In their book, The Power of Moments, Chip and Dan Heath explain that the way most people look at new year’s resolutions is broken. They mistakenly believe that a resolution will change their life.
However, chances are, you’re likely just pursuing the same thing that you were before giving up last year.
Hence, it’s not actually about the goal at all. Instead, it’s about having a new slate. It’s about forgetting the failures of the past and saying, “New Year, New Me.”
Thus, what you don’t need is a new goal. Rather, what you need is a new vision. You need a new standard to live by. You need to stop clinging on to the results of this year and commit to making the new year different.
Said Chip and Dan Heath,
“If you’re struggling to make a transition, create a defining moment that draws a dividing line between Old You and New You.”
Indeed, you don’t have to be defined by what’s happened this year. You don’t have to be stuck within the prison that this year may have created around you.
Instead, you can and should see a vision beyond your current circumstances and then work towards it. The remainder of this article will serve as a start.
Here we go.
Your Circumstances Do Not Make You
“It is your decisions, not your conditions, that determine your destiny.” -Tony Robbins
Hal Elrod has similarly written, “The moment you accept total responsibility for EVERYTHING in your life is the day you claim the power to change ANYTHING in your life.”
It’s unlikely that the circumstances of this world are going to go the way you’d like in 2021. And therefore, you must be the change you wish to see in your world.
Indeed, you can separate yourself from external events. You can say that despite the earthly circumstances around you, you’re still going to get in the best shape of your life, you’re still going to be happy or achieve anything else you want for yourself.
However, if you simply allow the events of this world to shape your experience, then you’ll never have true freedom or joy in your life. As Tony Robbins has said,
“If you want real freedom in your life, you must make a decision to stop allowing external events to shape your happiness.”
This is a totally reasonable and doable goal. Of course, for some of us, we may be locked down. However, that doesn’t mean you have to be knocked down. As I’ve been saying, it is not external events that shape your life, but you!
Said Ryan Holiday, “There is no good or bad without us, there is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means.”
Having a Vision is How You Make Your Future Bigger Than Your Past
“Most people don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing. They imitate others, go with the flow, and follow paths without making their own.” -Derek Sivers
There’s a supposed study that followed Yale’s graduating class of 1953. The researchers asked the students a number of questions, and three of them had to do with goal setting:
- Have you currently set any goals for yourself?
- Have you written them down?
- Do you have a plan to accomplish those goals?
It turned out that only 3 percent of the class had written down their goals and detailed a plan on how to achieve them. Thirteen percent had goals but had not written them down. A full 84 percent had zero goals for themselves.
The question then is: What group are you in?
Because the answer is largely going to determine how your next few years play out, as the rest of the study shows: In 1973, so twenty years later, the same class was resurveyed, and the difference between their income levels was recorded.
The 13 percent who had goals but had not written them down were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent of students who had no goals at all.
Meanwhile, the 3 percent of people who had written down their goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent of graduates combined.
There is a caveat, however, and that is that the validity of this study is in question. Many people believe it never actually happened and was just contrived by motivational speakers like Zig Zigler and Tony Robbins.
However, whether it’s true or not, the lesson it teaches can’t be overlooked. As Paul Arden has said,
“Your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have. Without having a goal it’s difficult to score.”
Without a vision, you cannot make your future bigger than your past. Without a clear aim and objective for your time, then you cannot be discerning and put first things first.
A vision and desire for a better life is the starting point of all achievement. As Napoleon Hill has said, “Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.”
Do you have a vision for your life? Have you written it down? Do you write it down daily?
I imagine that if you did all of these things, then your 2021 would be quite different from the norm. You’d be designing your life rather than merely reacting to life. You’d be an agent rather than an object!
So, what is your 2021 vision? Who is your future-self? What will you do, and who will be?
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