Monday, December 29, 2014

One Year Vision: The New Year's Anti-Resolution

Are you like me?  Do you avoid New Year’s resolutions because they have an unpleasant “uphill” kind of feeling?   Would you like to have another way of approaching the coming year that creates a sense of hope and optimism?   A few years ago,  I learned a better alternative to resolutions called the “One Year Vision” that is not only effective, but very fun!   At first, this practice seems like a new year’s resolution, but it is completely different.   Here is how you do it:
  1. Imagine that you discovered a single page from your journal written one year in the future.  It has been the perfect year for you, and in this entry you wrote down the pleasant feelings you are having about your life, and maybe even some incredible blessings that that have come to you.   You didn’t write how you got them- no methods, no goals – just the blessings and descriptions of how you feel.   
  2. Write this vision down as a paragraph, then tuck this away and read it again every month or so. 

That’s it!   It’s a low risk activity, and it seems way too simple and easy, but curiously powerful.  In the years I've done this, I’ve observed for myself that revisiting the vision guided me to the work and opportunities that made the vision itself a reality. 

I think this works because writing the vision and reading the vision are joyful experiences.  I don’t have to “make” myself do it because reading this positive narrative is enjoyable all by itself.  Contrast this with resolutions which are heavy and unpleasant and involve willpower.  I've noticed that I usually drop a resolution after a month, but a One Year Vision is kept all year.   In fact, I look forward to the end of the year when I get to compare the vision with what actually happened.  Also, by focusing on a genuine vision, my mind is dwelling on the positive aspects of the future, so I am subconsciously attracted to the very things that will make the vision happen.     
Regardless of my theories of how it works, I can say for sure that the practice is way more enjoyable than the resolution process and also more productive.     

Still reading?  Want to try your own One Year Vision?   Great!  Here are a few pointers:
  • Focus only on desires; do not to include methods or goals because those things drag down your spirit.   Writing methods also limits genius and creativity.   You might think you’ll get in shape by visiting the gym (standard resolution), but maybe you’ll go on a two-week hiking adventure in the Grand Canyon that you did not anticipate.    If you are focused on the gym, you might miss this adventure, but if you are focused on the desire of being in shape, you will be open to what flows to you. 
  • Let yourself dream.  Drop any feelings of unworthiness, or feelings that you don’t “deserve” a blessing.  The truth is that nobody deserves anything they get.   God is the kind of being who likes to give and give and give and would gladly give more to you if you would only open yourself up to receive it. So,  when you think about the perfect year ahead, make it an amazingly perfect year.  Dream big!
  • Make sure it is what you really want.    It is easy to say in your vision "I made a million dollars!"  But is a million dollars what you really want?  No, the money is only a method to achieve something else, such as  a beautiful painting, an extension to your home, or an education.   Even these things could be means for something deeper, such as peace, comfort, health, love, etc.    If you include feelings with your vision, it will help you discard methods and focus on what is really desired.   
  • Allow creativity to flow.  Sometimes an idea will come that seems crazy, maybe even scary.  Don’t let the fear rule you- write it down!   Maybe you really will publish a book, or get elected to the state senate, or discover a cure for cancer.   This process isn’t just a wish- it is also revelation.

So, what does a One Year Vision look like?   Well, here is an example of what someone might write down:

Dec 29, 2015.  What an amazing year! I can hardly believe the wonderful things that have come into my life!    I am so happy with my job- I come in work every day excited and feeling like I am making a difference for people.    My stress over money as evaporated and I have the pleasant feeling of having the things I want and need.  Best of all, I found a very special person in my life and we have begun building a beautiful relationship with mutual trust and support.  We let our guard down with each other and feel relaxed and happy together

Notice how there are no to-do’s in this paragraph.  I can’t see here how the job got better, how the money situation was resolved, or how that special someone came around. The how’s will resolve themselves as the year advances. My job is just to let the vision have a place in my mind. Which brings me to the next pointer:

What are some ideas for revisiting this vision? For me, I schedule it as a monthly recurring meeting in my Outlook calendar. Here are some other random ideas:
  • Tape it up on a mirror or other surface you walk by every day.
  • Use it as your regular bookmark.
  • Tape it to different packages of food in your pantry.
  • Put it in a frame and place it in your cleaning supplies cupboard.
  • Tape it to the lid of your washing machine.

I hope you find this article useful.   The One Year Vision is truly fun.  Try it out, you have nothing to lose!


kps said...

This is great Eric! Will try it out! -karan

Miles Germer said...

Thank you for the idea. I will try it out.