"The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision."
“This is going to be the best damn year of my life. This is the year I’m going to…
- “Lose 15 pounds.”
- “Get a new job.”
- “Learn a new language.”
- “Be more compassionate to those in need.”
If you are anything like most people – including myself – the buzz of these resolutions starts to wear off around this time. You fall back into your old routine before the holidays and your cookie-induced-comas. Goodbye, new gym membership. So long, dream job. Sayonara, [insert goal here].
New year. New resolution. Old habits.
Demoralizing right? Yes – BUT we can change that so your goals become reality.
Redefine ‘New Year’s Resolution’.
The problem with ‘New Year’s resolutions’ is embedded in the actual phrase itself.
The word resolution means, “the process of resolving something”. Or, a more applicable definition: “a FIRM DECISION to do something.”
Even if your New Year’s resolution is firm, specific, and measurable, a significant change in your life can’t be satisfied by a single decision. If that was the case, we’d all be worry-free self-made millionaires living in a great big blue utopia called earth.
As silly as it sounds, this is exactly what we do. We make a single decision to improve our lives in some way and we get pissed off at ourselves for not following through. The problem isn’t in the goal; it’s in how we frame it.
A significant improvement to your life must be much bigger than a resolution. Let’s call it your ‘New Year’s Vision.’
A New Year’s Vision is a look into the future of your own life one year from today. Stop reading this and really think about the following sentence:
“What major improvement to my life have I accomplished one year from today?”
Don’t stop thinking about this until you come up with something specific and realistic that also aligns with your purpose. Envision it, SEE it (that’s why it’s called a vision), and write it down.
You can envision your dream job, to make more money, to travel the globe – whatever it is, that’s up to you. What separates this from a new year’s resolution is the process in which you take to achieve it. You do not continuously focus on the vision itself. This is your overarching goal that guides your path.
Think about it like you’re walking down the yellow brick road: your vision is to reach the wizard, and every now and then you look up to see if you’re walking in the right direction, but you must take it one step at a time to get there.
To see your vision through: Focus on the steps.
Real, significant change happens in a series of consecutive small decisions we make every day.
For example, if you want to lose 15 lbs, you don’t say, “I’m going to work out 5 days a week for the rest of the year, eat perfectly, and quit drinking.” Well, that’s going to last for about 15 seconds. Those decisions aren’t specific and you are trying to take on too much at once.
Instead, reframe to micro-level thinking:
- Decision #1: Put your running shoes next to your bed before you go to sleep at night.
- Decision #2: Get your ass out of bed in the morning.
- Decision #3: Put shoes on.
- Decision #4: Go outside.
When you act on a micro decision, you build momentum and give yourself confidence to achieve the next one and the next one and the next one, until eventually you start seeing actual growth. Each one of these actions is a specific, measurable firm decision. In other words, they are resolutions!
Resolutions imply that you are resolving something. And we resolve decisions one at a time.
Your resolutions shouldn’t begin and end on January 1st. They should occur daily when setting your goals when you wake up in the morning and reflecting on them before you go to bed. This is when real progress occurs.
Make no mistake: I don’t want to trivialize the self-discipline it takes to do these things every day. It requires focus, persistence and effort. But follow it like you would a cupcake recipe you found on Pinterest. Those instructions are guided decisions that fulfill a bigger delicious vision. When you accelerate the process, you get burnt mush.
Life is a whole lot like this. Just because you know what step 10 is, doesn’t mean you should skip steps 1-9 to get there. If life worked that way, you might as well jump straight to the coffin now. But that’s ridiculous (and somewhat disturbing). Yet, that’s exactly how we handle visions – and, more specifically, New Year’s resolutions – we want to see the wizard before following the yellow brick road.
It’s been exactly two weeks since you set your New Year’s resolution in action. How’s it looking?
Spark Your Growth
A day is for resolutions. A year is for visions.
Start your new vision right now. Evaluate your life: values, purpose, strengths, things you’ve always wanted to do, and, most importantly, things you want to eliminate. Write each one of these down. As you read over these, you will start to discover a common theme between all of these things.
Conceptualize that theme into a specific, measurable vision that you can see yourself realistically accomplishing one year from today.
To see that vision come to fruition, you MUST break it down into much smaller resolutions or goals. Ask yourself:
- What will I have to achieve or learn to get there?
- What resources do I need?
- Who will I need to help me reach this (inside and outside of your network)?
Again, break each one of these answers down into specific actions you can take every day.
Prioritize these actions into a list of what you can accomplish in one week. You should NOT have more than 2 priorities a day (this is very important to allow you to stick with it while constantly building momentum and moving forward). Do this at the start of every week and write them down in a calendar or use an app to help you (I use any.do).
At the end of each week, reflect on what you accomplished and what you can eliminate. Then, the next week you write down a new list of priorities. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, your vision is necessary to guide you, but your resolutions are critical for the real change to happen. Your resolutions are what consistently hold you accountable to your overarching vision.
Before you know it, your once blurry opaque vision starts to become clearer and clearer and you are on your way to a new you (Too corny?).
I have done this in my own life, as have the other writers of this blog. If you want some advice on how to get started, or if you wanted me to send you my personal vision and goals, please feel free to email me anytime or send us a message on facebook.