The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are – Joseph Campbell
Here we are entering March in the year of the Tiger. The festive season has come and gone, January and February have sped past like fast trains, and we are looking at another year of adjusting to our much-changed world. The last two months have been eventful, despite a self-imposed isolation, and the year is truly underway. Phew!!
I am yet to set myself a whole range of task-oriented goals despite the many things that need actioning in my life and work. I could be busy 24/7 just catching up on my reading for pleasure and work. I could tackle further study to keep myself engaged and intellectually stimulated and add further deadlines and pressure into my life. I could do a complete Marie Kondo and de-clutter my entire house from top to bottom. I could finish the rough draft of my novel and enrol in courses to support that activity.
Goal setting sits in disputed territory with evidence being split down the middle as to whether it works or not. My experience with clients shows that some people need well-defined goals, while others prefer a more ‘free-wheeling’ approach to planning and action.
I’m not against goal setting and doing things. However, the main question that has been occupying my mind is what sort of person I want to BE in 2022. What are the values and qualities that I want to focus on and express over the coming year?
“Values are our heart’s deepest desires for how you want to behave as a human being. Values are not about what you want to get or achieve; they are about how you want to behave or act on an ongoing basis.” (Harris, 2012)
Spending time with my family over the festive period, I enjoyed relaxing and taking time to tune into what had been happening in their lives over 2021. I had time to reflect on how my mother, who is entering the later stages of life in her 9th decade, is ageing gracefully and providing powerful lessons in demonstrating gratitude and appreciation for a life well-lived. I spent time with my partner and friends finding joy in the simple things – sharing experiences and ideas, laughter, good meals and long walks, or watching Ash Barty make tennis history. And how good was that!
In short, I’ve taken time to contemplate my values and how I want to be, and how being will inform my doing. Some of my values include curiosity, fairness, compassion, respect, responsibility, love, self-awareness, kindness. I’ve considered how they will inform my actions and what I’ll choose to undertake over the coming year and beyond; how they will improve my “‘psychological flexibility’: the ability to take effective action, guided by values, with awareness, openness and focus” (Harris, 2010, p.7). And as I achieve more clarity, I am gaining more surety about want I want to action.
We all have different values; there is no right or wrong about what you value, what is important to you. I would encourage you to join me and revisit your values to get clear about who you want to be, before you set your goals and actions and begin doing for the year.
Harris, R (2010.) The Confidence Gap. Penguin Group, Melbourne
Harris, R (2012.) The Reality Slap. Robinson, London