Each new year starts with grand motivations. Desires to sweep away the past and start anew. Grand ambitions, resolutions, and intentions to make this coming year better than the previous one. A chance to change our lives. The best way to do that is create a vision of yourself and write it down.
As I mentioned previously, instead of a list of resolutions and promises to myself that will inevitably be broken, I defined a list of values. Building a vision statement much like the one Brandon Webb describes in his New Years goal setting episode, I took these values a wrote out a short paragraph that I can review frequently throughout the year. It forms a foundation for how I see the person I want to be in 2018. I can then use it as the grounding point for the choices I will face over the year.
As a single father in my early 40’s, my primary focus is raising my two boys as happy and healthy young men. I am active and healthy, defining my life through my experiences. A constant learner, I am always looking to grow and become better at everything I do. I am focused and intentional. I use failure as my friend, providing me critical feedback as I continue to try new things. I value the struggle, always pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone. I strive to be a valuable resource for others looking to improve themselves by providing leadership, guidance, and inspiration by setting a positive example at all times and in all things. Above all I value my friends and family.
A life of experiences
I had defined 2017 as my ‘year of exploration’. I focused a lot on new experiences and this served me well. I made new friends and confronted many of my fears which allowed me to move past a lot of the road blocks I had put up. As I reviewed the events of this past year I came to realize this was an aspect of my life I wanted to continue. To ensure this theme continues I made sure I continued to define myself through my experiences, to identify my relationships with friends and family as a core value, and to highlight learning and continuous growth as a part of my essence.
The year of focus and intention
After slowly putting myself back together over 2015 and 2016 I knew I needed to push myself to grow. From my notes earlier in the year I identified social, travel, experiences, engagements, and passions as aspects of life I wanted to highlight. As I sit here and review my year I can see how this theme underscored almost everything I did over the year. It was clear that providing myself a theme, and revisiting it regularly, guided my choices. The year opened my mind and I was once again filled with new ideas and inspirations, a part of me that had been repressed for sometime.
However, by the end of the year I was engaged in several new projects, investigating others, cultivating new friendships, all while still fulfilling my existing obligations. 2018 I am defining as “The year of focus and intention”. I listed out all my main ideas and moved several off my main plate for this year, and highlighted the one that most fit with my objectives both in the short and long term. I also highlighted a couple that I wanted to cultivate as passion projects. While this meant that some of my ideas, some good ideas, had to be moved aside. This was hard as I felt a few of these were really good and fit my long term objective, but represented too much needed time, money and attention. Less is more.
A growth mindset
During 2017 I was introduced to the concept of a growth mindset. A belief that my talents are not predefined and can be developed and improved through intentional effort. As I move into 2018 I know that I am in full control of my life. As Charles Swindoll said, “Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% of how you react to it.” While failures and setbacks will continue to be a part of my life, I am taking a page from Jim Kwik and choosing to treat them as feedback that I can learn from.
You only fail if you fail to learn. Everything else is just feedback.
– Jim Kwik
However, the biggest thing as I start this new year is the knowledge that everyday starts anew. Life is as fluid as the ocean, constantly changing and presenting new opportunities. I will have good days and bad days, make good and bad decisions. By defining a vision and identifying a theme I am providing myself with the tools to re-adjust to the changing tides.
Happy New Year! Welcome to 2018.