Risk Manager, The Bar Plan
Originally published in the July 2021 issue of the St. Louis Lawyer magazine. Download PDF.
In an effort to start 2021 off on the right foot, the BAMSL Well-Being Committee sent all members a postcard in the month of January encouraging everyone to think about their goals for the upcoming year and commemorate them in writing. Now, with the year already half over and our Committee's focus turning to Spiritual Well-Being, it seems like an excellent time to reflect on those goals, and utilize that reflection to continue our personal growth.
Spiritual Well-Being is defined by the Institute for Well-Being in Law as developing a sense of meaningfulness and purpose in all aspects of life. This naturally pairs well with the idea of New Year's Resolutions. Who we want ourselves to be and how we want others to see us are big reasons that we make resolutions each year. But setting goals is only part of the battle. It is equally important to look back on those goals to determine what went well, what did not, and what we can learn about ourselves in the process.
If you are absolutely killing it with your 2021 resolutions, congratulations. Making plans to achieve goals and sticking to those plans is difficult in any year, but especially with the continued pandemic stressors and personal loss many have dealt with over the past six months and beyond. As part of your continued growth, think about why you were successful with sticking to your resolutions. Do not be afraid to pat yourself on the back for doing a great job so far.
Now also think about those around you who might be struggling with living up to their own goals. What can you do to help them? What skills can you share through mentorship to others? Take the opportunity to help pull others up alongside you.
While we commend the resolution-keepers among us, I imagine the majority of us fall more in a second category — those who feel their performance leaves room for improvement. The good news is, that is OK, too. If thinking about your January goals leaves you disappointed, it might be a good idea to think about your values and how intentionally striving to live with those values can help you meet your goals.
There are numerous activities, challenges and worksheets available online to help you define your values and better focus your actions to align with them. One example is the Values Challenge published last year by the Institute for Well-Being in Law, which can be found on their website: lawyerwellbeing.net.
There also is a third category of resolution-maker — those who did not keep their resolution, but feel no disappointment about that fact. If you find yourself in that category, perhaps it is not because you failed to live up to your goals, but instead it is because your goals have simply changed since the start of the year. There is absolutely nothing wrong with shifting your focus or changing your personal and career objectives.
The most important thing for your spiritual well-being is simply to ensure your life has meaning and is being lived in keeping with your own values. If you fall into this category, take some time to think through how your goals have changed, why that might be, and what that says about your values and purpose.
No matter where you fall in the spectrum of resolution-makers, it is the BAMSL Well-Being Committee's hope that you take some time this month to reflect on how you can more intentionally pursue your own values in your daily life.