People seem to either love or hate new year’s resolutions. For so many people in my business and personal circles, 2015 was a year of transition and challenges. Sometimes it felt like we were all just trying to get by. I think for that very reason alone, I noticed in myself and others, that the planning process for 2016 was intense. I know I was more determined than ever to come up with a plan to make 2016 a different kind of year. There was something inside of me that had me feeling desperate for change coming out of 2015, and optimistically hopeful heading into 2016. I knew that I needed a planning tool that was going to keep me excited and focused on the goals that I wanted to accomplish. But what was that tool?
The Year of No Resolutions
On December 31, 2014, I was sitting in my room, while my son, Caleb, went to church with my mother and grandmother, looking for a big black hole to hide in for 2015. It was bad. I was dealing with a bunch of emotional junk in the moment that had my thoughts stuck in a pattern of negativity. There was nothing inside of me that wanted to think about the future, resolutions or anything else, because nothing but fear, anxiety and uncertainty were filling my head. At about 10:00 p.m. I got a call from my mother, that Caleb wanted his mom. It was in that moment I had my first realization about planning for my future, I had to continue pushing toward a better future, regardless of how I felt. My son depended on me getting myself together, but I had no idea where to start.
One thing that has always helped me is journaling. So I busted out a fresh journal, and started capturing thoughts, feelings, and ideas for pages and pages and pages. I never quite created an actual list of resolutions for the new year, but I did define 4 areas of my life that I wanted to make progress in: my body (health and wellness), my baby (parenting), my business (CSD Marketing and All Frills Beauty) and my Bible (spiritual life). It was a great start. In the end of 2015, I was able to look back at where I was at the end of 2014 and notice significant progress in each of those 4 areas by the end of the year.
According to StatisticBrain.com, “people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.” 2016 was a year to step up my game… but I was still searching for the right tool!
What about a Dream/Vision Board?
A definite new year favorite for many, a dream or vision board is a visualization tool that is a great way to set goals. In fact, dream/vision boards are heavily encouraged by top leadership and personal development experts as an activity to do each new year. The idea behind the board is to build a visual representation of what you want in your future. Often times you’ll see people cut out headlines and images from magazines, and add them to a poster board, with the things that they hope to achieve in their dream life. According to Jack Canfield, known as “America’s #1 Success Coach and author of “Chicken Soup for Soul,” vision boards are so powerful since your mind responds strongly to the visual stimulation of the pictures and images that represent your goals. This actually strengthens and stimulates your emotions, and your emotions then create the vibrational energy that activates the Law of Attraction. Whether you believe in the Law of Attraction or not, I think you can agree that seeing something will often make things seem more relevant and real (talking about a cheeseburger never makes me as hungry as watching an In N Out commercial).
I saw a few people posting their dream/vision boards on their Facebook timelines this year. I’ve always been excited about seeing the finished product, but I knew that creating a vision/dream board would not be enough for me. In fact, thinking about creating a visual representation of my dreams had me concerned that I would just be creating a shrine to dreams unrealized. But I knew I had to do something.
What about a list of resolutions?
I love lists (not too apparent by this post, but that’s okay). Actually, I was reading an article from 2013 in Fast Company about the scientific reasons our brains love lists. So as I was thinking about creating a traditional list of resolutions that I could just cross off as I accomplished them. It seemed like a good idea for about 2.2 seconds, but I’m trying to set myself up for success and I know how my mind works. I have some pretty big goals for 2016 and I know some of them will take me the entire year to accomplish. The visual of having a long list of action items not yet accomplished is just as bad as the “dream board shrine of unrealized dreams.” I need to stay away from the Goal Graveyard this year, and find a way to break through these barriers that seem to keep me back from the life that I really want. And that’s when my next realization about planning for the future hit… I needed to identify the root causes and internal reasons that this process was so hard.
Good Roots = Good Fruits
It will never matter how intelligent, attractive, or talented you are, if your internal conflicts keep you trapped. The planning system that would work for me, was the one that would set me up for success both internally and externally. I needed a tool that would allow me to visualize the future that I wanted, put actions to it, and nurture the qualities inside of me that will ultimately lead to my success. I identified these 3 areas to focus on in my internal life that I knew I needed to work on:
- Mental – Capturing negative thoughts about my abilities and plans
- Emotional – Letting go of fear and sadness that I was holding on to from past situations
- Spiritual – Connecting with God on a daily basis through prayer and reading the Bible
Game changed. The internal parts that make you the person you are, are equivalent to the roots of a tree. If your roots are strong and healthy, they will create a strong foundation. When circumstances or situations blow into your life like a storm, your mental, emotional and spiritual systems are what will keep you from failing. That has been the problem the past few years with my quest for the perfect plan. I kept skipping the part that makes the most impact in creating the life that I want. Once my roots are healthy and strong, I can work the land around the roots or create actions toward my goals. Then I can watch the fruit of my labors, those dreams I put on my dream board, come to life! Good roots equal good fruits.
So the big question now is… did I ever find that perfect planning tool? The answer is no. So I made one! I took the visualization of the vision board, combined it with the focus of the action plan, and found clarity by identifying my internal barriers to success. It’s called the New Vision for the New Year – Vision Tree, and it includes a 9-page eBook that explains how to get the most out of the tool. I’ve already gotten great feedback, that its providing so much clarity and focus for people. It makes me happy to hear that so many other people are feeling focused in a new way for the new year. You can download your FREE copy of the Vision Tree at www.csd-marketing.com.
What are some of the things in your root system that you’ll be focusing on this year?