Over the past several days I received two email newsletters telling me how to set my goals and resolutions for the New Year that is fast upon us.
One said that I should set REALLY BIG goals that will inspire us to put our shoulder to the wheel and our nose to the grindstone (the newsletter didn’t really mix those metaphors but I couldn’t resist the opportunity).
The other said that the reason so many New Year’s Resolutions show up dead on arrival on January 2 is that they are too big and overwhelming, and our good intentions of New Year’s Eve dissipate when the enormity of the task finally sinks in.
Of course, there is truth in both approaches. So what is the right approach?
Try using the TBSSSNQ Formula: Think Big, Start Small, Start Now, Don’t Quit.
Think Big. What goal would, if achieved, have a truly transformative impact on your career, your family, or your life? Would it be finally writing that book that you have always been going to get around to someday?
Start Small: Use the power of the prototype to start building your momentum. In his excellent book Creativity Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull describes how Pixar uses a logical incrementalism approach to refine each movie they produce, with each stage of production serving as a prototype moving toward the next. If your big goal is to write a book, a prototype might be a journal article or a weekly blog posting.
Start Now: Having in mind your prototype, take the first step before you go to bed on New Year’s Day. Write the opening sentence of your Great American Novel, or sketch out the book cover and post it where you will see it every day.
Don’t Quit: Refuse to give in to Resistance, that inner barrier to achievement so beautifully described by Steve Pressfield in his indispensable book The War of Art. Be alert to the many guises Resistance will take in trying to divert you from doing the work that really matters (writing your book) into time sinks that do not really matter (checking Facebook – again and again).
Later today Sally and I are heading to Arizona for a long weekend. I find that I am best able to think big, and to think clearly, when I’m out on a desert trail where cell phones don’t work. I hope that you will find a lovely spot to crystallize your dreams and goals for 2019, and that you will then apply the TBSSSNDQ Formula for their achievement.
Happy New Year from Values Coach!