One of the many great things about New Year is it encourages a mass mood of reflection. It’s contagious, even if you haven’t raised your head from the grindstone recently, someone nearby will mention something about losing weight or stopping smoking or “making changes,” and something inside you will stir.
Mood of reflection – very good
Quality of reflection – questionable!
New Years’ Resolutions quickly become synonymous with goals. Some may even write down a list, or edit last year’s list and the year before and so on. And that’s the last they think of it.
The received wisdom is write it down but why is that important?
The act of writing the goal down – with a pen rather than a keyboard – takes it out of your mind and makes it material. That much is obvious. Your literate mind will look at the words on the page and will want to assemble the words meaningfully. You give it some structure so that it makes sense. There is some evidence to suggest that the act of writing the words in some way tricks the mind into believing you have achieved,or are achieving, the goals. The goals have moved from something idle to something active in your mind.
You remember better the important stuff when you write it down. As something tangible, you can revisit it often to reinforce your aspiration for achieving the goals. It keeps you on track.
Last year, research was published that demonstrated writing your goals down, sharing them with your friends and crucially, keeping them updated on your progress towards the goals, had a stunning effect on the likelihood of achieving them.
This misses something vital. A goal deals with the What… and for those that must count beans, it might even appear “smart”
Why is the essential question.
- Are they actually your goals or are they suggestions from others?
- How do they fit in with your overall life/career/business direction?
- How do you respond inside when you contemplate WHY you are attempting them?
A good goal is a useful tactic to help achieve a much bigger objective. Understanding that bigger objective, getting to appreciate where you want to go, rarely happens in a moment, lightheaded on New Year’s Day.
The WHY stuff is much more important. Investing time to understand and appreciate it therefore takes longer. This wisely spent time has the potential to change your whole life for the better.
Examine your New Year’s Resolutions. What are they really telling you about the direction of you life?
If you want to better understand your life direction, we are running a personal development retreat in Staffordshire, England in February 2014. Please see the side bar for more details and sign up.
Also you can enjoy your free download of the first chapter of our new book The Handbook of Hope here.