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Monday, November 23, 2020

Coming to the End

 If you are interested in listening to a discussion of this post by the Teach Suzuki Podcast, episode 223, click here.

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It is nearing the end of what was a very trying and surprising year for most of the world. We began 2020 with hints of difficulties ahead, and by the end of the first quarter, we were in full throes of strange, new situations and complicated solutions to the problems we now faced due to a pandemic known as Covid-19. Life as we once knew it had changed drastically. For many, we could no longer perform our jobs in the ways we were accustomed to. We could not teach our students in person. We could not enter to perform in concert halls. We could not even meet family members without taking special precautions designed to protect our health and the health of others with whom we came into contact. Some were unable to visit loved ones before they died or after being taken to the hospital.

And it is not yet over. 2020 was a challenging year, and the problems we faced are still with us in the remaining portion of the year. We have been resilient and orchestrated new solutions for many of our situations, such as learning how to teach online lessons or navigating situations in person with the utmost care given to personal health and safety. We have flirted with restrictions, putting and lifting them in place as part of our regular daily routine. We have also experienced the damage that can result from ignoring the possibility of the virus continuing despite our defiant hopes and desires.

And still, it is not over. Rather than rail against the inevitable, let us instead look to the future. Let us now follow a designed course rather than suffer a reactionary lifestyle, as we have experienced most of this year. Let us journey together with an exercise to celebrate our accomplishments, learn from our difficulties and friction points, reconsider our future roles, and design our best year yet.

Join me in the next few weeks as we work together to craft something even better than in 2020. Let us create our best year yet.
A few years ago, I spent some time cleaning out most of my bookshelves in my den music room. I had reached the point where I had triple-shelved my books, and I just had no place left to add anything new. Many people would suggest that perhaps I needed to stop adding to my collection, but book lovers everywhere would understand my horrible gasp at this suggestion.

Instead, I decided to clean up my shelves and purge. I no longer needed to keep everything. Many books had served a purpose and a season of my life but were now no longer crucial to retain. In many cases, the books had long outlived their usefulness.

Now when I visit my shelves, which have slowly and assuredly begun to fill up again, I am amused to discover anew which books "made the cut." As I do every year, I discuss a book that has graced my reading shelves for decades. My book copy's copyright is 1994, and I can only surmise that I have had the book in my possession since that time or at least near that time. And I have found comfort and structure and purpose from using this book every year. I probably will never purge this book from my life as it has indeed been invaluable to my thinking and planning at the end of each year.

"Your Best Year Yet!" by Jinny Ditzler is a method for goal setting that is unique than merely making New Year's resolutions or setting goals, although I do engage in both those processes. This book is one of my treasures, and I look forward to revisiting its pages and exercises and sharing my insights and discoveries with my readers and listeners. This year — 2020 — has been a year like no other I have lived through, and I eagerly anticipate the work I will do in the coming weeks.

As I write this, we have reached the last week of November 2020. Six weeks remain in this unprecedented year of disasters, upheaval, and strange newness. Six weeks or about 11.5% of the year is plenty of time to make some important discoveries and decisions about approaching the coming year. I invite you to join me in this journey as I revisit the ten questions from Jinny Ditzler's "Your Best Year Yet!" As we near the end of 2020, I will include several specific goal-setting exercises I enjoy having in my process. These exercises come from notable people like Mel Robbins, Brian Tracy, and Jack Canfield, plus my suggestions for helpful ideas I have developed and used over my life's decades.

I invite you to join me. Grab your copy of this fantastic book, and let us get started creating our best year yet!
Until next time,

Happy Practicing!

----- Paula -----

© 2020 by Paula E. Bird

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