When I think of a new year, I think of fresh snow in a nature preserve. There are no footprints in the snow. Standing at the edge of the trail, the options of where you can head are endless. The surrounding area is still, and oddly peaceful. Hope is felt deep within, despite winter’s fury.
Taking the first step takes some courage. But you step out nonetheless. The feeling of your boot disappearing into the snow travels up your spine. As you step forward, you hear the crunching of the snow. Off you go…But, where to?
That is the question, isn’t it?
Where to in ‘22?
Intentional living can easily be defeated by daily obligations. The buzz of the phone can even tempt the hiker to abandon the trail and head back home. A bummer it might be, but they will have time for a hike some other snowy morning — so they think. But soon spring will come, then summer, and then winter.
What happened to ‘22?
This is why we start back at the beginning, before any interruptions and demands. We have to be intentional about where we are going in ‘22.
Intentionality is different than “resolution.” Resolutions often revolve around the cessation of some activity. For example, I may “resolve” to stop eating sweets. Intentionality is something grander. In this example, it is the desire to live healthy and the actions required to do so. A “resolution” to stop eating sweets might be a tactic, but it is not inspiring. Rearranging your life to create healthy habits so that you can play with your grandchildren, however, is grand. It is the kind of intention that is worth pursuing no matter what, even if it means giving up sweets for a season!
Similarly, I have found year-long goals difficult to maintain. Instead, I have used Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner for the past several years. It has helped me create 90-day goals that I review weekly. 90-day goals are akin to signposts along the “hike.” They let me know if I am headed in the right direction. They also help me get back on course when I stray.
Yet, 90-day goals are only good when used to measure how they position you for some ultimate destination.
So, we have come full circle back to intentionality. What guiding question can we use to chart out our course?
I propose the following:
What is the one thing you want to be known for by year’s end?
Admittedly, there are variations to this question that you can use. But, I am using this one and encourage you to do the same. Whatever you come up with needs to be simple enough for you to write on a small index card so that you can carry it around all year. Simplicity will drive action.
Since this is my post, I will show you how this is done by answering the question myself.
“In 2022 I want to be known as someone that brings LIGHT where darkness exists.”
I know that sounds lofty.
Some of you may have even rolled your eyes.
I am okay if you did.
Here is how this works in practice:
I want to bring light to my marriage.
I want to bring light to my kids’ lives.
I want to bring light to those I lead at work.
I want to bring light to my sibling relationships at work.
I want to bring light to my local church.
I want to bring light to my friendships.
The 90-day goal possibilities are endless.
Don’t think this applies to leadership in manufacturing? Here are some potential examples of how this can translate to work:
Goal Idea: Help my direct reports identify their Working Genius and help them organize their tasks so that they operate inside their genius.
Goal Idea: Continue to meet with members of the leadership development team to coach, encourage, and equip them for future opportunities.
Goal Idea: Meet with Senior Leaders at Customers to build relationships, share best practices, and express gratitude.
All three of these goal ideas are work-related and inspired by my intention stated above.
In conclusion, I have arrived here after traveling two years’ worth of trails that have been too dark. They have weighed me down, at times even tempting me to give up.
But, as I take the first step in ‘22, I want to take it with renewed hope.
I will bring light to darkness wherever I go in ‘22.
To that end, I will be intentional about bringing encouragement and hope to these posts.
Now, go decide where you are headed in ‘22.
It is the only way to ensure you will get there.