When we were kids, it was my Italian family’s habit to create new year’s resolutions. After a great dinner on New Year’s day, the dishes and glasses were cleared, food was put away, the good tablecloth was taken off and replaced by the everyday plastic table cloth. Then came out the note pads and pencils and we began our conversations about a new year. This was my dad’s process to guide 6 kids to focus, develop their talents, discover their passions and live in the greatest way possible. It took planning. It took intention. It took discipline. Great things require all of these.
I know we were different than a lot of families; my father was determined that we each live intentionally—tuned in and choosing our life directions and work on purpose (a process I continued with my three daughters and recommend to every dad). In his mind this needed a process – a way to be ready for life. This process was part of our New Year’s day and had three steps—REVIEW, RETHINK, RESPOND.
We began by REVIEWING what happened over the past year—its successes (always start with these), then its challenges and failures. We listed them to learn from them—do more of what worked well, address the things that needed attention.
Too few of us REVIEW our choices and decisions to assess what worked and didn’t work. The result is that we are constantly repeating the lessons we should have already learned. We move slowly forward only to go back and do the same thing over again – like the script from the movie Groundhog Day. REVIEW so you can learn from the past to be able to do more of what worked and improve those things that need work to make each of your next moments better, wise and more successful.
With this updated information of our past year in our minds, we then had to RETHINK – what did we want from this new year? This was to get us to dream, invent and create what we would like for ourselves, our family, our community, our nation and our world. We took the time to imagine what would help us show up big to life and work, own our lives and make our impact. No limits. Imagine it. Invent it. Consider it.
Too few of us RETHINK and imagine on a regular basis. We don’t dream and invent the life (job, relationship, earnings, home life, social life, etc.) we want. Too few of us dream about or invent the things that could make our world and lives better. Dreaming takes time. Dreaming requires that you tune out the loud and pushy voice of the world and tune in to your inner wise voice. Your voice matters most when it comes to your dreaming – to imagining what YOU want to be happy and successful (on your terms). Learning to dream, RETHINK and invent is key to living a happy, successful and responsible life. My dad always reinforced this point.
Then finally, from the list of things you considered when you took the time to RETHINK, now RESPOND. Choose what you want to have happen—this is your goal or “resolution”—then build a plan on how you will make it happen. This was the place in our process where we each had to share how we were going to get our resolutions done—and how we could support each other in their completion.
Too few of us get our dreams off the paper and into life. We let today’s noisy and pushy world distract us away from our dreams, find reasons to give up on them or just not see the effort needed is worth it. Or, we can remember that we are our lives’ owners – we are at the controls – not the world, not our parents, not our church, not our community. Sure we have responsibility to all of these, but they are here to support us in our work to be authentic and to live as our greatest selves.
So, as poet Mary Oliver asks, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Only you know. REVIEW. RETHINK. RESPOND. Help your kids learn a process to go after their dreams and have a plan to get them. Help them (and yourself) decide and act on what will make your 2107 wild and precious.
Photo—Sarah Kelemen Garber/Flickr