Visioning for Your Year
So, today is the first day of a new year, actually. It feels energizing after exercising. Now, time to think about new resolutions. How can I commit to exercise regularly this year? Within a few weeks, my resolutions are forgotten. Let me write them down this time. So, put the Mozart music on to get into a creative mood and lower the shades. According to Native American culture, darkness is the place for seeking and finding answers, for accepting healings, and for accessing the hidden light of truth. Perfect for the first day of a new year. Suddenly, a surprise email arrives from a friend whom I had not heard from in over a year, responding to my holiday card. Reminding me of the power of networking at the cost of 50 cents and a few minutes. She expects to be confirmed by the President for a prestigious position in the new Administration and will be moving back to our area. Where will this year take us? How can one set new year’s resolutions when one minute might change our destiny, our priorities, our hopes and dreams?
The sun, surrounded by cues, is brightly shining over the beautiful silver grey ocean waves. Pelicans are having a field day soaring in the light ocean breeze, around and around in the sky. As I gaze out of my ocean-facing window, I watch the endless waves crashing against the slowly eroding sand and know that I can always count on their consistent rhythm. I open the door so I can hear the ocean and pelican sounds, feel a cool breeze, but hide from the glare of the sun to continue my musings. My bird clock announces another hour. Mozart ever so lightly plays.
What a year this was – I look at the year as I always do everything – focus on the positives and not the negatives. Make lemonade out of lemons. Let’s see, my daughter lost just about everything, sold a beautiful home, pulled out of a swirling transition, and moved back to PA with my mother to care for her in her own home. Although it was a very painful experience, and it was a close crash, they survived and are starting over. In addition, my son and his wife are expecting, after quite a journey. I assisted hundreds of people who lost their jobs suddenly, and most have moved on to new ones. As a new small business owner, I experienced rejection for several large jobs and one full-time teaching job, but recovered to earn my first profitable business year. Ups and downs, highs and lows, peaks and valleys, whatever you call it, how can one set resolutions in such a scenario for an entire year?
Numerous books and experts will tell you that you need to set goals and if they are in writing, even better. My philosophy is to write down a vision statement for the year. Work backwards and then write down 3 to 5 “visions” as a part of your Vision Statement. For example, I want to be no more than ____ pounds by the end of the year will be my first vision. Some say that a vision can be more lofty, like, “To be healthy, fit and energetic so that I can enjoy life and have the energy to pursue all of my goals. I will do this by following a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, and improve the habits that impact my health.” Whatever works for you. My second vision is to spend ______% of my time with family and friends and ____% of my time with my business. My third vision is to make $________profit in my business. My fourth vision is to write ____ articles in preparation for writing a book. Not many visions, just a few, maybe one stretch vision and one vision that you know you will achieve easily, such as I hope to earn my Professional level of coaching in International Coach Federation. Together, they make-up your New Year Vision Statement.
Vision Statements clear the air and make it clear what you wish for by the end of the year. A fresh slate, if you will, so, yes, goals or objectives need to be SMART, as they say, specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and timely. Well, I agree with this premise for new year’s resolutions but if I focus on exercising for 3 times a week for at least 20 minutes, the first few times that I do not make this goal, I slowly acquiesced in my mind and my new years resolutions eroded, as they have every year.
Focusing on the big picture of a year, my emotionally intelligent mind will know what I have to do and allow the inevitable ups and downs and highs and lows, unforeseen happenings, positives and negatives that are a welcome part of living. Yes, you can break down each part of your vision statement and so, if I want to weigh so many pounds by year-end, I will have to lose so many pounds each month. This makes it more real to me, but what I set and write down is a vision.
The next step in writing those resolution visions down is to talk about them, share with others and make them a reality. Yes, I would love that piece of chocolate, but to get to my _________ pounds at year’s end, I will pass on the chocolate this time. This way, you are working with a vision, you are sharing with others that you have a commitment and it becomes easier. You are telling the universe what your vision is and asking others to help you in your quest. It just reverses the logic, removes the guilt and shame, and tells others how they can help you. Simply note your resolutions on your computer calendar – 1,2,3 – on December 31, ____, as I have. Quoting from Jack Welch, “Create a vision, articulate it, own it, and let it drive your career (and life) choices.”
The magic of vision statements is your believing in them. My philosophy is to have a five-year vision statement, so this is also a good time to update or start one. When you are going through a career or life transition, vision statements become a priority. Why not have one ready when you are in a relaxed, comfortable state? Where do you want to be in 5 (or 10) years? Where will you be living? At the beach? What does it look like? Who are you with? What are you doing? Where are you? What have you achieved or are achieving? What three words do people think of when they hear your name? If you have any hesitation, ask yourself, if you won a huge lottery, what are your responses to the same questions? For a vision statement template, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a template. May you have a healthy, fun and prosperous new year and may all your visions come true.
I wrote this a few years ago and never published, so happy 2016. The ocean is still the same….so are the ups and downs, with more ups. I have a beautiful grandson. My Mom is passed, but we were able to keep our promise to her - to return and live in her home. Sometimes it is fun just to breathe and to use your energy to help others reach their vision.