2020 began with a bang; a fresh decade and what many were calling a Year of Vision. People made grand resolutions for the year, and then life happened.
In January, I challenged you with a big question, and now in the one of the bleakest seasons the world has faced in recent history, I feel it is timely to reiterate it. How are you planning on bringing your Vision and New Year’s resolutions into existence?
Regardless of the cards the world has been dealt, I am still convinced 2020 is my best year yet. The challenge to hold on to your big dreams long after the initial inspiration of the moment has left and never settle for anything less is no small task, after all. For when you have a big vision for life, a vehicle to get you there and a map with a navigator to direct you to your destination, do you give up when the going gets tough?
We set some very ambitious goals at the beginning of this year. Darren Hardy, who wrote the best seller, The Compound Effect, calls them Big Hairy Audacious Goals.
You can probably relate…almost everyone has set themselves a big goal at some point in their life. What most people are never taught, however, is what to do with their goals once they’ve been set. It’s easy to become so overwhelmed that it becomes a challenge to know where to even start. People often fall into the trap of trying to achieve a huge amount of immediate progress and become dejected (and ultimately quit) when they don’t see quick results. Sound familiar? This “all-in” enthusiasm creates inconsistency and puts an extreme strain on someone who does not yet have the capacity to achieve these big goals. So what should you be doing?
Instead of cranking your action into top gear, the next step is to break the goal down into bite sized chunks (SBAG’s – Stretch But Achievable Goals) and create a game plan to achieve these. The key is to focus on daily growth and progress by applying the principle of compounded effort; working toward 1% progress every day.
For Phil and I, the end of June marked one year since embarking on a complete change in trajectory. We had to admit that the results we had created in life were directly correlated to what we knew and the choices we had made to date. To change those results and increase the chances of our success we realised what we were missing in life was the guidance of someone who had already achieved the same results we were seeking. We needed to find someone who was willing to help us to raise our game to the next level and keep us accountable in order to stay on track toward our goals.
While leveraging the power of positive association on my personal growth journey over the past 12 months, I realised that, just by developing a small daily habit to prioritise myself so that I can add greater value to others, I had read 25 personal growth books. As I reviewed this list, I was struck by the sheer quantity of success principles I had learnt, applied and grown through. By getting comfortable with constant change; through both large substantial shifts as well as small, seemingly insignificant pivots in my life, I have grown as a spouse, parent, Ieader and friend. My self image, confidence, emotional resilience, consistency of character and habits, communication skills, leadership skills, spiritual growth and understanding of myself and what I want out of life have grown exponentially.
As Abraham Lincoln said,
“I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.”
This might sound harsh, but I have come to recognise that without forward motion or action you automatically go backwards. As James Clear points out in his book, Atomic Habits:
“…if you can get 1 percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done. Conversely, if you get 1 percent worse each day for one year, you’ll decline nearly down to zero. What starts as a small win or a minor setback accumulates into something much more.”
Could the answer to moving your life forward really be that easy? In a podcast I listened to recently I was struck by the wisdom of these words:
“People are often anxious to improve their circumstances but they aren’t anxious to improve themselves, so they remain bound.”
Growth and development are not automatic but this is also where the good news lies. You are in control of this through your daily habits. Essentially, things in your life will get better when you get better.
John Maxwell’s Law of Intentionality states that growth does not automatically happen. If you want to grow, you have to grow on purpose. On a similar vane, success doesn’t just happen either. You can tell you are on the right path because it’s uphill the entire way. So instead of waiting for opportunities to present themselves before beginning to prepare for them, why not start intentionally preparing for tomorrow by developing yourself today. Success after all is said to be where preparedness and opportunity meet.
So how do we add wisdom to ensure we are prepared for tomorrow’s opportunities? Simply through what we learn and apply; not just through our own or others’ life experience, but by what we feed our mind. As Gandhi so eloquently put it:
Our dominating thoughts are created by what we feed our mind with. My mind food over the past year has changed and grown my mindset and how I live my life to the degree that I feel the need to reintroduce myself, because I am a markedly different person to who I was just one year ago. So…
“Hi, its lovely to meet you. My name is Fei Hsia Cahill and I invest time into growing myself every single day. I am still under construction but my growth game is strong.”
In no way do I believe that I am a finished product, however, now that I associate with people who are investing into me and I know I can lead myself, my confidence as a leader has grown.
So if you are looking to chase a new level in life and improve your circumstances, what are you doing to develop yourself? What is your personal growth plan? I challenge you to revisit your New Years’ resolutions and refuse to give up on your Vision and goals. Carefully consider what you read, listen to, watch, and who you associate with.
I will leave you with this snippet of wisdom from Dr. Seuss: