Every New Years’ Day I complete the same ritual.
Around noon, I close the door to my bedroom or office, light a candle, and pull out the New Year journal I started when I was eleven.
Inside the journal are thirty-five-years-worth of resolutions, goals, and entries about my life and current events. After getting comfortable, I read a few select entries and then write one for the coming year. Each entry contains my new goals, a journal entry about the past year, a few notes about historical events, and a list of my gratitudes.
Before starting my 2020 entry, I read through the ones from 1996 – 2000—what I call my personal 2020 experience. In 1996, I was twenty-two and believed I had all the answers. I was so sure I could handle anything that I wrote “This is the year I win” on the top of my 1997 entry. By the end of 1997, I’d lost a friend, my brother, and my grandfather. My marriage nearly ended. My job was a total disaster. Oh, and I almost died too.
That was such a painful and humbling time in my life, and yet I can now see that it held so many gifts.
Writing about 2020 was just as humbling. Pain and problems were easy to spot. The first resolutions that came to mind sounded a lot like “Take this away,” “I don’t want any more of that,” and, “Make me a better….”
On January 3, I listened to a talk by Reverend Don Lansky on the topic of resolutions. He said that often our resolutions focus on our flaws and what we’d like to eliminate. We say things like “I want to lose ten pounds, or “stop procrastinating,” or “become a better writer.” The message behind each of these statements is that I am currently lacking something that will make me successful.
To actually have the lives we want, we need to affirm that we are already successful. For example, instead of saying you want to stop procrastinating, say “I use my time wisely.” Instead of wanting to be a better writer, claim that you are a writer who produces beautiful stories.
If you haven’t already done so, take a moment to write down your 2021 writing goals.
Be sure to write down both the big goals and the milestones along the way.
Don’t have any? Start with making some time to write.
What does success look like? Be specific.
Now, what does success feel like? Imagine this as vividly as possible.
Every day, upon waking up, I complete a meditation that helps me envision my success.
For my upcoming milestone, it looks like a message in my inbox from an agent asking to represent me. It feels like a smile that begins in my chest and radiates across my face. For my big goal, success looks like a book signing. At the signing, I feel the weight of my book in my hands as I prepare to greet the readers who have been touched by my story.
I rehearse this like an athlete rehearses for a big game.
Envisioning my success holds me accountable to my goals and encourages me to behave as if this has already happened. That means turning a keen eye to my manuscript, sticking with my writing schedule, and minimizing distractions. When I have doubts, it means affirming my potential.
I’ll be sharing an envisioning meditation with my upcoming coaching clients and students in Building Creative Intuition.
If we’re not working together, I have another way for you to practice this skill.
Close your eyes and imagine how you’ll feel once you’ve achieved your first 2021 milestone.
Next, get out a piece of paper and write a letter from your future self.
In this letter, you’re going to congratulate yourself for your success and specifically name the steps you took to make your goal a reality. You’ll also talk about how it feels to be successful. Imagine this as vividly as you can.
If this feels like total b.s. or just plain weird, try it anyway. What do you have to lose?
Now, you have two options.
Option one: Seal your letter in an envelope then put it somewhere safe. Pick a date when you will open the letter and set a reminder in your calendar.
Option two: Type your letter into futureme.org and schedule its delivery sometime in the future.
Then notice what happens.
If a project or an idea is calling to you, it has a higher purpose.
Be courageous enough to answer that call and diligent enough to make it happen.
I’m cheering you on.