by Nick Bridwell (Customer Service)
I’ve been thinking about ways to improve my New Year and to make 2016 one for the records. I came up with a few rules for myself. I thought I might share them with you guys, because I like you and you are awesome. Here they are:
- Don’t Dream, Do. – “Do or do not, there is no try.” – Yoda
Allow me to explain the difference between a Dream and a Vision.
A man walks out on his back porch and stares at the fence lining the perimeter of his backyard. He comes to the realization that a good 3/4ths of the fence is painted a nice eggshell. It’s exactly how he wants it. He’s elated at the very thought of his beautifully painted fence. But, then he looks around and notices that the other 1/4th of the fence is not looking too good. There are holes in the fence, rotted boards, and the paint has withered away. To top it off, his neighbor replaced some of the boards and they just don’t fit. There are two ways to handle this situation:
The Dreamer thinks, “Wouldn’t it just be so amazing if that fence was perfect the entire way around? Wouldn’t it be nice if every board was that eggshell color and perfectly similar and strong?” And then he goes back inside and waits for the fence to repair itself. He might even pray about it.
The Visionary goes out, speaks to professionals, procures the right tools, the right lumber, gets opinions on exactly how to repair the fence in the best way possible. If he needs help, he’ll turn to a neighbor. And then he does it. And the fence is repaired. For the time being, it’s looking pretty good. And he didn’t even have to pick up the check. You see, God already signed the check in the Blood of Christ and on the Memo line, he wrote “Free Will”. When we pray for outcomes to goals, we have to also pray for the will to complete our goals. Many a good idea has been lost due to “wishful thinking”.
If there is something you want to accomplish, set clear goals and milestones so that your dreams can turn into a vision, and that vision can turn into a reality. Reality is cool if you build your own reality!
- Solve the mystery behind the mystery.
New Years is a time when a lot of promises are made about big life changes. We’ve already talked about how to tell the difference in a dream and a vision. Now, let’s talk about getting to the bottom of the mystery of your resolution.
What is your goal? I’ll take a pretty common one (and one I should probably get to work on soon): weight loss. Let’s say you want to cut 25 lbs. With the proper vision, you can make this happen. BUT, without solving the mystery behind the mystery, you may soon find you are right back where you started. You see, losing weight has nothing to do with cutting down on some fat for the time being. It should be all about altering your lifestyle so that the weight will never come back again. So, then, the mystery is really not “How do I lose the weight?”, but “How can I become more healthy on a longterm basis?”. Solve the mystery behind the mystery and you’ll be well on your way to a healthy change.
You can apply this to a lot of other resolutions. Need to save money? Don’t think about just that first $1,000 emergency fund, think about ways to improve your income so that you are being paid what you deserve and aren’t so strapped for cash. Need to spend more time socializing? That might mean it’s time to talk to your spouse about taking the kids for a night so you can go out with the ladies/guys. There’s always a reason behind a problems. Once you find that reason it’s a lot easier to deal with.
- Have the right bag of tricks.
My dad always taught me that you can’t do a job right without the proper tools. Later, when I got married, I heard my father-in-law tell my wife the exact same thing. Both of them are wise men (most of the time…I could tell you some stories).
It’s super important that you have the tools to accomplish your goals. If you want to run a marathon, you’ll need shoes and a running path to practice on. Don’t even start getting down to the nitty gritty until you have at least the basic level of items to solve your problems. Of course, don’t let this be an excuse either. You can start recording an album by working on some lyrics while you gather up that cash for the guitar. BUT, eventually, you’re going to need that guitar.
This also goes for creating a consistent workspace or workflow. If, like this here humble blogger, you are a writer, I’ve always found it crucial to have a place to write that is comfortable and has all of the tools handy for my craft. If you’re an artist, you need to probably have a studio, but you can also just create a go-to-bag for painting outdoors, etc.
This is a pretty easy concept. If you want to get healthy, buy veggies and a steamer. If you want to be a Jedi next year, then go out, find yourself the necessary components to construct a lightsaber, and make that happen, friend!
- Know your enemy (even if it’s just a cheeseburger or a needy neighbor).
Once you have created clear goals and milestones for the changes you want to see in your life, and you have identified the mystery of why you want these changes, and you have gathered the appropriate tools to facilitate those changes, then the only thing left to do is to act! As anyone who has ever tried to swim the English Channel, scale Everest, write a Pulitzer winning Novel, etc. etc., will tell you, there are always obstacles. Key in accomplishing your New Year’s resolution is identifying enemies and obstacles.
Let’s say you want to write a novel. I’ve done this so I have a little insight here. Writing is an enormous effort and more often than not the enemy is time. If you are serious about completing a big project, then make the time and be consistent. This will mean less time for entertainment (sorry Netflix!), getting up earlier in the morning (because most highly accomplished people only get about 4-6 hours of sleep per night anyway), and creating boundaries for the people in your life that matter. My wife knows that if I’m in writing mode, that’s not the time to come to me with the news about Cousin A’s recent date with Y or Uncle Q’s dinner plans for January the whatevereth. I also know not to take on a lot of other distracting projects outside of whatever I’m working on. If you want to create or accomplish something serious, you must take your work seriously and demand that it be taken seriously by others. That being said, try to have a little fun.
These are just a few simple ways that I plan to make my goals for 2016 a reality. I hope they help you!
Happy New Year,