Here we are again: Whether it’s to lose a few pounds or find eternal love; the first few days of a new year inspire the hope that maybe this year will be different. But which vehicle will you choose to get there: a resolution, goal or vision?
Resolutions – Often A Source of Failure
It seems that resolutions, whether spoken out loud or sent off burning in a balloon, rarely ever work. As a matter of fact, Statistic Brain Research Institute published a study at the beginning of last year, in which only close to 9 percent of participants actually felt they were successful with their resolutions. This stood in stark contrast to 42 percent of participants who had failed completely.
This is likely because resolutions are typically reductive or diminishing. We are going to stop smoking, drinking, eating, fighting, flirting and so on – sort of like making year-long Lenten sacrifices. And while the intention of bettering ourselves – through the denial of something we don’t think we should be doing – may be heroic, managing to our past shortcomings doesn’t enlighten the path to a full and enriching life.
Goals, compared to resolutions, seem to provide more success. Zig Ziglar takes it a step further when he tells us, “A goal properly set, is halfway reached.” It turns out that there is nothing like a plan – the more detailed the better – for getting us to where we want to go.
For many of us, our first exposure to structured goal setting came through a class offered at work. We learned, among other things, that our goals needed to support the overall company plan. They also needed to be achievable with some stretching, and the steps needed for achievement had to be measurable.
Breaking Goals Into Steps Can Afford Success
For example, as a young sales rep, my husband was told that the historical data indicated that it was going to take at least 100 cold calls a week to book the 5 appointments he needed each week to hit his monthly quota. Using this information, his business and work goals were easily set and stretched to make the 120 cold calls each week he needed to grow his sales.
For many of us, this kind of goal setting works amazingly well and our goal list often includes educational initiatives, workout programs, dietary regimens, or weekly date nights. While we may not achieve every goal each year, we feel empowered by our success rate so that we continue the annual process of writing them down, making sure they are achievable, and the steps are measurable. Many of us continue to hit where we aim.
Vision Boards – Relaxing Into Support
We set a vision in response to a yearning we carry deep inside of us. This yearning usually defies logic and often seems unachievable. We generally feel that we don’t have enough education, money or time to achieve it. Yet the yearning persists.
When we create a vision, we acknowledge that we are not alone in creating our outcome. We know that it takes more than our limited capacity to get there. It takes faith in an outer power greater than us. Many refer to this power as energy, the Divine, God or the Universe. Creating a vision board, however, is far from a religious activity, but simply allows us to relax into the knowledge that we don’t have to achieve everything by ourselves. It gives us the courage to pursue our dreams that seem unobtainable.
So let’s say you’ve always wanted to go to China with your entire family. However, you’re the sole income earner in the family, your eldest child is in college, and however you make the numbers work, there is no extra money to take the family to China. So one of the items you place on your vision board is a picture of a family walking along the Great Wall, with a big smile on everyone’s face. You have no idea how you will get there, but you are willing to trust that somehow you will.
After completing your vision board, you now spend a few minutes daily experiencing what it feels like to be in China with your family. You feel the joy that rushes through you as you walk on the Great Wall. You imagine the smells you might smell and sounds you might hear. After this short meditation, you continue on with your daily routine.
This tuning into the feeling of your vision on a daily basis allows you to open yourself up to bring this vision into your life. Most often, it doesn’t happen in the way you might expect. It’s rare that you hit the lottery. It often manifests in a more surprising way: your company has opened a new location in China and would like you to go train the new employees (and is willing to fly your entire family) or your relatives offers you a week in a time-share in China, because they cannot attend a trip they had already booked. Watching the unfolding is what is the most fun and realizing how little effort it took for you to attract this vision!
So now, while ‘tis the season, let go of those resolutions that always seem to be a source of failure. Enhance the power of establishing goals with a vision board that exceeds what seems realistic. Then stand back and see for yourself the benefits of creating a vision and the power of the Universe in helping you make your vision your reality.
To download your free guide to creating a vision board, click the image: