Most of us are starting off 2020 with a list of New Year resolutions that we hope to accomplish by the end of December. With Sharpie markers and sticky notes in hand, our bathroom mirror reminds us to “Lose 20 lbs.”, “Find My Soulmate”, “Pay off a Credit Card,” or “Surf More Waves.” These are the goals that will give our year direction and can potentially impact our life decisions. But what about our evolving core values?
As we re-emerge from our holiday binge eating and finish reflecting on the lessons that 2019 have taught us, perhaps the hardships and tough decisions from last year can help us recognize what we have learned to value more about our lives. Very often, our childhood instills a lot of important values like courtesy, cooperation, and discipline. But there are other values that we learn from our personal life experiences, such as the importance of honesty, respect, and loyalty. It’s a great time to revisit those challenging memories of 2019 and see what value they were trying to reveal to you.
What’s your New Year Value for 2020?
I’ve always been involved with sports that required exceptional endurance. My first sport was cross country, followed by wrestling and Muay Thai kickboxing. Later, I discovered surfing and it’s not unheard of for me to spend 4 hours out on the ocean when the waves are plentiful. These activities helped me to learn the importance of discipline and perseverance, which I apply to my work projects. This work ethic helped me to publish my first book, Healing Our Bloodlines: The 8 Realizations of Generational Liberation and complete my first documentary, Sakura & Pearls: Healing from World War II, in 2019. The time demands and energy consumption of these projects challenged my ever-present endurance.
My fatigue became my teacher. It’s in our most tired moments that we recognize what is most importance to us, because in that state of being, we aren’t able to do everything that we normally expect of ourselves. We can’t see every person that we would like to see when we travel. New opportunities have to be delayed or passed up because there’s not enough time or energy to complete them. In a state of fatigue, conflicts can no longer be resolved by appeasing others or going out of our way, because the energy just isn’t there to be heroic. Learn from your fatigue. What is trying to tell you? What value are you learning to embrace?
2019 taught me the value of reciprocity. I see reciprocity as the state where what you give to your relationships come back to you in equal ways. Think of a plant. It receives the sunlight from the sun and it receives the carbon dioxide (CO2) that humans and animals exhale. Then it transforms CO2 into oxygen that people and animals breathe. This is an energy positive system that is mutually beneficial. Many problems in our relationships arise when we attempt to be the sun to other people, meaning a nearly unending source of light and warmth, instead of just being a breathing being who is doing their share of the work. The sun doesn’t need our air, but the plants do, and we need the plants. This metaphor begs the question, how do we recognize our most reciprocal relationships?
Now think about your relationships. Who energizes you? Who drains you? Who do you feel burdened around? Who makes you laugh? When we’re tired after a rigorous year, recognizing what people bring to our lives becomes very clear if we’re honest with ourselves about how we feel.
To help you discover your emerging value(s), take my New Decade Challenge:
- Write a list of names for your closest relationships
- For each name, write what feels uplifting about them
- Then write what feels draining or challenging about each relationship
- Reflect on which names give the most support, energy, and enjoyment back to you.
- Reflect on the heavy feelings in your relationships and ask yourself, “Is there some shift that needs to happen with this person?”
Wishing you a Fruitful and Aware New Decade. Happy 2020.