Happy New Year Lovely,
Ready or not, January is here again and our journey into 2017 begins. Since my name is Jan (shortened from Janice many years ago because I always thought Janice sounded like somebody’s mother), I feel like everyone’s talking about me when they use this abbreviation. However Jan./January was actually named after the Roman god, Janus—and for a good reason.
While teaching ancient cultures in Verrado Middle School, I learned that Janus was a two-headed creature with the ability to see into the past with one head and into 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. We have a clean slate and the only certainties are taxes, death and the presidential elections—which seemed like a slow death (I apologize for the redundancy).
Have you ever noticed that time seems to stop for the first weeks of the new year? Maybe it takes two weeks to get our bearings after December’s call to overdo: over-eat, over-spend and over-socialize. Both Janus and January give us four ideas to think about as we start the new year.
The first is a Transitional Pause. As you know, a transition is the place in between where we were and where we’re going. It makes us feel a little tipsy and unsure of our next steps.Transitions can bring feelings of confusion, because even though the old is in the past, it’s more comfortable than the new of the future.
When I moved from Iowa to Phoenix in July 2005, I felt as if I had landed on another planet. I was happy to be teaching again and to live near my sons, but I’d left my friends, extended family, home and business behind. It took some time to get my ‘desert legs’ and feel at home again. During any transition, we pause at the threshold of old and new before we move on. What new and old elements will we bring into the year? A job, a place to live or new people?
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 the 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 came upon 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, see how you can make it into lemonade this year.
It’s also a wonderful time to Create Boundaries; bring in only what’s working for you and leaving your limiting factors behind. Is it resentment or jealousy? Do you hold back because of fear of failure, success or change? Dig deep. Through self-reflection, talking to a friend or hiring a coach new growth is possible. Make a list of what to cut out of your life or flip your perspective of that person, place or thing.
As an example, my husband tells me in his lovingly blunt honest way, that I habitually cut people off in conversations. (who me?) So instead of vowing to eliminate that habit, I’ll flip the focus and set the intention on listening to all the words others say to me. This way, a boundary will be set on my nasty habit.
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 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 person intentionally risked making a comment at a meeting where previously she’d kept quiet. For another 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. It’s my belief that we all have something significant to contribute to improve ourselves, our families and our communities. Now more than ever, the world need 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.
May your trust bring you success this coming year!