I always find the new year to be an exciting time. New possibilities, new potential, new perspecitves. All because we put up a new wall calendar. It’s also the one time of the year where we open up and discuss how we want to improve ourselves and grow.
Whether you set New Year’s resolutions, set a goal, or create a plan for the year, it’s important to be clear on what you’re setting out to do. Beginning with the end in mind is critical for making the correct decisions along the way, knowing when you’ve achieved the goal, and finding the motivation to keep going when things get tough.
You know what decisions to make along the way. Lewis Carroll captured this brilliantly in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
When you have the end in mind, you have some guidance for the choices you make. The end you have in mind could be to buy a new car, lose 25 pounds, or be a more loving person. Any of these can help you make specific decisions day-to-day.
- Inspiration when the going gets tough. It’s exciting to set goals. You spend all this time imagining the possibilities, visualizing the future life you want to live, and coming up with a plan to make it happen. Then a coworker brings in baked goodies. The car breaks down. You’re up all night with a sick daughter. By keeping the end in mind, you help cheer yourself on. You have something worth sacrificing for. The stronger a connection you can create, the more strength you can draw on to keep going and stick with it.
Knowing when you’ve achieved a goal. And when you haven’t. The next two lines of Alice’s conversation with the Cheshire Cat:
“—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
When I graduated from college, I was four credit-hours away from an appointment with the Registrar to prove that I really was making progress towards graduation and not settling in to become a professional student. Without an end in mind (graduation), it’s easy to get into the routine (taking classes) and lose your focus. Know where you’re going and celebrate when you get there.
- Aligning your subconscious to work towards a goal. The stronger a vision you can create of the end, the more your subconscious will accept that vision. Instead of a vague notion of something you’d like to do, it becomes a specific element of who you’re supposed to be. Your subconscious will start to nudge you in the right direction without any extra effort on your part. It’s like momentum is working in your favor.
When you begin with the end in mind, you will naturally focus more on why you’re doing it instead of just what you’re doing. Knowing why brings strength and resolve. It also helps make sure you’re working on the right what.
Think about the goals you’re working towards. Do you know why you have that goal? What will your life be like when you’ve achieved it? How will you be different?
If you haven’t already, write down your goal. Pin photos to a board on Pinterest. Draw a picture. Write a letter to (or from) your future self. Create an emotional attachment to the goal.
Life’s a journey, but the destination gives it purpose.