Another year is upon us, which inevitably means that many of us are in the midst of the ritualistic composition of a list of self-improvement resolutions that rarely make it past January.
So rather than partaking in the aimless cliche of amorphous fancies, that rarely serve any other purpose than seasonal tradition, each hope reduced to little more than ambitious, yet unfulfilled, wishful whims, perhaps we should pivot our methods.
After all, doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results is the foundation of insanity— yet here we sit, at the beginning of each year writing down a list of pending disappointment to reflect on at the end of each year, only to then recycle the annual list for all the years to follow. Now is that any way to jumpstart a new year?
Of course we mean well. But meaning well is not for people who expect results. So now we just need to do well.
This year, plan for next year
First, make a statement of future manifestations. Rather than planning for a next year that is now as close as tomorrow, plan for where you want to be by the following year. Planning 2017 on December 31st, 2016 may have you high on energy but it won’t last you through the first month.
Take note of the operative word, ‘manifestations,’ in the above paragraph. Not intentions, hopes, dreams. Manifestation is a word describing something that has come to being, something that now exists. It is a transformative word, pivoting abstract thought into tangible reality and amorphous intention into concrete action.
Thinking in terms of “I am” rather than “I hope” or even “I will,” drastically calls this identification into a 3-dimensional reality. It leaves the paper of your planner by ingraining and endearing itself into your identity, which is the core of progressive confidence. Revisit and recite your “I am” daily until you, in fact, are.
Use hindsight efficiently
We always regretfully credit hindsight after it is too late to employ its merits. Hindsight has so much potential but usually ends up being completely futile by the time it actually shows up. So try harnessing the power of hindsight now, by standing one year from today, at the feet of 2018 and looking back over 2017, reciting a powerful “I am” rather than a hopeful “I will be.”
For example, at the foot of 2018, I am now/have accomplished/have become some progressive intention I had at the beginning of the year. Planning backwards gets us as close to that 20/20 as we ever will be.
So stand not at the door of 2017 when analyzing the year to come, but rather time travel to the door of 2018 and analyze the year that has, by then, past. When looking over a year that has not yet passed, we allow an opportunity to pivot our perspective.
We should no longer be looking to the past for pitiful inspiration garnered from a progressless pile of regret for The Undone, gathering it up for Resolution Recycling Day. We can instead look only forward, analyzing a future reality in the context of a past that has yet to transpire, allowing us full control of a self-predicted destiny.
Then fill in the blanks
This is your opportunity to get specific. Once you have that vision of who or where you are by next year, poise the upcoming year to fill in those blanks. Zoom in on the measurable checkpoints marked throughout the next 12 months.
Forego the usual January 1st deadline of change. It is unrealistic every other day of the year to expect to wake up on some tomorrow ready to change your literal way of being from hereon and forevermore. Why would we expect that the same 48-hour span between December 31st and January 1st to be any different from the other 363 days?
Life is a marathon, not a sprint. So we ought to treat it like one.
One would expect to methodically train for a marathon, which is anticipated to take long, dedicated, consistent practice in order to be successful. Marathons are achieved by steady pace, both in practice and in the race itself. Those who do not plan to build their stamina slowly but surely, will perhaps fly from the start line in a magnificent sprint only to burn out before the first quarter of the race.
Specify the beginning and middle of your story so that it may produce that end you saw on that New Year’s Days Yet-to-Come. Plan every dated detail as progress checkpoints. Every progressive step should be outlined between now and next January 1st to ultimately culminate into that “I am” or “I Did.”
Lauren is based in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to writing here on Pursuit of Daydreams, Lauren’s daydreams consist of all forms of design: Graphic, Fashion, Web, Interior, Art. On any given day, she can be found preoccupied with at least one of the above. She is happiest with a bowl of ice cream in hand.