cultivating a good life in 2016
Part of cultivating a good life is beginning with the end in mind.
Right. As in … the principle that author Stephen Covey has ingrained in so many of us. It’s one of my personal mantras. I think about it quite a bit. And if you ask my team, they’ll tell you I bring this up a lot in our conversations and meetings. You know why?
Okay, so it’s a brand new year. Goal setting and resolutions and “a new year: a new you!” is so much of what we’re hearing about, right? Naturally. And that’s great! Listen and absorb and allow yourself to be influenced by those you trust. There’s some great advice out there. Today I wanted to share my thoughts on all of this as we ring in 2016.
Over the past couple of weeks I found my thoughts occasionally dabbling in some ideas for 2016 personal goals. I wasn’t putting pen to paper but just letting my mind wander. I’ve never been one to think that there’s something magical about January 1st. But as a natural goal setter, why go against the grain? There’s so much talk about resolutions during this season and I love that so many people feel motivated and eager to improve… regardless of the date.
- Drop 20 pounds
- Get out of debt
- Buy a house
- Get my degree
- Start a business
- Start a family
- Declutter my entire house
Do any of these feel familiar? If you have written out some resolutions, take a look at that list. Feeling overwhelmed yet? Of course there are ways to make it feel less daunting. For example, focus on one goal at a time, like one per month. Or the tactic of breaking down each goal into smaller baby steps can help you to have success with those resolutions.
Here’s my challenge to you: When you have a moment to be completely still, I want you to focus on a much bigger picture than a lengthy list of goals. Envision the end of this year. Envision YOU at the end of this year. What do you want to FEEL in December 2016? Do you want to feel happier or healthier or lighter or less busy or more busy? Can you see yourself having a closer-knit family or more meaningful friendships or a job that you can’t wait to return to the next day?
This is the principle of beginning with the end in mind. Once you have a clear vision of what you deeply desire for yourself, that right there is exactly what you need to guide you in setting goals or resolutions. Your own clarity on what you want to FEEL at the end of this year is more valuable than any book you could read or advice you could see on social media.
Defining the “end result” (and really, we’re just talking about the end of this year for now) means that you now have the compass you need to keep you focused on what kind of goals to set. Having the big picture in your mind & in your heart means that you can steer yourself in a direction that will keep your smaller goals in line with whatever’s most important to you.
Are you envisioning a stronger marriage at the end of this year? Knowing this will lead you to specific goals that might include regular date nights and more patience and a stronger willingness to compromise on the little stuff, and perhaps even a getaway for the two of you this year.
Are you envisioning that feeling of not being so burdened all the time? Knowing this will lead you to specific goals that might include saying “no” to a few more things, letting go of that grudge you’ve been holding, decluttering your home, or unsubscribing to all that junk mail that clutters up your inbox each week. PS – It might be time to seriously declutter who you follow on social media. Be choosy. Unfollow. Only allow people / organizations into your personal space that will inspire you to be a better version of yourself, not make you feel “less than.”
Are you envisioning a happier home environment? Knowing this will lead you to specific goals that might include regular dedicated family nights, or a new rule that devices are not allowed at the dinner table, or being intentional about more “teaching moments” and one-on-one times with each child. Or perhaps you’ll be motivated to have your children learn more about the joy of serving others as you regularly discuss, plan, and carry out various acts of service as a family.
I can give a hundred examples, but I think you’re getting the point. Begin with the end in mind. Allow the bigger picture to guide you and keep you focused so that instead of having an unrealistic list of 30 goals that you’re going to tackle in 2016, you have a vision of the person you’ll be 12 months from now. If you’ve already written that list, now’s a good time to check it twice and cross off anything that’s not supportive of the bigger picture goal that you have in mind for yourself and your family.
This post marks the beginning of our third year doing this “Good Life” weekly series on the blog. I chime in once in a while, but honestly — you hear from me plenty (especially if you get our emails or follow my social media), so this weekly series is predominantly a space for other people, of various stages and walks of life, who each share one of the ways they cultivate a good life. We are delighted to carry on the tradition and look forward to sharing more inspiring thoughts each and every Sunday. I’m so glad you’re here and that you trust us to share ideas that will help you to cultivate a good life and record it.