Goal setting, Chinese water torture, and a toast for 2020!

. . .  and that’s a take!

2019 is officially going to end in just a few days.  And with that drop of the ball in Times Square, not only does a new year begin, but a new decade.  Welcome to 2020! 

New Years naturally bring reflections.  We think back to all that went right and all the went wrong the past year, and if you are like most individuals, your ‘all that went wrong’ column is likely considerably longer than your ‘all that went right’ column.

The reason for that is simple actually.  As humans, we are programed to remember pain.  That was particularly important thousands of years ago as our forefathers discover important life lessons: like never using that three-leafed ivy plant with a thumb on each leaf as toilet paper again!  . . . Ouch! 

However, it can be hard to remember the good stuff.  It’s not that good doesn’t happen, it’s just that successes often leave less of a visceral feeling than pain. 

My youngest son, Josiah, recently graduated from Wichita State University.  He decided to ‘walk’ for his diploma, attending a graduation ceremony at Koch Arena.  The event was long.  It was boring.  We cheered for 15 seconds as he received his Bachelor’s degree and then spent the other three and a half hours daydreaming about climbing or hiking or the pleasures of experiencing Chinese Water Torture!  And of course, the argument was brought up, why waste a day for 15 seconds of applause from 3 people.   I told him that I thought it was a great choice.  We NEED to celebrate successes.  We NEED to remind ourselves of what we did well.  We NEED to be recognized for what we have done.

Because, the pain of the past is always going to be competing for our attention.  And unless we are intentional, it WILL win.  

That is also why I am a believer in taking time out to sit down and review the past year and write out goals for the new one.   Not only does that drown out some of the ‘what a crappy year’ noise that I keep hearing, but it also allows me to focus on what is important in the coming year. 

There has been a ton of research done on the effect of writing out goals.  Whether personal goals, relationship goals, business goals, fitness goals or others; most will tell you that having goals written down on paper exponentially increases the likely hood of seeing progress. 

Case-in-point: last year I listed 30, 90, 180, and 365 day goals for multiple areas in my life and career.  I had 41 bullet points.  I just reviewed those. 36 of the 41 goals I have accomplished, mostly in the time frame I listed.  And the craziest thing was, I seldom reviewed this list throughout the year.

I know the same is true for many of you.  Last year we asked you to write out a 110 goal, something you were committed to giving 110% to.  I have heard stories and after stories of many of these being accomplished.  

Writing out goals, I believe, speaks something to our deeper selves It does a type of re-set on our routines and the use of our energies.  The result is that we work toward those, even in our subconscious.  But unfortunately, failing to set goals has the same effect.  Our subconscious self simply says: “no goals this year, I guess we will just keep doing like we always do.”  

You can really do this anytime.  There’s nothing magical about 12 AM on Jan 1, 2020.  Yes, it is the start of a new year and even a new decade, but perhaps more importantly, it’s the start of a new day; and that means anything could happen. 

So if after reviewing all the awesome (and maybe not-so-awesome) that made up this past year, you decide that there is room for even more opportunity in your future, try writing out a few goals and keep them somewhere that you can find later.  And then let me know how they turned out.  

Finally, a New Year’s Toast: 

‘Here’s to directing our futures and 

. . . following our Bliss,’


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