We’ve all made resolutions and we’ve all seen them fade away before the end of January. If you want to make change for 2017, but feel uninspired at how to make it happen, I’ve got the answer. If you want a resolution to stick, you have to choose it not from today. Instead of setting resolutions this New Years Eve in anticipation of 2017, imagine you are actually ringing in 2018. Imagine it is one year from today and you are looking back at 2017. What do you see?
In the exercise below don’t over think your answers. Have some fun, don’t be too serious and blurt. You want to blurt out those things that when they pop into your mind, leave you feeling satisfied. Grateful. Fulfilled. The things you’d love to say about a year gone by. Not things that are ‘should’s’ or written by your inner critic who never liked you and thinks you will never measure up. Ready to give it a try?
The Questions: Your best 2017 is in these answers.
Grab a pen and paper, and jot down your first instinctive answers to these questions. Remember, you are imagining that it is New Years Eve 2017. It’s a year from today. When you look back, you realize you’ve had an amazing year. So many highlights. You have that feeling of satisfaction. An old friend calls and wishes you Happy New Year. Then they ask you: How did 2017 turn out for you? They ask these specific questions- blurt out your answers, and trust your instincts.
- What finally happened this year that made it great year?
- What are you over joyed to have gotten rid of?
- What was the most fun thing you did? You’ve been afraid maybe to try it, but you stretched out of your comfort zone and you loved it.
- What did you finely let go of? maybe it is an old story that you are ready to stop telling, or a person, or a job, or a role you play in life.
Notice: What’s key to this exercise is that it places you at the end of the year. You’ve already lived it. You aren’t trying to figure out how it happened, you are just naming what matters to you.
Once you have these questions answered then you can think about-How? How did these things come to be? What steps did you take? You can even get out your calendar at this point and consider what happens in each month in 2017to make your vision a reality. When I did this a few days ago, it actually felt like writing next year’s Christmas letter, where you share the year you had with friends. It made if really easy for me to write, so you might try that version of this exercise too.
The big thing to notice is the feeling. Our resolutions shouldn’t feel like burdens or unreachable goals. They should inspire us and speak to our vision of a life well lived.
Why not use this chance to figure out your Life’s Purpose?
People shrink back when I mention life’s purpose. But believe me, it’s better to consciously be living it rather than pretend that you’ll get around to it when you have your life in the proper place. My experience on this planet is that there is a lot of random chaos and you are best advised to live the moment in front of you. The future isn’t here. The past isn’t here. Do the now you have.
This works best as a visualization, so do it when you have some time to just close your eyes and imagine.
The scene: It’s your 80th Birthday Party ( or 90th if that works better for your age) You are sitting on a porch that is fully decorated for your party. Many people are coming to celebrate with you. These are people from all different parts of your life-work, family, friends. See the cars pulling up. Who get’s out? who is coming? Who are you surprised to see? Excited to see?
Welcome them to your party. As they all settle down and get their drinks, the speeches begin. Picture three people who get up to speak. Each one, in turn, talks about how much they love you, how you impacted their lives and why they are grateful that you were in their lives. What do they say? Listen carefully to them.
Reflect on what you heard in the imagined scene. You might make some notes of things that stood out. What did they value about you? When you heard those speeches, what you heard was your life’s purpose. They talked about why you are here on the planet and how you impacted them. Did they point to your life of service? your kindness? did you inspire? nurture? made people laugh?
What you heard them say is your life’s purpose.
Identify three ways to consciously live what you heard in those speeches. If people spoke about you making them smile,
notice where you already do that and look for more opportunities. Maybe even celebrate that.
A life well lived with few or no regrets is this simple. The small interactions we have daily are key. 2017 can’t help but be a fulfilling and satisfying year if you think about what you found in these two exercises.
You can hear me talking to Sheryl MacKay about this on the December 31st broadcast of NXNW. If you missed it live, catch me on the podcast here
Best Wishes for a happy, healthy and fulfilling 2017!