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  • Writer's pictureDr Jo Johnson

An unattractive goal

As is so often the case, the right ideas come when you’re in the middle of doing something else.  On a walk I got the answer to a question I wasn’t consciously thinking about.

The answer:  consolidation
The question was:  2024 - ???

Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, I prefer to have a theme for the year.  A direction at which you can point your efforts, something easy to hold in mind and return to when feeling stuck.  

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word ‘consolidation’ holds a few meanings:

  1. to make something stronger or more solid

  2. to strengthen

  3. to combine

In the context of habits, actions and learning, for me it means asking myself:

  • Which things do I need to keep doing to gain strength, depth and focus to particular areas of life?

  • What has worked well this past year?  

  • Keep doing more of that!

But isn’t new year about thinking of NEW goals?!  We love the novelty, the new, don’t we!  We’re biologically hard-wired and socially conditioned to give more of our precious attention to the new and shiny.

By all means let’s think about what needs changing.  But don’t let the lure of the new goal keep you from acknowledging and paying just as much attention to what’s going really well for you and what you need to keep doing.

In Solution-Focused therapy, we assume that the person has already tried out a number of different ways to solve a problem.  Their experience holds important clues as to what will help, and the expertise to help them achieve this resides in our collaboration.

Having too many highly-failable behavioural goals doesn’t work for me.  (I’ve always found goals hard to pitch at the right level.  Make them too easy, we won’t bother.  Make them too hard, we certainly won’t bother.)

I find it useful and motivating to measure certain metrics at the end of a quarter, but big numbers as a goal at the start of a whole year can feel pretty daunting.

Here’s a two-minute reflection exercise to help you think about where you might want to deepen your growth:

  • What people and actions made the biggest difference to my wellbeing this year?

  • With that in mind, where do I want to invest my time?

  • What daily habits helped me feel at my best? 

  • What do I want to deepen my knowledge or experience of, to consolidate, to strengthen?

I love this image of the tree which reminds me that a healthy life needs depth and stillness in order to have breadth, growth and exploration.

Wishing you a deep and rich 2024!

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