With the New Year upon us, so is our most cynically treasured ritual: the new year’s resolution.
It is often acknowledged that people rarely follow through on these promises to themselves. Our eyes seem to collectively roll when we hear enthusiastic personal declarations made in the final days of December. And while there is nothing wrong with resolutions per say, what if there was a more effective way use the occasion to serve our self-development?
This year, instead of resolutions, try this: Conceive solid long-term goals. Here’s how…
It’s simple really. First, sit down, at a desk or table preferably. Next, write 10 very very specific things you want to accomplish within the next two years. That’s it.
Why specific? Because you can’t really focus if your vision is too vague. Instead, you need measurable goals. You need to have in mind actual benchmarks or achievements to zero in on through action.
Why two years? Because real progress takes planning, execution, and time to manifest. Real positive personal change is a series of 1% improvements — born through experience — which accumulate through persistence.
Why 10 goals and not 4? Because a good life is built on multiple solid pillars, for example health, inter-personal relationships, financial security, creative expression, the pursuit of knowledge, etc. Ignoring some areas like financial security or health can have disastrous consequences. But generally, you want all the areas that support your well-being to be strong and healthy. Thus, you want an array of long-term goals which strengthen these pillars.
Why write them down? So you don’t forget them. Instead, you can be reminded of these goals by looking at them, which you should do often.
Don’t treat these goals as quick fixes or as ends unto themselves. Instead, they should just be seen as small steps or momentary interludes in a life-long journey of self-improvement.
There is a lot of power in goal setting. Unlike making resolutions, which promises an abrupt change, setting goals is a positive vision of a result you wish to see. By looking forward two years, you can envision and plan on reaching further than normally imaginable. And through setting an array of tangible yet far-sighted goals you both enable and challenge yourself to expand at your full potential.
So this year, instead of trying to make a big change on January 1st, 2018, ask yourself what you want to have achieved by January 1st, 2020. Where do you want to be in life by then? What experiences or skills do you want to have gained over the next two years, and most importantly, what type of person do you want to have become?