Leading Self

Storytelling My Way Through 2023

January 20, 2023

I’m a little late to thinking about my New Year’s Resolution. But in all truth, I haven’t actually created a “resolution” in many years. Like a lot of people, I tend to set too many goals and make little progress by March just to eventually turn away from them.

It’s not that resolutions aren’t a good thing. I think they can be incredibly motivating and sufficiently realistic. For myself, though, I just always found them limiting. I would put more emphasis on the goal instead of evaluating the smallest of details, rhythms and habits that would help me get there.

So this year, I asked myself. How can I create a 2023 vision for myself differently?

I thought, if I think about the various seasons of my life, what are the life stories I want to tell more of? What are the stories I want to create?  And at the end of 2023, what are the stories I hope to tell?

As an executive coach, I know many professionals would call this Narrative Coaching. And in a way, it is. But I’m not specifically talking about that process (for those coaches out there who might be reading this).

All I wished to do, was think about my vision for 2023 in a unique way. And for purposes of this blog post, I want to share my own example in hopes that it might help you establish a clear vision for 2023 as well!

Okay, so stay with me here. I tend to work best with groupings of three. Three stories, three objectives, three habits, etc. So here are the three stories I crafted.

As I approach December 2023…

  1. I can look back and deeply remember the evenings I spent with my daughters, undistracted by TV and my mobile devices. I can recall the stories we shared over an unrushed dinner, at times interrupted by my almost-two year old getting up to grab a toy and run around laughing.
  2. I am feeling the best I have since having kids, because I’ve prioritized movement and sunlight every day.
  3. I eased into each day being fully present with each morning ritual; getting the girls dressed and ready for school, reading a bit of scripture, and in the rare case, working out in my garage.

When I looked at 2023 in this way, I’ll be honest, I was a little overwhelmed. So instead of feeling like I needed to stick with a group of three. I just picked one. Can you guess which one I picked?

I decided to focus on creating the first story. Being fully present with my family in the evenings no matter how chaotic it was.

I was and still am super excited about this. As I thought about this story, I started to evaluate what was currently getting in the way of achieving this. A few things I uncovered were:

  • I was not preparing well for dinner leading to anxiety and quick-prep meals on the fly.
  • I kept my phone beside me at all times.
  • I wasn’t always sure what time my husband would be home for dinner.
  • I wasn’t wrapping my workday at the same time every day.
  • Sometimes I hadn’t gone grocery shopping over the weekend.
  • And sometimes the kids were just insane the moment they walked in from school, haha.

What was facinating about this approach was I didn’t view these behaviors as weaknesses. I didn’t even really think of them as negative.

I thought of them purely as limiters without internalizing them as a demonstration of my identity.

So with this story. I got and continue to work on change.

First I narrowed the list down to what I can control. Which is every bullet except for the last one (too bad, I know, right?!)??

Then I tackled two quick wins.

The first: I created a habit of asking my husband will be home from work (roughly) each night. We also got a dry/erase calendar and hung it in a shared space where we place important events and appointments each of us need to be aware of.

The second (enter GAME CHANGER): I began putting my phone in my room once the girls are home from school. Checking it every hour in case I receive a phone call or an important text. This was important to me, as I like to be available if my mom FaceTimes or if a friend asks me to go out to lunch the next day.

As far as the other three bullets go, I am working on one-at-a-time. That’s right. My brain can’t keep capacity for the other two at the moment. So I’ve chosen to work on being more prepared for dinner every night. What has this required you ask?

  • Using and blocking part of my Friday to meal plan for the next week.
  • Making Friday a pizza night.
  • Utilizing crock pot recipes that offer lots of leftover options.

My observations so far?

I don’t feel rushed. I have more clarity on the rhythms that were holding me back from achieving my story. And by breaking it down into smaller parts, I feel like I can actually reach consistency. Not perfection. Which is so much less heavy! Who doesn’t want that?!

If my experience resonates with you and you’d like to explore a similar process, I’d love to chat. Using a narrative or storytelling approach can be effective for more than just New Year planning. Schedule a short chat with me now.

Additionally, if you’ve enjoyed reading this blogpost, I’d love to have you join my newsletter.

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