Impossible dreams and New Year’s resolutions.
This week is one of the most important weeks of the year. In the space of a few days, last year will be but a memory and the New Year is a brand new collection of days filled with possibilities.
While we cherish the past, anticipation, and hope, is yet ahead.
And what that hope, that anticipation looks like is different for everyone. It’s a conceived future that looks completely different for everyone. Independent of circumstances, we can craft and hope for a better tomorrow.
This is that week where dreams and hopes get to live on paper. This is that week where plans can be laid and future plans defined.
This week, we get to dream, and plan, and hope.
But remember… the difference between a dream and a goal… is a plan.
Do you write New Year’s Resolutions?
I am enough of a dreamer that I do write them, every year. For as long as I can remember. It was like a gift to myself, every New Year’s Eve. A long, handwritten list of hopes and dreams and plans that I would seal, hide in a book or drawer, and retrieve on the upcoming New Year’s Eve. Provided I could remember where I stashed them.
It was a game of sorts. To see which resolutions I kept, if any, and if any of my dreams came true that year.
Not a very tactical or successful approach to truly accomplishing goals.
The Big “One”
I read a book this year entitled, “The ONE Thing,” by Gary Keller. A fascinating read about creating successful lives, and how to go about it. About time management and process and yes, to-do lists.
In it, Keller says, “It is not that we have too little time to do all the things we need to do, it is that we feel the need to do too many things in the time we have.”
And in regard to those ever-popular, ever-present to-do lists? He writes,
Long hours spent checking off a to-do list and ending the day with a full trash can and a clean desk are not virtuous and have nothing to do with success. Instead of a to-do list, you need a success list—a list that is purposefully created around extraordinary results.
To-do lists tend to be long; success lists are short. One pulls you in all directions; the other aims you in a specific direction. One is a disorganized directory and the other is an organized directive. If a list isn’t built around success, then that’s not where it takes you. If your to-do list contains everything, then it’s probably taking you everywhere but where you really want to go.
Perhaps our traditional list of New Year’s resolutions is nothing more than a glorified “to-do list.” A list of our most important dreams and plans and hopes for the new year that will result is nothing more than a detour. A side street that meanders through life, accomplishing little, depressing our ability to dream and accomplish and achieve.
New Year’s Resolutions To-Do List
This year, I’m not writing a New Year’s Resolutions To-Do List. I’m not playing a game with my hopes and dreams. I’m not tucking them in an out of the way drawer, hoping I can find them next New Year’s Eve.
I’m making ONE New Year’s Resolution.
But it’s a big one. Perhaps THE big one.
A life-changing, soul-igniting goal for the upcoming year.
It doesn’t mean I’m not going to work on tasks and side goals, but my focus, my attention will be on ONE thing.
What Would Your One Look Like?
If you were to make only one New Year’s resolution this year, what would your “ONE” look like?
Perhaps your aspirations run to saving money, losing weight, learning something new. Perhaps you want to spend less, eat healthier, take a vacation, or acquire something you’ve always wanted.
All worthy and important goals.
But is that goal big enough to be the ONE? That thing you want enough to keep you awake at night dreaming about? That impossible idea that energizes you from the inside out?
How Big is Your Dream?
Is your dream or goal big enough to change your life? Your new year? Someone else’s new year?
If you’ve dreamed of starting a business, buying a new house, changing careers, beginning a family, funding or creating a charitable project or endeavor… you know what your dreams are… this is THE year to begin making dreams come true.
Some call these one big goals, “stretch goals.” Bestselling author Charles Duhigg in his book, Smarter, Faster, Better, writes, “The problem with many to do lists is that when we write down nothing but a series of short-term objectives we are only working to satisfy the immediate need for closure.”
Duhigg believes that without one big goal, people tend to focus and work tirelessly on unimportant tasks simply for the gratification of checking them off a to-do list.
Fox News wrote in a recent article, “When you say these things, [make excuses for why you can’t do something] you are acting like a con artist. And you are the primary victim of your con. Mostly out of fear, we construct imaginary limitations around ourselves. We use these self-imposed limits to keep us from getting ahead – like an invisible wall blocking our progress. This invisible wall keeps us from opening that new business, registering for that class, saying yes to that person who wants to date us, hire us, marry us or whatever.”
In the words of former President Ronald Reagan, “Tear down that wall!”
Rabbi Naftali Bier – co-founder of the Kollel of Greater Boston, a Jewish educational institution – says that God created every human being for a purpose. If we aren’t living our purpose, we suffer and the world suffers.
“It’s time to stop playing small. It’s time to stop hiding behind our age, gender, race, appearance or limitations – real or imaginary. Plenty of people of all types have succeeded, once they overcame their internal defeatism.”
James Allen, author of As a Man Thinketh wrote: “Belief always precedes action.”
Writing for Psychology Today, Steve Sisgold says, “Since your beliefs determine not only if but how you take action, positive beliefs are more likely to foster actions and attitudes that attract positive outcomes. Likewise, negative beliefs are likely to foster attitudes and actions—or inaction, as the case may be—that run contrary to your desires or stated goals.”
An Impossible Dream
Is your dream impossible?
Nothing is impossible.
Can it fail?
Yes, it can.
Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is only the courage to continue that matters.”
If you’re a person of faith, I would tell you that nothing is impossible with God, the author and creator of all things. Including your dreams and desires.
And there is nothing “limiting” or impossible with Him.
So dream big, reach high, accomplish great things.
It’s simple. Incredibly so.
This week, or this month, take some quiet moments for self-reflection. I don’t do this as often as I should, but it’s incredibly important. Take a blank piece of paper and for 10 minutes, write down every dream, idea or goal you can think of. Don’t self-edit, don’t question… just write.
Completely empty your thoughts to paper.
Once finished, peruse your list and narrow it down to three. Write those three on a new piece of paper to save for future reference.
Of the three top goals on your list, carefully consider which one excites and motivates you the most. Don’t let it be a hard decision. You’ll know which ONE is compelling enough to change the way you do things. So big you will willingly reduce meaningless to-do lists so you can focus on that ONE life-changing, maybe impossible dream.
As January rolls around, research, dream some more, and implement your plan.
This is my blueprint for the upcoming year!
I hope you join me!
You can read more 31Daily Inspiring Life posts HERE.