I choose to try and consciously do everything as unto Him? Can I see evidence of this belief in my decisions, actions, and relationships? Will I ask God for guidance in my decision-making and choices?

IDEA: You may want to copy the url to this blog post and paste it in a few automated calendar reminders to yourself that are set to pop up with the change of each month this year. That way you can remain mindful of refocusing your personal development efforts across the year by reviewing the questions for each month.

By Dr. Heidi Scott     Author, speaker, professor, & consultant      http://www.LearningPursuits.com

*Content for this article is based on Colossians 3:12-17

 

 

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The other evening in the dusk of a summer night I ran with my dog. As I took in the familiar sites of natural beauty along a favorite stretch of hilly road, I noted how my pup wasn’t quite the spastic fella he once was. It struck me that his six years resulted in our matching of our paces. (O.K., so I also noted how the distance and speed of my runs had also diminished in most recent years – which had nothing to do with my dog!)

They say you measure one dog’s year as being equivalent to seven human years. So basically, my dog and I were the same age! I smiled as I watched him plod along in front of me up a steep hill; both of us determined to keep going. “I wonder what his pace will be a year from now when he’s nearing 50 in human years, “ I thought as we trudged along.

I did a bit of mental math as I continued his age progression in a few more “dog years.” That didn’t last long. (Partly, I can hardly do math in my head when I’m sitting – and running didn’t aid my numbers sense!) I quit doing age progressions in my head of, “So in three years I will be ___ age, which means my dog will be ___ years old in people years.”

What if in one year’s time everything about my life equaled seven years from now – like it was fast-tracked and seven years passed all within an actual 365-day year?

The thought that in three years’ time my dog would age as much as 21 years in my life wasn’t something I want to think about. I love my dog and hate the thought of him not being able to go for runs with me because he’s too slow or that it’s too hard on his body. So I made what I thought was a wise choice and thought about next summer and how, Lord willing, he and I should both be a bit older but still be able to enjoy a summer’s evening run like now.

“What if my life’s years were measured in “dog years”?” I mused. What if in one year’s time everything about my life equaled seven years from now – like it was fast-tracked and seven years passed all within an actual 365-day year?”  I pondered that for a bit.

I wondered, “Would I change the way I lived these next 12 months if I knew that in a year my body would be seven years older, even though my life expectancy hadn’t been extended? If I knew that a year from now it would be as if seven years had passed, and my daughter would not be sophomore in college but would be into her life beyond college, and my son would not be a sophomore in high school, but would be in the middle of his college years – would that change how I lived this next year?”

How much more purposeful would I be with the gift of each day God blessed me with if it was “seven times” more valuable (as far as my finite mind can contrive) than normal? By living my Work-Life Balance Roadmap with diligence, I was pleased to feel at peace that I’m on track with each important “destination” in my life. Because of years of diligence in those important areas of my life, I didn’t freak out with a sense of panic that if seven years passed during the next 12 months that I’d find myself someplace I didn’t intend to be.

But these thoughts of living my life in dog’s years did make me assess the question, “If the passage of these next 12 months equaled the passage of seven human years, what would change in the way I lived life?” Col. 3:17 came to mind. “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

I think what would change for me would be the intensity of focus of purpose of each day. If I was involved doing what I believed were the “right” activities, pursuits, relationships, and use of time, then the question would become, “Am I doing these things and spending each moment as truly unto Jesus with a thankful heart?”

If this next year of your life was equivalent to a dog-year, or to put it a different way – if the passage of these next 12 months equaled the passage of seven human years, what would change in the way you lived life?

By Dr. Heidi Scott, Speaker, Coach, Consultant to Leaders, Teams, and Organizations

www.LearningPursuits.com   Book Chapter “Charting Your Course Toward Work-Life Balance” coming in the soon to be released book Roadmap to Success        ISBN 978-1-60013-664-1

Generally 30-plus year-olds’ answer to this question is no longer, “A fireman, NFL player, Professional Dancer, or Mountain Climber.” No, typically mid-life folks answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with another question: “Shouldn’t I be past this?!

Today’s languishing economy forces the continued quest for better work, more secure and/or profitable work, or simply the quest for a job. While this often feels problematic for those in this current workforce, it could be worse.

Consider the workforce generations surrounding the Great Depression compared to now. People then were forced to leave their “professions” – but fortunately, today we think less of our work as a profession we are tied to for life. Today it is the norm to switch careers multiple times before hitting age 30. Change is seen as a way of life. The ability to adapt to change is often seen as the criterion that sets people up for success as they navigate their careers.

Career Choices Abound as a Way of Life

So facing issues related to the work people really want to do seem to be a very normal fabric of our society. Each week I encounter people wrestling with questions about their next best career moves. I hear people eagerly initiating conversations centered on strategic business building steps to grow their business.

Here are 4 coaching tips to guide you if you face the internal (and often haunting) question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” – regardless of your age!

1. Passion over Position – What aspects of certain work stirs your heart’s emotions and drives up your energy levels? I’m not talking about a position or title. What parts can you articulate of certain work you have done or that you think would be great to be a part of? Those passions are things to look for in whatever work you seek or do.

2. Pursue Personal Springboards – How can you tweek your current (or past) work into a springboard for future opportunities? What can you be capturing now to build your personal portfolio that may help you demonstrate the value you can bring to an organization in the future?

3. Attitude Brings Latitude – How can you find contentment in whatever space (whether mentally or physically) you are at currently? What is a positive spin you can put on 3 things today in your work life (or quest for work)? Attitudes are infectious. Develop your ability to find and focus on positives – even when the poison of the negatives appear much more readily! Become the positive mindset that employers want to infect their workforce.

4. Navigate the Networking Niche – There is great value in asking those you value, “Who do you know that you think I’d like to know as I … [grow my business, look for work, etc.]? Good-willed people enjoy connecting people. Who do you know and respect in some capacity that you can connect with about whom they can introduce you to? Make those conversations occur.

In today’s economy and in our current generations, the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is one that is cyclically answered throughout life! Change is a constant; adaptability and learning agility are a must.

By Dr. Heidi Scott   – The Leader’s Consultant, Speaker, Trainer & Coach  http://www.LearningPursuits.com