On the first day of 2012 I took a moment to breathe. I sat by the river near my house and stared at the blue sky for almost two hours. I watched as people ran or walked past me on the path each one saying, "Happy New Year. I'm starting my New Year's Resolution." I thought about resolutions and the beginning of a new year and how many people start off with good intentions and by the beginning of February they've lost motivation. Dictionary.com defines resolution as - a resolve or determination: to make a firm plan to do something. The problem with many people's resolutions is that they decide on a goal, put together a plan but never look at their starting point.
Let's say you decide that for the year 2012 your going to pursue your dreams. You make a list of what you want to accomplish and say, "I'm going to go after this with everything I have and I won't quit." You place the list somewhere you can see it and you keep it in the forefront of your mind. Then you go about your life in the usual way and months go by. Suddenly it's June and your dreams aren't any closer.
But the question is how have you changed the way you live in order for your dreams to come to fruition? In order to change your life you have to know where your starting.
I'll use the example of what I'm going after right now - my second biggest dream: to do a round the world trip.
1. First I must take a solid look at where I am financially and what it will take in order for me to make this dream come true. It's a hard thing to look at because I know the financial means I will need in order to go after this dream. It's easy to say that I'm going to do it, but when I look at what feels like the insurmountable cost the dream seems too far away. If I don't sit down and look at my starting point and then figure out my ending point I'll never get there.
So the question for you - where are you financially right now in life? Do you have enough money to pursue your dreams? What will you need in order to go after what you desire? How much debt do you have? What is your plan to get where you need to go?
2. The second thing I must look at is where I am physically. What kind of shape do I need to be in to make this trip? I know from previous travel that my body will be exposed to overnight flights, jet lag, viruses I've never encountered, fatigue from overdoing it, and lovely food and water-borne bacteria that like to cause havoc in the digestive system. If I'm not prepared with a strong body and immune system my trip isn't going to be all that much fun.
Where are you physically in life? Do you have the energy to go after your dreams or are you sitting on a couch at the end of the day exhausted without any motivation? Are you injured or incapacitated in a way that will stop you from pursuing what you want? How will you overcome these challenges?
3. The third starting point is my emotional well-being. I need to focus in the next four months more than I ever have. I will be rewriting my book, competing, and building a business. To achieve my goals I can't allow petty nuisances and drama to get in my way and take up my energy. I have to look at the energy leaks in my life and get rid of them.
Where are you emotionally in life? Are you in a bad relationship that takes up all of your energy? Are you spending most of your day complaining? Do you like who you are? Do you enjoy the people around you? Are you a person who's great at talking about doing things but not actually good at activating the plan?
4. Lastly I need to look at what could get in my way. Will I allow fear to paralyze me? Will I spend too much time distracting myself with things that won't matter because they're easier? I know that I can get down on myself when I don't know what the next step is supposed to be. I also know that I tend to overdo it on a regular basis and then crash hard because I don't take the downtime in order to rest.
What are the habits in your life that could get in your way? Do you stay up all night on the internet or watching television so that you're too exhausted to even think about your goals? Do you drink too much, overeat, or do things that are bad for your emotional and physical well-being? Do you spend too much time on Facebook?
People don't like to look at these questions. They like to see the end goal and focus ahead on the pretty picture and ignore the present. But it's been proven that by looking at your starting point you'll have a much better chance at success. As humans with egos we don't always like to look at reality. It's easier to live in denial about the things that make us uncomfortable thinking that if we don't face something then it can't be true. But the truth has a way of sneaking up on us and smacking us in the face when we begin to go after our goals. Decide that you're going to get healthy and let nothing get in your way and it's almost definite that the stress that has sent you in the past to overeating and sitting on a couch will rear it's ugly head. Choose to no longer drink alcohol and you'll almost always be invited out where your resolve will be dissolved.
When you look at the truth and sit with it, when you surrender to the fact that you need a plan that is bigger than you have been in the past - this is when true change takes place.