Beginning the year with a strong start by embracing the art of vision crafting (by Nathalie Cordell)
Starting a new year is a natural time for reflection and renewal. This is why setting resolutions has almost become almost a cultural rite of passage. However, the key to lasting change lies beyond the initial impulse of new year’s resolutions. It’s found in the art of cultivating a clear vision of your future. In this article, I'll explore how to harness the transformative power of vision and translate it into tangible reality, and how to avoid the common pitfalls that conventional resolutions bring.
The Power of Vision: Imagining Your Ideal Future
Any meaningful change in life starts with a vision – a mental image of where you want to be in the future.
Crafting a Vision: Any meaningful change in life starts with a vision – a mental image of where you want to be in the future. Take a moment to close your eyes and picture yourself a year from now. How is your life different? How do you feel? Consider your relationships, achievements, and the experiences you've savored.
Reflection and Revision: Now ask yourself: ‘If this was my life now, would I feel fulfilled and happy?’ If so, brilliant – you’ve got yourself a vision! And if not, identify changes you would like to make and write them down. This exercise is not a one-off and it doesn’t have to be perfect. You can go back to it repeatedly, and keep evolving your vision.
Setting Specific Goals: Turning Vision into Action
Ask yourself, 'What small action can I take today that moves me a step closer to realizing my vision?
Identifying Core Goals: Once you've envisioned your future, it's time to break down that broad vision into specific, tangible goals. Start by focusing on the most important aspect of your vision. Ask yourself – ‘If I could only do one thing, which would it be?’ And be specific about what you want to achieve. For instance, if health is core to your vision, aim for a concrete goal like exercising regularly or eating more vegetables. Visualize yourself engaged in these activities, and the sensations they bring.
Small Steps, Big Impact: Then ask yourself: ‘What small action can I take today that moves me a step closer to realizing my vision?’ I love James Clear’s approach to this. In his book “Atomic Habits”,
he champions the impact of tiny, consistent steps. Something small enough that you can consistently do, regardless of circumstances – like a single push-up. Mine is to do 10 minutes of yoga a day. These small acts create ripples that over time build into waves of larger transformation. I’ve seen more impact with my 10 min of yoga a day that in doing 1h a week!
Igniting Momentum with Time-bound Goals
The Energizing Effect of Deadlines: Goals become more powerful when bound by time. Think about it – there’s energy we often feel at the beginning of a year that can be captured and channeled to drive changes we want to make. While calendar time is a man-made construct, deadlines serve as powerful motivators. They propel us forward, breaking through the inertia that may have held us back in the past.
Recognizing and Avoiding Goal Derailers
Personal Truth vs Imposed Goals: New Year’s resolutions often drive goals that may not align with our true desires. For instance, setting the goal of losing weight should be a personal choice, not to fit a beauty standard set by society’s expectations. Goals should spring from your own aspirations, not from others’ opinions or fleeting trends which rarely hold the power to motivate us in the long term.
Confronting the Perfectionism Trap: Perfectionism, the insidious voice that demands high standards and flawless progress, is also a common saboteur. We might set the goal to high and then slowly give up because we cannot maintain the perfect standard. By acknowledging that perfection is an illusion, we can set realistic goals that allow for personal growth, adjustment, and the inevitable ebb and flow of life's rhythms.
Building a Support System: Your Pillars of Strength
Whether it’s enlisting trusted family members, friends, or partnering with a personal coach—a solid support structure can be the difference between faltering and flourishing.
Anticipating Resistance: Expect to meet resistance along your journey. It's not a question of 'if' but 'when'. It may appear as self-doubt, distractions, or even fatigue. Recognizing these challenges for what they are is the first step—maintaining a support system to help you navigate them is the second.
Creating a Network of Support: No matter how much we want to change, the comfort of the status quo can lure us into the familiar embrace of complacency, making it challenging to stay on course. This is where a solid support structure becomes a game-changer. Whether it’s enlisting trusted family members, friends, or partnering with a personal coach—a solid support structure can be the difference between faltering and flourishing.
Harnessing the Power of Accountability: Many of us don’t like to let other people down. So the commitments we articulate to others often carry more weight than those we make to ourselves. This can be a powerful tool in your arsenal. Creating a group of people with a shared commitment to keep each other accountable is an essential component of success. The collective energy and power of accountability becomes a vital force in propelling you forward, and, keeping you on course toward your goals.
Summing it All Up
As we step into the fresh promise of 2024, I hope you take this invitation to live your life purposefully – by design rather than by default. It starts with an intention and a commitment, far beyond the traditional resolutions.
You CAN create meaningful and lasting change. Start by creating a vivid picture of your ideal future and set specific and actionable goals. Watch out for potential derailers. If in doubt, make your goals smaller, and leverage the power of deadlines and accountability.
Surround yourself with those who believe in your vision and are invested in your success. For example, the guidance and support offered by a professional coach can be crucial in helping you navigate challenges and stay focused on your goals.
Every great journey begins with a single step. Take that step today, and make this year one of personal achievement and meaningful change.