It's that time of year again: the beginning.
For some of us, the end of 2015 is great news -- a relief even. It's a chance to look back at the year and kiss (or kick) it goodbye. It's a collective new beginning, where many of us are inspired to make big changes or, at the very least, join a gym (again). And this time, this year, this January, we mean it.
No, really. We're going to finally make exercise a part of our life, lose that last 10 (cough, cough) pounds, find love and go to Bora Bora. And what the heck, while we're at it, we're going to quit that dead-end job, jump-start our dream career, save for retirement, open that Rosetta Stone we bought at the airport a few years back and speak Mandarin fluently.
Sounds great, no? Truth is, it all does sound great. But, let me ask you something. What if bingeing on resolutions is more sneaky than it is sensible? The longer our list of resolutions, the less likely we are to keep ANY of them. In fact, over-promising leaves us more overwhelmed than inspired and, gives us seemingly no choice but to go back with a white flag to the way things were.
But, what if subconsciously we set the whole darn thing up? I mean, we humans really do like to go big or go home, right? Partly, it's because home is where our pajamas and Netflix live. And partly, it's because going really, really big and subsequently failing allows us to collect evidence for our own not-so-great theories about ourselves. What theories, you ask? Oh, I don't know, how about: dieting is hard, finding love online is a numbers' game, and looking for a new job at this age, this market, this city is ____. You fill in the blank, because that is exactly what we all do. Theorize and set out to prove our theories accurate.
Go big or go big
What if for 2016, you actually and only pick ONE area of your life to tackle? Imagine that?! One big thing you care most about that you line up your head (actions) and heart (dream) to finally and forever realize this year.
Sounds better, no? More importantly, it sounds deliberate and designed by you AND feasible, even if slightly scary. So, think about it. What is the one area you are going to tackle this year? Is it your love life? Your health and body? Your family? Your career? Your finances? Your community? Oh, you do too know the one. It's the one that just made you a little queasy, sad and/or sweaty when you thought about it.
You name it
Before you write out (yes, in print) your dream in that specific area, let's name it. For example:
- 2016 is the year I fall madly, wildly, deeply in love, period.
- 2016 is the year I am debt-free, period.
- 2016 is the year I have the body of my dreams, period.
You get the idea. Putting your stake in the ground about this year's dream, besides just having you burp up a tiny amount of bile, has you start to feel, see and get accountable for your dream and deal with what is in fact in your way of having realized it until now.
I had a client that had a dream of being a great investor with her money. She giggled as she explained to me that, in actuality, she's the kind of person who you wouldn't be terribly surprised to one day find her entire savings under her mattress. With a little digging, she and I uncovered her less than brave theory that investments were a man's domain. So, as a single woman, her dream about investing her money with ease, fun and pride this year was not going to be realized until she was with a man, sneakily allowing her to do nothing about her dream today (let alone really hurry to find her partner).
Put a ring on it
Now that you've named it, you better put some promises and actions in place to fulfill on that dream. Instead of scaring the complete crap out of yourself by over-promising, how about you make the dream realize-able by setting up milestones that not only help you breathe, but help you see, step-by-step, that the dream is INDEED doable.
Get creative and be specific with your promises. Break up the year into four quarters. So, for example, what if my client, who clearly needed a new theory about how brilliant women are at investing, for the first quarter, had to promise to read x number of books, articles and blogs written by women in finance? And what if, by the second quarter, she promised x number of investigative meetings set and networking events attended? What if by the third quarter she had to come up with a list of potential investments and spoke with x people about them and picked one? And by the fourth quarter, you guessed it, put her money where her mouth and mind now were and invest? How do you think she'd do? Do you think she'd end up proud that she was proven wrong about her theories about men and money and best of all, happily invested?! Yep.
If you stay quiet about your dream for this year, how do you think it will go? If you had a promise to take on your body, lose x pounds and then not tell anyone about it and go out to a big, family style Italian restaurant with your gang, what are the odds that you're going to keep your promise and not get passed the bread basket?
Let your people know. While you are at it, find an accountability buddy (way way different than a drinking buddy), someone that won't buy your excuses and will hold you to your promise. So, if your dream this year is to be passionately in love and yet you are on your couch, not dating but watching Season Two of "Transparent" (oh my god, it's great), your dream is not likely gonna happen. How about instead you make a promise to have 3 great dates a month or lose an episode of "Transparent," uh, permanently. That ought to do it, no? If not, at the very least, it'll get you in the right fight and on the right team.
Your dream's team
Your real job this year is to be accountable for your dream, to get in the right actions to forward what you said you'd accomplish this year, period. What if your true, full-time spiritual job is to live a life about which you are proud?
Make this year, THE year.
It certainly is not the year of the ostrich, so pull your head up, put physical integrity (actions) into your spiritual commitment (dream) and design and live a life you love now.
We're rooting for you! Here's to 2016 being your proudest year yet!
If you're not sure how the heck you're gonna manage... that's where we come in. The Handel Method teaches a simple yet proven way to get yourself in action towards the things you really want for yourself. Want to start a business, find true love, bring your family closer together, or start your next awesome chapter? Sign up for our Design Your Life Telecourse and learn the method that has helped thousands of people make their dreams a reality -- by following a simple set of steps, with the guidance of trained coaches.