It's the happy new year day and, I'm not gonna lie, I LOVE THE VIBE. The first day of the year has a distinct, awesome feel. It's rolling in possibilities. It's soaked in optimism. It's unencumbered by past failures. It's forward facing and promising. And people are wishing each other happiness. I mean, WHAT'S NOT TO LOVE about the first day of the year?
And yet, I know some of you smart people may want to object to this kind of new year's naiveté. I mean, after all, it's just another day. Still has those 24 hours. The sun still rises and sets like all the other days. There's nothing to see here. Move along.
While this may be a compelling argument, there is a difference. This difference is, in a word: perspective. Somehow, we've conspired to organize time into these (perhaps arbitrary) units of 365 (or 366) days. And when you're at the start of a unit (perspective), it feels good, expansive, hopeful. Yes, it's a mind game. But mind games matter.
And as I've been partying with the possibility vibe, I've been thinking about goals. Today, my Instagram feed reflects basically two sides of the goal coin.
There is pretty post after post after post about resolutions and goals. People are posting their word for the year. Or their theme. Everyone and their cousin are offering courses on goal-setting. There are more planners than you could shake a stick at. And some planners have stickers. (Again, what's not to love?)
Then, there are those few posts that disparage the futility of resolutions and declare goals are dead (or something akin).
Perhaps trying to distinguish themselves amongst the crowd of new year's goal-getters, there are those who strike a maverick, rebellious tone. One person posted that they are not a Resolution Person. They are more of a Choices Person. Whatever it takes . . . 🥳🤗Some posts use sad statistics about the likelihood you will not fulfill your new year's resolutions and goals as scare tactics - perhaps so more people join the ranks of the jaded.
This is why I love Instagram. Especially at the beginning of the year when we're all basically taking about the same thing (which again, tells me the beginning of the new year has some power. Just sayin')
So here are my two cents. Goals have become so commonplace in the modern lexicon that they almost seem passé. But the truth is, when you really think about it: goals are radical. Goals are the language of the hero, of the creator, of the maker. I would even say, of the maverick.
Goals are imagining - conjuring up - a new reality and then deliberately taking actions to make it happen. Goals are a sneaky, little way to disrupt the status quo. Goals = Change. You cannot pursue goals while clutching your current reality.
And here's where the story of goals gets super tricky. Goals are, by nature, a commitment to change. And so, they are inevitably met with resistance.
We are wired to secure our safety at every turn. Change is unknown, risky. There could be mistakes or failure involved. And so the prospect of change - however positively it is spun (such as a goal you want to achieve) - still makes some secret part of your psyche a little, well, uncomfortable, triggering a whole stealth army of defenses.
You get bored. Or sidetracked. Or doubtful. Or confused. Or distracted. Competing rationales arise out of nowhere. Business as usual takes over and you forget. Or you decide that goals are so 2018. This is the resistance at work. Goals are revolutionary. Goals change life (or work) as you know it - in ways small or large. And there are no guarantees.
So when thinking about goals, it's important to get smart to the resistance it will inevitably stir - either from others or, more insidiously, from yourself.
And this is why goals are the language of the hero. The hero must anticipate and meet the challenges of the journey. The hero is not daunted by resistance but fueled by it. Challenged by it.
Goals = Change. And this change is not only in creating a new measurable reality. The change is in you. To create something new - to achieve a goal - however material it may be - inevitably requires trading the security of autopilot with the demands of presence and responsbility.
And this may be the greatest feature of goals. While creating the change, the creator changes.
As you cook up your goals for 2019, consider how you will meet the resistance. What might the resistance look like? And what will you do when you come face to face with it? What will you change and how will you change?
Happy New Year!
PS If you would like to test out ways to make progress on your goals (and disarm the resistance), consider joining me and some other goal-getters in the online Power Start program that beings the week of January 14. You can get information here: https://productivity-power.teachable.com/p/power-start