Part of moving into a new year, is looking back savoring the past direction and activities in our lives. This I have looked at over the past couple of weeks discussing the topic of savoring life. The other important aspect of a new year is the ability to start afresh in moving forward with new ideas, new goals, and new accomplishments on the journey forward. An important book that can help us with this is Creating Your Best Life by Caroline Adams Miller and Dr. Michael Frisch. Here they present research on the effectiveness of creating life lists for what we desire to accomplish in our lives.
Today I want to look near the end of the book where they bring up the idea of looking into 16 spheres that are vital to our life journey and then create goal lists of want we want for ourselves in these 16 areas.
The first sphere areas they look at are Purpose, Values & Spirituality. Our purpose is the overarching reason we see for our existence. Why has God placed you on this earth? Our values are those beliefs are the most important to us. Examine your spirituality -- what place does God have in your life. Or if you are a non-believer in God what brings meaning to your life? Personally, As a Christian spirituality is the driver of my purpose, and values for me in my life journey. The authors encourage creating a mission statement based on your purpose and values. As I have mentioned before, this can be written out as a short declaration like the U. S. Declaration of Independence. Or it can be written as a poem or some create a short mission statement like an advertising statement craft a mission statement for their life. The New Year is a profitable time to review a previous mission statement or create a new one for a new year. For new ideas on mission statements the authors suggest looking for examples on the internet. I found a helpful mission website to look at mission examples -- www.missionstatements.com .
The next sphere area they discuss is Family, Friends and Relationships. Those around us who touch our lives and the lives we touch are important to our New Year life journey. In today’s world sometime friends have taken the place of family as we are more scattered across the country. The important point is to look at your significant relationships and build a list of how you want to improve these relationships during the New Year. What goals and action steps can you create to improve this area of your life?
The spheres of the inner and outer self, is discussed next- Health, Self-esteem and Volunteering. Many New Year’s resolutions revolve around health in desiring to diet and exercise. The list and goal concept of looking at our health moves beyond a short wish spoken at midnight. Take time to write down what improvements you plan in the coming year in relation to your health. The self-esteem sphere is how we build our inner self of believing in our self and being proud of the skills and talents we have. It is that inner confidence that helps us be resilient in the face of the difficulties and changes that may face us in the New Year. Jot down a list of those skills and talents you have that you can make use of in new areas you want to challenge yourself in the New Year. The volunteering sphere relates to the fact that we do not develop ourselves for selfishness. We need to focus on relationships but with volunteering it may be not in close relationships but giving of time and personal talents to needs in your church or a community cause you are interested in. In today’s world there are so many volunteer opportunities. Check with your local church or local chamber of commerce for service opportunities. Do a brainstorming list of ways you can volunteer some of your time or resources in this new year.
These next spheres bring deeper level of fulfillment to our lives --Play , creativity, and learning. By play the authors do not mean sitting in front of the tv. Make a list of activities you enjoy and make a list of potential vacation, and weekend getaways to bring fun into your life. Think of play as active in creating your play lists for the year. Creativity. I am a big believer in creativity as it brings depth in to our existence. Place on your list the scheduling of quiet time in your life to contemplate new ways to be creative. Search on the internet sites that will help you look outside the box on creativity. As to learning, life long learning will keep the mind sharp. Create a list of books you wish to read, Think about taking a class at the local college or take an online class.
The spheres of Money, work and retirement relate to the practical side of earning a living and what are your plans in your retirement years. It is never too early to begin dreaming of that time in your life. In your list in these areas think how can you make the best use of the money resources you have. You don’t have to be a stingy miser but living simpler provides you with more funds to enjoy your retirement years better? What of your work? In your lists can you come up with ideas to turn your job in to a calling? Rate areas of your work and find which areas you thrive in and enjoy; and then areas of struggle to improve in during the year.
Their final section of spheres relate to surroundings – Home, Neighborhood, and Community. Make a list in this area and think first of improvements you desire in your home. This can be physical improvements or values of new traditions you desire to create. In your neighborhood, are there neighbors you would like to get to know. In the news recently there was a tragedy and a person mentioned they had lived next door for years and never even learned the last name of who lived beside them. Sad to say that is the norm. Then with the community this reflects back to the volunteering sphere. Are you involved in a local church or synagogue in your community? Are there ways you can be involved in the community such as literacy projects, community clean ups? Add these to your list for the year.
In the coming year we will delve more into the specific sphere areas and other topics for you to be living more than ok in the New Year. In these first few weeks of the New Year think over which sphere areas do your need more improvement in your life.
Reflection: Take some quiet time to reflect on your life in these 16 spheres. Make a list of what you want for yourself in the 16 spheres. Then prioritize which of the spheres are most important to you at this point in time.