Let me start this off by saying that I wholly resist New Year’s resolutions. Along with January diets and detoxes. I just don’t get why we overload January with mystical powers of reinvention – setting ourselves up for a certain springtime slump.  

Still, I see the importance of endings and beginnings, the space they afford us to say “yes” or “no” much more intentionally.  To decide what we want to leave behind and what’s carrying us forward in our lives.

So while I don’t think we need stale resolutions, hazy visions of a better me, or definitive plans for success, I do think we can use the next several weeks for reflection:  refocusing ourselves on what matters to us and recalibrating our internal compasses in terms of where we’re heading. And how far we’re willing to go with our lives.  

How far are we willing to take our lives in 2020?  And beyond. It’s a question worth reflecting on. 

So let’s play a little bit here – given we’re on the cusp of not only a new year but a new decade:  how about we replace “resolutions” with “extensions”, spicing up our puritanical resolve with some usually-much-needed-risk.  

What do I mean by “extensions”? 

  • The places in our lives where we want to explore more: ideas, projects, talents, relationships, or feelings.  Without fixed answers or goals, but steeped in curiosity and aspiration. 
  • The places in our lives where we want to go farther:  beyond boundaries or limits perceived or real.  Where we want to go deeper: spend more time learning, sharing or releasing.  
  • Where we’re prepared to take a few risks and feel a little uncomfortable in order to become a fuller expression of ourselves.  
  • Where we’re willing and wanting to stretch out: switching our “no go” zones (because they’re too scary) into our “go farther” zones.  

What if the beginning of 2020 was less about asserting more control over our lives (because let’s be honest that’s what resolutions mostly involve) and more about firing up our courage muscles?  The muscles required to transform “no go” to “go farther”.

So here’s my thinking:  We don’t need a plan for 2020.  We need a map!

A map that starts off with sketching out our horizons: our “go farther” zones.

A map surveying our life’s landscape and how we’re going to navigate it in order to go farther:  where we might get stuck, as well as the rivers we’ll look to flow on. The peaks we want to summit. The forests that might leave us feeling bewildered.  Potential crossroads and border crossings. The fellow explorers who might help point the way.  

By switching our paradigms from plans to maps, we swap out old-fashioned linear thinking for a focus on learning, growth and adaptation; and we start to hone our critical 21st century skillset of navigation and sense making. We give a nod to the fact that success and happiness today – whether individual or collective – is less about our ability to execute and more about our willingness to explore.  

So this year how about we all ditch the diet.  2020 is about discovery. One-step-after-the-other-journeys towards our horizons.  

With a map in hand, we’ll go so much farther.  

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