If you’re anything like me you’ve been thinking a lot these past couple weeks, gearing up for the new year. As I get older, I start the self-reflection and personal inventory process earlier each year. When I was a college grad, I made my “new goals” list between Christmas and New Year’s. Last year it started the Friday before Thanksgiving!
Coming off the annual “Christmas cookie binge” season, the temptation is great to make those common and superficial resolutions, the kind that come to mind when we look in the mirror or step on the scale. The problem with superficial resolutions is they are usually discarded shortly after the ball drops on Times Square. They are fleeting and do not inspire.
So digging deeper, you can go to the web and late night TV’s legion of self-help gurus, who will promise you the keys to your very own kingdom. Most of these folks provide “techniques, tactics, systems, strategies and programs” designed to give you what you really want. However, when compared side by side, these offerings usually look a lot a like glossy versions of the traditional “wish list,” where you describe everything you desire and then, salivating at your designer life and career on paper, you are emboldened to charge forward in a narcissistic trance towards self-absorption!
This approach, though popular, doesn’t last either due to a scarce resource in our world: self-control. Even with a destination in mind, most of us can’t seem to steer our ships with consistency.
But that doesn’t mean we should abandon goal-setting. Goal-setting itself has been proven over and over again to work wonders. It gives us a target, harnesses our energy and (when the goal is made public) can hold us accountable.
What’s missing in these traditional goal-setting approaches is a “cause.” If we want to lose a few pounds, we may visualize a number on a scale. Big deal. What will seeing that number do for us? If we don’t identify the reasons behind the number, we’ll lose interest again like other years.
And we may delight in seeing our dreams written out, but just “having” more stuff like a certain house, car or job title is not enough to sustain most of us. Why? There are no reasons beyond the actual obtainment, no “cause.” Things do not address our real needs.
What we all really hunger for are convictions in our guts that we matter, we belong, we are needed and valued. We need purpose. We need quality, not quantity, and that means we need to revise our resolutions and goals.
“Do not walk through time without leaving worthy evidence of your passage.” ~St. John XXIII
It all starts with a simple shift in focus, from wanting to doing, from self to others. In short, what are your giving goals for this new year?
You already have the power to change the world, to matter beyond measure and create legacy! You just have to invest yourself into those around you.
When you give, you exercise your true power. When you give, you demonstrate real freedom.
It’s okay to shed some excess weight, if it will mean you being around longer for your family. You can charge after that promotion; just do it so you can create a better working environment at your company or relieve some lingering pressure on your loved ones.
Working towards leaving your “worthy evidence” is the quickest way to change the world and tap into the energy needed to accomplish your goals. It can also be the path to your best year ever!