The Practice of Creativity

Does Your Vision Need a Jump-start in June?

Posted on: June 16, 2013

The Chapel Hill News ‘My View’ column below kicks off my new blog series called ‘Jump-start Your June: Reigniting Your Vision Mid-Year’. June provides a great time for us to review the goals, commitments and visions we made at the beginning of the year. Do we even remember the commitments we made in January? Do our goals still take our breath away? Have we already accomplished some of them?

I’ll provide some tips about how to reconnect with meaningful goals. I’ve also asked several amazing thought leaders to write guest posts about how to ‘jump-start your June’ in a variety of areas including health, creativity, and finances.

I’d love to know: What aspect of your life could use a jump-start this June?

 

June’s a good time to check in on goals

In June most people want to talk about graduations, Father’s Day, and the start of summer. I’m, however, inclined to ask them, “How is the vision that you set in January coming along? Do the goals you affirmed still speak to you six months later? What intentions for your year have fallen by the wayside? Is that vision board or treasure map, representing your dreams, collecting dust in a corner?”

I wish we could label June as “Jump-start Your Vision” Month. Why? Because midyear we naturally turn toward an assessment of how the year has been going for us. Coaches often get a lot of work in June, most of it involving supporting people in creating forward momentum for pursuing a vision and tweaking their goals.

For many, the energy, commitment and intention to pursue a big vision can fizzle out by February. The fitness industry often labels people who sign up for a membership at the beginning of the year, “January Joiners.” Historically, by the second week of February, most of the newcomers won’t be seen again until late May (scared by the approach of summer).

Some people get discouraged if they’ve tried something for 30, 40 or even 90 days and haven’t seen results. We’ve all heard this mantra before – if you want to form a new habit or quit an old one, try something for 21, 28, or 30 days. Despite what we’ve heard from advertisers, some psychologists and self-help experts, there is little scientific evidence to support the idea that effort over any specific time period will automatically produce a positive behavioral change. Now, isn’t that liberating? Sometimes we can make rapid change in a short amount of time and sometimes we have to redouble our effort and change takes longer.

So, I say before we declare that in any given year, we’re going to do “x” for “x” number of days or weeks, let’s check in with ourselves. If the change we’d like make is in an area of life where nothing else has seemed to work, then OK, maybe we should go for an intense 30- or 40-day challenge, but then I advocate asking for support in a public way – solicit friends to help with accountability, or work with a coach. If people want to tweak a positive habit (i.e. something they are already doing, but would like to do more of), then I recommend choosing a smaller increment (10 days as opposed to 21 days), and to enjoy the sweet spot of repetition.

I review three key areas with clients in jump-starting their vision midyear:

•  Design and desire. We look at what’s not working and why. Let’s take the example of someone who created a goal to make a green smoothie every week and then stopped. I might explore how this goal sounded excellent in the abstract, but the design wasn’t very manageable (because of time, cost of materials, and/or motivation).

I’d then discern if the underlying desire for the client is to possess better health and increased energy. If so I’d strategize to see if we can fulfill this desire by designing a more effective pathway, strategy or behavior. The elements of design and desire need to be in sync for effective goal setting.

•  Buffets and three meals a day. In looking at action steps in pursuing goals, I contrast eating at buffets versus planning three healthy meals a day. We can fall into a trap of constantly taking actions (or piling up our plates at a buffet) that don’t really serve us and dissipate our energy. For example, I work with many creative writers who spend so much time developing their platform (i.e. creating a Facebook page, posting multiple Tweets, writing on a blog, etc.) that they have less energy to deepen their craft. We need to plan a series of thoughtful actions (like our daily meals) as a staple for reaching our goals.

•  Questions and answers. Writer, anthropologist and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston said, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” The great thing about a midyear vision check-in is that enough time has passed to ask deeper questions of ourselves than we could in January. Employing a sense of wonder and gratitude, we can track the insights, synchronicities, and serendipity that has shown up our lives since the beginning of the year. With our environment in full bloom, we can feel supported by physical lushness while digging a bit deeper in our internal gardens.

Column reprinted with permission. Originally published on June 15: http://www.chapelhillnews.com/2013/06/15/76706/berger-junes-a-good-time-to-check.html

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10 Responses to "Does Your Vision Need a Jump-start in June?"

What a smart, column. I too had the green smoothie goal. . .

Thanks, Karen! Ha ha about the green smoothie comment. I actually think committing to cold drinks like at the beginning of the year isn’t so good anyway. It goes in the opposite direction of what we are craving.

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” The quote echoes my experience last year and this. June is definitely when I check if I’m still on-track with the goals I’d set in January. Luckily for me, I am. Still chugging, and it’s a good chugging. Great post, Michele!

Hi Claudine,
Thanks so much for visiting. I love the word ‘chug’ and am glad that it’s a word that describes the forward motion of your work. I’m right there, chugging along, too. One big deadline is June 30th.

Dear Michele – this is very inspiring and I can see how you must shine as a life coach – there is nothing here that is negative, only words to spur us on!

XOX M

Mary L. Barnard Waverly Hematology Oncology 300 Ashville Ave, Suite 310 Cary, NC 27518-8682 Phone: 919-233-8585 Fax: 919-233-8566

________________________________

TImely post Michele. I put aside my WIP in March to write a fundraiser cookbook. The experience has left me questioning the direction my writing is taking and whether or not I should be writing about food rather than fiction. I’ve had such difficult time making decisions the last few years I’m a bit stymied by this turn of events. You questions make sense to me, now I just need to answer them.

Hey Lynne,
Wow, sounds like some new ideas are emerging about the scope and direction of your work. Have you talked with your writing group(s) about any patterns, trends they see also for your work? Might be helpful as you ponder.

Thank you for this timely article. I was beginning to feel stagnant and decided to step back to re-evaluate how I go about doing business. After reading this, I know that it is something that is needed and every business owner/entrepreneur should take this practice into consideration.

Hi LaTonya,
Thanks so much for your reply. It sounds like your inner wisdom alerted you to the need to stop and re-evaluate. Yes, sometimes we get so busy in the doing, that we forget we need some time to just step back and reassess.

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Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

Author, Academic, Creativity Expert I'm an award winning writer.

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