(As we launch into another year, back by popular demand, I am re-posting my blog from last January on this currently high-profile topic. I hope you enjoy and gain from it. By the way, Happy New Year!)
It’s 2014 now, and like most people, you probably made some New Year’s resolutions. As a matter of fact you probably also made some for 2013. So how’s it been going? Have you kept them all? Some of them? Or have they all been swept away under that dark dusty carpet called GUILT?
If so, take heart, you are not alone – and there is a solution. In fact, nearly 80% of people who make resolutions at New Year’s report they’ve broken or abandoned most of them (“New Years Resolutions Doomed”).
Notwithstanding, you may have found the guilt or the self-reproach a bit debilitating. How’s that been working for you? Not to worry, there is another way.
So what is the best way to deal with New Year’s resolutions? Don’t make any!!
The New Year can be a time of renewal, a marker for a new start. The problem is not the desire to do things differently, though. It’s the belief that a simple declaration of intent is all it takes to make a new start. Real change involves more than intention; it involves calculated action toward what I call a “Practical New Year’s VISION.”
The power of accomplishment doesn’t come from the next thing I keep doing, it comes from what happens in between the dream I have and the steps I take. The connecting link between dreams and action – the thing that makes a dream a vision – is COMMITMENT. Commitment has its own energy.
There’s a powerful quote, often attributed to Goethe, but which is actually from W. H. Murray in The Scottish Himalaya Expedition, 1951, that best explains what I am talking about:
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back— Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.”
Goethe’s contribution to the dialog is: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
The bottom line is that where there is real commitment, the universe tends to align with and tremendously amplify one’s actions to bring that commitment to fruition.
Here are the actions we propose as a path to achievement of your Practical New Year’s Vision:
- VISUALIZE yourself at the END of the year. Look around you and see what your life will look like if you spend the coming year living your best life as your best self. What is present to behold? What material, relational and spiritual gifts will you be enjoying?
- COMMIT to having what you have visualized.
- TELL SOMEONE. Move and inspire people add their energy to your vision. Telling Speaking it to another makes it real.
- LET GO of the expectation that your vision, when it is ultimately manifested, will look exactly like you imagine it now. The great paradox of creating a Vision is that you don’t know enough about yourself, the world and what simply hasn’t happened yet to be able to predict what it will look like with any meaningful accuracy.
- TAKE ACTION. Plan and execute the steps you will take over the next 90 days.
MEASURE YOUR PROGRESS every 90 days. Moving toward the fulfillment of your vision is a continual process: Act, Review, Redesign.
- DON’T TRY THIS ALONE! Get yourself a professional coach! Coaches are experts in the technology of success.
Manifesting a New Year’s Vision (as opposed to keeping a resolution) can be a complex, ongoing challenge (if it weren’t, you wouldn’t need to make to make a resolution, right?).
If you are a successful executive, corporate manager, entrepreneur or professional, the ability to effectively navigate the territory between Vision and next steps is an extraordinarily valuable asset.