For many people the green shoots of Spring signal fresh starts, new projects and increasing energy for the year ahead, but what triggers those little green shoots in the first place? The Winter solstice of December 21st was a time when our ancestors viewed the year as reborn. The longest night of the year is overcome and immediately daylight begins its fight back, claiming a little more brightness with each passing day, onwards and upwards to Summer and all of its happy promise before ceding to Autumn, a time to taste the fruits of our labours and take stock before the cycle begins again.
I’ve always been interested in the Winter solstice at Newgrange and the planning that must have gone into capturing that chink of light on the shortest day of the year. It’s almost magical, and a tribute to ancient goal setting and prehistoric project management.
In the midst of the frenzy and festivities of the silly season, the calm cool clear tilt of daylight occurring at sunrise on the 21st December offers a hopeful glimpse into the future, an assurance that the year is reborn. It is a reminder that we can start afresh. We can look into the new adventures that lie around the corner and start making new plans.
How about taking time out from the noise of December to bring about a Coaching Solstice for yourself? The good news is it’s a little bit easier than engineering a prehistoric light capturing burial monument. For a start, there are only four steps!
Step 1. Book in some “Think Time” in a favourite “Think Space”
“Think Time” is time to take stock of your current reality and identify any changes or improvements you would like to make. It’s time to dream about new experiences and plan your next steps. Book an appointment with yourself in your diary, your calendar or on your phone. Stick to the booking, this is an important meeting with yourself! Plan it as a real treat, in a favourite place where you can be creative and really enjoy looking into the new. Often the best “Think Spaces” are out of your usual environment and the less day to day distractions the better. Your “Think-time” and “Think-Space” are the foundations of your Coaching Solstice.
Step 2. RE-Consider
Get the notebook, dreamboard, sketchbook or voice recorder out and Re-visit these Re-ally useful questions during your “Think Time”:
• RE-view – What did I enjoy in the year gone by? What experiences (positive and otherwise) did I have? What did I learn?
• RE-invent – What can I change or improve on in the New Year? What goals have changed for me since this time last year? Do I want to adjust my course in the year ahead? If so, how?
• RE-set- What would I like to remove from my life in the New Year? What new challenges will I take on? What new things would excite me?
Step 3. Enter the Solstice Zone
This is where the light really shines through. Bank your successes from the year gone by and then pick your top three goals for the year ahead. If you’re struggling to pare them down to three it can be helpful to select goals that will take you out of your comfort zone and into your excitement zone. You are more likely to stay motivated if your goals are exciting or inspiring. Remember to check in with how well your goals align with your values. Write your goals down. Be specific about what you want to experience, what actions will bring about those experiences, and set completion dates wherever possible. This will become your New Year action plan. Clear and written goals are more likely to be achieved and will light up your way to the New You.
Step 4. Look into the new, but don’t forget to leap!
Just as important as completion dates are start dates for your New Year/New You action plan. It is lovely to bask in the pleasant glow of planning and dreaming but when the dust settles on your Coaching Solstice, you will have to make a conscious decision to pick up the torch and run with it, into the new…
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