At the best of times, and the worst of times, and especially at this time each year, we might start thinking about the future, and what we want from it – setting goals, “new year, new you”… that sort of thing.
Perhaps one goal might be that you want to change your thinking around something – maybe something or someone that’s bugging you – something you think you can’t do, or have tried before and failed. Maybe you worry a lot about the future or have regrets or berate yourself for something you did or didn’t do in the past. We may be haunted by our own ghosts of the past, present & future – and not just at Christmas!
One exercise I sometimes try with my coaching clients is a Past, Present & Future exercise – so you might like to try it
- Take a blank page – draw a circle – it doesn’t have to be perfect; no judgement here!
- Consider the amount of time you spend in each of three categories…
• Thinking back & blaming yourself or regretting things you did or didn’t do in the past
• Thinking about the future, planning, worrying and possibly catastrophizing
• Thinking about and observing the present – what’s happening now, what your options are, how you’re feeling
- Divide the circle into pie slices that represent the portion of your time that you spend on each area. Maybe the pie looks something like this…
Some questions to ask…
Are you happy with it this way? How would you like it to look?
What change could you make to achieve the change you want?
What impact would that have on you and your life and work?
Some of the thinking may be helpful – we want to learn from the past, and plan for the future, but not get too caught up in either.
So maybe instead of repeating the habits of Christmas past, you can turn the ghosts into gifts – create a new Christmas future, and be more present – which is a gift in itself.
“No space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused”
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol