This Quiet Time

….of reflection and planning.

When I look back, I remember the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day as a quiet time, not a lot going on, thinking about what was and what was yet to come. As a child, once the heady rush of Christmas anticipation was over, I knew there were still a couple weeks before school began. New Year’s Day didn’t hold a lot of significance at that age, so I enjoyed my new toys, played with friends, and wondered who my new teachers would be next year. Once I went to college, winter break included catching up with old high school buddies I hadn’t seen in a while, phoning college friends, and planning when to leave to go back to campus.

The thing is, regardless of age, I always wondered what was next after the holiday break and marveled at the possibilities.

Reflection is one of the most underused yet powerful tools for success. Richard Carlson

Now that I am a working adult, the week between seems almost more hectic as we try to fit everything into back-to-back shortened weeks. So, I must remind myself to STOP! Take a deep breath, relax, and marvel at the possibilities. This calming time can help you, and me, prepare better for the coming year.


2020 taught us a big lesson, and that is, that we live in highly unpredictable times. And unpredictability is likely to continue. “What can we learn from this unpredictability?” We can learn to be a bit more flexible and to SLOW DOWN. We didn’t really have a choice, but we learned to focus on what truly mattered, not what we thought mattered. Life had gotten so fast, climbing from one chore to the next. The lesson was slow down! Literally slow down and enjoy the journey. Take your time. Think it through. Choose wisely.

Which brings up another question. If unpredictability will continue, “What do we have control over?”  Me. I have control over me.  Over how I react or respond. Over what I choose to do going forward. I could pay attention to what I learned from my challenges and how will I use that to be better prepared. And you. You have control over you. Learn to use the C. I. A. method. Control, Influence, Accept. What can you control (the C part), what can you influence (the I part), and what do you need to accept (the A part)? Very helpful in planning for 2021.

Now ask, “What do I want to accomplish in the next year?” I’m not talking about the standard New Year’s resolution here. I’m talking about the big rocks. What is it that you want to look back on in a year’s time and be proud to say, “I did that!” What is your big rock for the next year? Just reflect on one. You might have accomplished one in 2020 that will lead to yet another. As a kid, it was simple. Get out of 6th grade and move to 7th. Or graduate from high school and move away to college. Now, as an adult, it gets a little harder to discern!

A goal should scare you a little and excite you a lot. Joe Vitale

The 10-year reunion……..

What do you want to get excited about for the coming year? What are you aiming for? When I was younger, it was usually the next school year, or being old enough to learn how to drive, or finally getting to go to a prom! Exciting times! Youth seemed to have natural milestones built in that we could get excited about and plan for. Now that we are adults, these are things we must name for ourselves.

If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else. Yogi Berra

We must decide what milestone to hit next, what is important to us, and how we plan to get there. They say when planning, you tend to overestimate what you can accomplish in a year, but underestimate what you accomplish in five years. But what about ten years? We seldom look that far ahead but it is good to have a long time-horizon, especially for big, exciting goals! Tale a look at yourself a decade older.  Using the youth analogy again, today you are graduating from the year 2020! Who do you want to be at the 10-year reunion?

What do you need to say NO to…….

Okay big shot! Ten years from now, let’s see what you’ve got! That means, all the little things you do from now on will make or break that ten-year vision. How are you spending your time, your money, your energy? Does it lead you closer or further away? What do you need to say NO to, so that you can say yes to the important stuff?

You’ve graduated from 2020. What direction would you like to go next and what are you ready to commit to? What do you really want to make time for this next year and what doesn’t deserve your time and energy? How can you make this easier and fun?

Remember, it’s the little decisions you make consistently that build your life. Slow down and enjoy what’s most important, and remember the difference between the “C,” the “I,” and the “A.” Remember to marvel at the possibilities. Reunions are coming up……


Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash