Island Jane’s do things differently. For one thing, we live and work here in the Keys. That says something pretty important.
Even if in jest, the recent not-really-funny Watters World segment on the Fox News Bill O’Reilly show about Key West (called ‘I Trade My Food Stamps Cash Buy Beer Vodka and Cigarettes” – in case you feel the need to look it up) portrayed our beloved Keys as filled with outlaws and misfits, but we know better. My observation is that the people who come here and choose to stay are perhaps rebels and are most certainly extra-ordinary.
While the weather and scenery are beautiful here, and we embrace a live and let live One Human Family attitude (that perhaps other parts of the country do not), the place is also expensive and isolated and requires us all to come together as a community to make things happen.
So, as we start another new calendar year, I suggest you “do the new year” differently, too, by setting aside the notion of making any new year resolutions. It often involves uncovering problems and trying to focus on solving them, only to slip right back into the problem. Most everything good did not come about from that strategy, but rather was created … by nurturing and bringing a new reality into being.
The amazing Katniss Everdene, archer extraordinaire in “The Hunger Games” trilogy, would totally be an Island Jane if she didn’t live in the poorest coal-mining district in the fictional nation of Panem. And she could tell you it’s important for an archer to pull back the bow string just far enough to make the arrow fly, because too far or too short a pull will not produce an accurate shot.
Instead of the short shot forward that resolutions generally are, take a look back to set your sights on what’s next. Not just a shallow reflection, and not so far back that you pull in unhelpful or demoralizing past histories. Just pull back the bow string on your own life and work from this past year, and then see how far your arrow flies in 2014. Use these first days of the new year to conduct a bit of inventory to celebrate your evolution thus far. It’s the strength you have to build on.
From the “thoughts become things” perspective, it can also help you build more of what you really want. Go back through your 2013 calendar or diary, your Facebook timeline and other documents, writings, activities and creations – whatever record you have of your life.
Here’s a little outline of questions to use:
- What worked?
- What did I complete that I’m really proud of?
- What did I do really well that I also enjoyed?
- What did I let go of in terms of mindset, activity, negativity?
- What new resources did I discover and utilize?
- What new good habits did I develop?
- Where did I show up as my best self?
- Which community involvements gave me the most energy and satisfaction?
- Who – of my family, friends and colleagues – gave me the best support and encouragement?
From there, with a clearer picture of your current capabilities and resources, you can answer the ultimate questions:
- Who do I aspire to be more of in 2014?
- How will I frame my mindset to be that person?
- Which activities will I engage in more of to get there?
- Who will I spend more time with to receive more of what I need to be the best me possible?
Answer these questions for yourself, and you may see a very different picture develop in the days to come.
Maintaining that positive outlook is the essence of creativity, a tension that allows you to envision something and then, step-by-step, bring it to life. In this case, your own life … right here in a beautiful paradise that certain arms of the media don’t seem to have the capacity to fully comprehend.