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Addressing "New Year's Anxiety"

Happy New Year!

As we engage in this month of motivation, I want to bring up a subject that most of us would rather navigate around than look head on: the anxiety about meeting those goals.

I will start with me. When I consider the possibilities that I might succeed, I get butterflies in my stomach. Intimidation. Fear. Afraid that I am not up to it -- whatever "it" is. I know that contradicts what I often speak about, but you just got a peek at the messenger behind the message. I feel anxious when I consider my own possibilities because I also have the capacity to botch things up. Being book smart doesn't mean I can't get in my own way by making assumptions about things I don’t understand. I know this about me. That’s why the thought of change and growth makes me nervous.

How about you? As you plan the work of being better, check in with yourself. Is there a nagging sensation in the pit of your stomach (that place often referred to as the 'second brain') when you ponder the good that can happen? Is there doubt expressed somewhere inside you that if a wonderful opportunity comes your way, you will mess it up? Or are you concerned that you don't have what it takes to occupy the place of success? According to Dr. Tim Elmore, CEO of Growing Leaders, “Conflict arises when there is a difference between expectations and reality”. As you work on those goals, what are your real beliefs about what you expect to happen?

May I tell you what's working for me?

I have taken a wider view of my possibilities. Rather than looking at the person who wants to write books, give speeches, or coach teams, I look at Michele in the context of what God wants to do in the earth. When I recognize that my odd collection of abilities, curiosities and knowledge are part of His plan for my life, I see there is a bigger context than what I, on my own, can screw up. Taking this wider view, I am reminded that God is still at work in the

earth, and that He uses frail, imperfect, foibles of humans, to accomplish that work.

There is a lot happening in our world and our individual lives. Many of the goals and dreams we have are tied to the solutions our hearts crave to solve the problems we encounter. It can be daunting to attempt a life-do-over in one year. How formidable to attempt to change the world (or a company, or a group) by December 31, 2024.  What would happen if instead you looked at your life in the context of God's plan? If you knew even you couldn't mess up His plans, would you be free to enjoy life -- imperfections and all? Can you trade the desire to be great (or skinny, or successful, or loved) with a simple longing to be your best every day, regardless of how many pounds you lose or goals you check off?

Especially in this "motivational month" of January, I am asking God to help me to remember “me in the context of Him”. Knowing that I am part of a bigger plan, that even I don’t have the ability to screw up takes the anxiety out of seeing my own the possibilities.

Thank you, dear, gracious God for trusting me with another year and limitless possibilities.

Michele Aikens is an author, minister, professional coach and CEO of Clear Sight Coaching & Consulting, Inc. To connect with her, click here: 

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