Moving toward the next chapter requires new beliefs and behaviors…

By Caroline Hall

I’m 67. My husband Michael has been retired for five years. I sincerely want to be moving (er….inching) toward my next chapter of life, too. In fact, a significant portion of my business is devoted to helping people navigate that transition. And yet, my old habit of behavior and beliefs die hard—and I suspect I’m not alone.

Habitual behaviors? Here are a few (of mine):workaholic

  • Saying “yes” to most new work opportunities that interest me. (This may sound like a good thing, but trust me, it isn’t given that so much interests me.)
  • Not doing what it takes to find a skilled assistant to take all administrivia off my plate (since I get worse and worse at it and it sucks the joy from life).
  • Not protecting unscheduled time for reflection and adventure.

Habitual attitudes? Here are a few (of mine):

  • I’m only smart when I’m working (so I’d better work as much as possible).electronic overwhelm
  • Working is the best use of me (If I’m not working I will not be contributing and thus will become a monster of selfishness).
  • Who am I if I’m not an executive coach and leadership consultant? Do I even exist?
  • I really should take this project (for the money, for the experience, because I owe it to…..somebody).
  • If I don’t check my e-mail, texts, news apps at least 10 times a day, I’ll fall hopelessly behind.

I coach my clients toward new perspectives and behaviors all the time.  And, did I say that old habits die hard? It actually takes constant vigilance to remember the promises we make to ourselves. And to remember to be kind to ourselves when we forget, because transformation is a process and a journey more than it is a target and most of us forget pretty often along the way.

So here are beliefs and attitudes I am cultivating for 2019 (except when I forget; thank goodness I have a coach to remind me):

  • If I don’t have to do this project (and I usually don’t), do I really want to take it on?
  • The next best uses of my brain and heart are out there; I just need to make some space to find them.
  • It’s better to let my legs do some walking instead of my fingers. E-mails and news apps make me anxious about what’s slipping through the cracks and the state of the world, respectively. What’s “falling behind” anyway? The faster I go, the more e-junk there is to slog through. Go take a walk!

And, here are some behaviors I’m calendarizing for the new year:calendaring

  • Once a month, take off a full week bracketed by two weekends—or three 4-day weekends. During free days, only go on-line for less than hour per day—and use the rest of the time for reflection, adventures, hanging with my husband, family, and friends, and planning what’s next.
  • Continue to build business for our Life Reinspired project for the sake of joining really smart people in conversations about how to make their next chapter of life the best chapter ever—and what has heart, meaning, and vibrancy on the other side of now.

That’s enough for 2019, eh?