A Vision of Success – An Alternative to New Year’s Resolutions

10106984573_af30744f70_oDon’t you hate New Year’s Resolutions? Seriously, how many of those grandiose goals actually make it through the year? Through the month? If you’ve successfully held to your resolutions in the past, I’d love to hear your story. But for the most part, all I hear about is failure.

Don’t get me wrong, failure is a part of life. Failure is a sign that you’re trying. In his recent blog on the subject, Steve Morris pointed out that Bill Gates and Donald Trump were both wonderfully successful failures. Still, I’d have to argue that all that learning eventually gets discouraging.

My issue with resolutions isn’t with their content but with their lack of results. I’m supposed to pick one giant goal for my entire year? Life just doesn’t work like that.

Let’s look at a common one: In 2014, I will adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Great, so what does that mean? It lacks detail. It lacks the vision necessary to succeed. So, humor me, and we’ll tighten it up a bit.

My new resolution is: I will eat healthier in 2014.

Awesome, I like that one enough. Not so specific that I’ll fail frequently, but specific enough to measure my success at the end of the year. It’s not a S.M.A.R.T. goal, but it’ll do.

But here’s the real problem. My life is about so much more than eating. Honestly, it’s about more than health, too. What about family? Friends? Schooling? Work aspirations? Writing goals? That herb garden I’ve been meaning to start for years?

All the sudden, I’ve made this huge promise to the universe that I will make healthy eating my priority throughout the year. It just doesn’t seem realistic to me. My life is too multi-faceted for that—I’m betting yours is to.

(And if you’re going to tell me that a resolution isn’t about pinpointing your focus for the year to come, then what the heck is it?)

I must sound so difficult at this point. Just a Grinch of New Year’s. I’m not, I promise. I’m just a revolutionary.

I propose this instead: Write a vision for your 2014. Make it encompass everything that’s important to you. What do you want to be looking back at come December? What would make you satisfied and happy with life?

Be specific enough so that you can say “success” or “fail.” But not so specific that you’re failing more days than not. Write it out. Keep it somewhere safe. Reread it in the months to come to gauge your progress.

I’m breaking mine up into sections: Relationships (read: family and friends), School, Writing, Finances, Health. It’ll be about a page long. (To be totally honest, it’s coming a little late because 2013 ended with a lot of partying… Ahem, anyway.)

I want to encourage everyone to take this spin on your New Year. Give yourself a vision to fulfill, not a resolution to fail. Write it down. Send it to me via comment, or post it in your blog and leave me a link. I’ll weigh in on your vision from my perspective and give you a bit of cheerleading, too.

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