Every year we do the same thing. Towards the end of December, we create a list of goals we'd like to reach in the following year. These goals typically focus on an outcome we'd like to achieve, but they fail to focus on the approach we'll take to get there. The most common goals we make are to lose weight, save more money, and focus on self-care. Does it usually work? No, they very rarely ever work. I don't think I've ever managed to keep my new year's resolutions, and it seems to me that most people can relate.
So what's wrong with the approach that we've always taken?
Like I said earlier, we often only focus on the outcomes that we want, but we forget to plan how we're going to get there. We usually get motivated when we take this approach, but without a plan, we're most likely going to fail. However, the opposite can also be true. What if we plan without a clear vision in mind? If you decide to read your Bible every day, do you know where that's going to get you? If not, you'll probably fail too. We need both: a vision and a plan.
That's only part of the problem. We also tend to overdo it with our goals. Some people will set 10 - 20 goals, and maybe reach a few of them. Maybe. It's not just with quantity, but we assume we can do much more than we really can. Not only do we set multiple goals, but we also set goals that are often too much to handle. That is, of course, if we fail to have a plan and a vision. Let's face it, our goals are usually too generic and unfocused. New Year's resolutions don't work, so why do we keep doing them? I'm pretty sure that's the literal definition of insanity. It's time to come up with a new strategy.
First of all, it's not about the year changing, it's about you changing. The time of year should be completely irrelevant to our actions. We even do this on a weekly basis. We decide to finally get everything organized on Sunday, and we tell ourselves that "next week" will be a better week. But can you imagine what outcomes we would see if we took that approach every day? Or every hour? It's about the mindset we have, not how things look on the calendar. I think calendars are important because they give us structure, but they shouldn't affect our attitude as we approach everyday life.
Step 1: Create a vision board.
One of my first posts was about the vision board I created at the beginning of 2018. I like having a vision board because it allows you to be honest with yourself. Unlike a long list of goals for the year, this forces you to be real, dream big, and ask some serious questions.
"What am I truly passionate about?"
"Who do I want to be?"
"What are my natural skills, and how can I use them?"
Vision boards are not constrained to time - they're life-long visions. But, it helps you get focused. Once you know what you're really aiming for, you can begin working towards them on a daily basis. Every day, do one thing to bring you closer to these visions. Make sure it's only one thing, that way you're not stressed.
Step 2: Get accountability.
If you can find accountability partners, great! If you manage to find a community that can keep you accountable, awesome. I recommend looking for these things, but I also know that it can be difficult to find. So, the next best thing you can do is to do these things out loud. Share your visions publicly - especially if it scares you. If you can't tell people about your visions, you're probably not going to reach them.
Talk about it. Post about it on social media. What are you doing every day to get there? Blog about it, talk about it, vlog about it - just get it out there. This whole process is truly amazing. I know it's also scary, but you may end up getting addicted to it. Feeling accomplished is addicting, and you'll see that your passionate energy will also rub off on other people. It's like you're going on a journey to a wonderful place and leaving a trail behind so others can follow. What's amazing is that the trail happens automatically.
Step 3: Keep track of your happiness.
In the end, I think our main goal is to be happy. Will we ever get there? I'm not sure. Happiness looks different for everyone, but I think the wisest approach is to be happy even in the midst of challenges. Some people keep track of happiness by journaling every day. You can do that if you'd like (I'm too lazy to write a blog post and a journal), but if you enjoy it, do it.
Since I'm not the type to do journaling, I keep track of my day on an app called "Year in pixels". It's a quick and fun way to keep track of how you're feeling, and I recommend it for everyone. It's super easy, it's fun, and I find it helpful. There are lots of variations of the same app, so I recommend finding whichever one you like.
Don't do the same thing this year. Don't do the same thing today. Remember, it's not about the time of year it's about your decisions right now. I'm excited, I hope you are too.