As we near the end of the year, it's natural for us to look at our life and reflect upon what we would like to do differently in the New Year. Each year, as we have the opportunity to embrace New Year resolutions, we may promise to make concentrated efforts toward letting go of bad habits, work toward accomplishing goals and dreams, etc.
However, while our intention to bring about permanent change is high, we often find our resolve wearing thin. Sometimes willpower isn't enough, and we may find ourselves slipping back into our old habits. Having experienced this cycle before, our self-esteem is at risk by what we perceive to be "yet another failure", making us feel "stuck," frustrated and out-of-balance.
Boldly, I'd like to propose a new way of ringing in the New Year. I suggest we shift our focus away from resolutions and instead dedicate ourselves to handling incompletions.
What is an Incompletion?
My self-proclaimed definition of an incompletion is "anything that has gone undone, unresolved, unaddressed or unscheduled." Some examples are:
• an unsent thank-you card
• not having changed the oil in the car
• a disorganized desk, purse or briefcase
• desiring to spend more time with our family, but not making it a priority
• needing to establish a business plan, but not scheduling time to do so
• knowing our health is in jeopardy, but not making time for self-care
• needing to leave a destructive relationship, but lacking the courage to walk away
We can identify incompletions by observing what is not “checked off” our to-do list . . . as well as by "checking in" with our feelings. Our body tells us when we are experiencing an incompletion.
Incompletions Threaten our State of Balance
As tasks build up, errands go unhandled and needed changes are not made, our life becomes less manageable. However, it is the emotional side-effect of an incompletion that is often more threatening to our state of balance than the incompletion itself. Why? Because incompletions have a negative impact on us, energetically. Incompletions can:
• cause feelings of guilt, panic, anxiety or depression
• cause us to feel irritable or angry
• cause distractions and disappointments
• create procrastination
• prevent us from living in the moment
• diminish our self-esteem and self-confidence
• deplete joy from our life
Incompletions can even cause us to abuse our bodies though excessive eating, drinking or other "favorite vices" because as human beings we tend to turn to something physical to numb ourselves from uncomfortable feelings.
An Experiment: Handling Incompletions
If balance is defined as "a feeling of centeredness," and if incompletions tend to pull us off-center, then it is essential for us to identify and work regularly to eliminate incompletions from our life. When we focus on achieving completions, we open the energy around us, feel more balanced and enjoy greater success-in-life.
• Take a look at your life as reflected in the model. For each of the nine elements and four cornerstones, ask yourself, “What are my incompletions?” Check into your feelings as you do this…not just your to-do list. Begin making a master list of tangible and emotional incompletions.
• Go though your list and determine how you will handle each item. What can be dealt with immediately? What can be delegated? What needs to be scheduled for a later date? What resources do you need to accomplish certain tasks? Write down your plan of action.
• Dedicate a concentrated period of time for handling items that can be dealt with immediately. By eliminating the smaller tangible "tasks", you free up energy to focus on the more emotional incompletions.
• Remember, handling an incompletion may mean eliminating it from your list altogether. Does the idea of accomplishing something serve you…or weigh you down? Removing unwanted items from your list elevates unwanted pressure.
By taking some time to thoughtfully consider our incompletions, we can start the New Year with a clear picture of what is important to accomplish and what we are willing to let go of. Implementing this principle regularly throughout the year can have a greater impact than any resolution we may ever make.
Balance and success are simultaneously attainable! Remember these three words, always in this order: Be . . . Do . . . Have . . .
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