Just because it’s January, should we all be setting goals?
Have you ever had the intuitive niggle that although it’s January and everyone is shouting goals, goals, goals, you’re simply not ready to set yours yet? Perhaps you feel like you’re still getting a handle on previously set goals or that you’re just not inspired for goal-setting at this time? And it’s frustrating because we all know that the annual year runs from January to December and the financial year runs more or less the same, and your HR Department wants your annual objectives pronto. So what’s up for you?
Consider this: the 365 days that make up your personal year (from the day after your birthday to your next birthday) may not necessary coincide with the annual calendar. If you’re born on 31st December, as I was, then of course, your annual year begins on 1st January, as mine does, and it feels just right to use 1st January to 31st December as goal-setting benchmarks. If, however, you’re born on 15th June, then your annual year begins on 16th June and ends on 15th June the following year. Here, we’re using the earth’s predictable journey around the Sun to measure a year, 365 days, divided into four neat quarters, just like a regular calendar (only, you’re not just a regular calendar—you’re unique).
Astrology uses the term ‘Solar Return’ for your birthday—the day the Sun returns to its exact birth position in your astrological birth map. It’s the days and weeks that proceed your personal solar return are the most important for your goal setting process (and these may not necessarily be in January)
The seasonal phase that we consider to be the beginning of an annual cycle (and a renewal cycle) is spring—a time for sowing seeds. Spring is followed by summer—a time for working fields. After that, its autumn and the time to reap the rewards of the seeds you’ve sowed earlier in spring. Finally, its winter, a time to consolidate, lay fallow, rest and re-charge. This phase is necessary to do before the spring begins again.
So, back to our example of a 15th June Solar Return. Roughly 3 months after the Solar Return its spring (regardless of what the actual season is in the place where you live) —a time to set goals and intentions, to start taking the necessary steps toward goal achievement. The next 3 months are about summer activities—you’re working your plan. The following three months, autumn, allow you to reap the rewards of those seeds you sowed in spring (even those unintentional seeds). Winter is for consolidation.
If you’ are born on 15th June, then you are entering the autumn phase of your year and should look forward to reaping the rewards of the seeds you sowed in June/July/August of last year. It would not surprise me if, right now, you are not enthused to join me in setting new goals just because it’s January.
It’s unlikely that this notion of personally-tailored goal-setting aligned with your personal season will wash with the HR Department, so go ahead and set your annual calendar-based goals anyway. Think wisely however, about how you can incorporate the wisdom of this insight into your strategies and work in tune with your natural cycles. Feel free to be in touch around the time of your next Solar Return for a goal-setting conversation that will propel you naturally toward your evolving ambitions.
This article is written by Michelle Clarke and is the lead article of the January edition of Coaching Corner, a *free* monthly e-newsletter focusing on Coaching, Leadership, and Personal Development for coaches, leaders and other people-developers. To subscribe, please visit www.motivcoach.com