You Need Vision Before Resolution
What is the vision that your resolution supports?
For many, January 1st is when people in many Western countries reflect on their lives and make “resolutions” for the next year. For most, January 2nd is the first of many days in that year where the new resolutions are not kept. That is because too often your resolution lives alone in the world, only slightly tied to a vision of your future, and rarely revisited.
In mental health and medical fields, when you seek the assistance of a pro, the pro will write a “treatment plan”, usually with your input, with specific and measurable goals to be re-examined regularly…and I suppose that’s what a New Year’s Resolution is. But like yearly employee reviews, yearly resolutions are too far apart to be much help.
What I suggest instead is regular “Vision” days. I’m agnostic as to which planning system you use (I have yet to find one I fully like, so I’ll let you know if I create one), but whether pen and paper or electronic or some combination of the two, the basic calendar + appointment + to-do list just doesn’t do the trick. And these Vision days should be at least once every three months. Reviewing once a month or even once a week might work better for you.
Some organizational experts address this, including Stephen Covey’s excellent supplements to Franklin Covey planners that ask you to assess key areas of your life on a monthly and quarterly basis. A smaller organization, Dragontree, offers a spiritual (but useable with many religions) version with an extensive and useful life planning section. There are literally dozens of electronic apps as well, including Habitica, ToDoIst (which is more than “just” a to do list) and of course, the Microsoft suite of apps, which can cobble together some wonderful solutions.
Any system you use should allow you to look at different areas of your life — work, home life, social, health, finances, creative outlets, etc., and help you set short, medium, and long-range goals and help you assess your progress toward your goals.
This year, I did something a little different for myself. Call it an experiment. I use Microsoft OneNote for both business and personal organization and I had several pre-existing life and business focus tabs created for both.
So on each “Notebook”:
- I created a “Master Planning” tab,
- Using the right hand side page creation, I created pages including “Master Goals 2017”
- Created the first week’s tab (and month’s, and quarter’s)
- Added a page of recurring tasks,
- A brightly colored, all capped (LOOK HERE FIRST!) important/urgent task page
- A neat trick is a “short and simple” list of necessary but trivial tasks to fill small time slots.
Since both my business and personal OneNotes are integrated with the rest of my office apps, I have the potential to automatically send reminders to myself, add items to to-do lists and calendars, and share them with collaborators.
And Now, What’s Your Resolution?
To make a long story short, my actual “resolution” this year (I like making one. It provides a focus) is to write a post every day, distributed more or less equally between this website, which will be a combination of my various personal interests with more than occasional political rants and lots of noodling, my professional website Responsive Mental Health Services LLC, which focuses on mental health topics for providers and participants, and Red 2 Blue, (still in development). Red 2 Blue is to help Democrats, moderate Republicans and other folk who have significant relationships with Trump-supporting Republicans find ways to have difficult conversations with them, protect themselves emotionally and legally from harassment, bullying, and discrimination, and offer scripts (hats off to Captain Awkward for the idea) for defending and refuting various concepts that significantly impact peoples’ lives.
And How is Following your Vision Going To Look?
Once I’m following my vision, no more long awkward silences on any of the websites. No more “Hey, what happened to Jenni?” or “Hey, what happened to Maureen?” (same person, different roles).
*For me* it means much less time spent in my favorite MMORPGs (currently Guild Wars 2 and Elder Scrolls Online), much less time getting in random Facebook discussions, and more time reaching out to experts of various varieties to get their response on the issues at hand.
For several years now I have written an “Accountability Post” on Facebook (friends-only) that is broken into several sections, including a general note about the shape of my day (how I’m feeling, anything unexpected or expected that I can expect changing my day), a list of “Big Rocks” that need completion, and a “Gratitudes” section with at least three things I’m grateful for.
Going forward, the *personal* part of these Accountability Posts will go here, and be more like twice a week or so, as gentle nudges, and an example version with some redaction will go on my business website as a model for others in business and, of course, to keep me accountable to my therapy participants, employees, community and vendors.
As the year goes on, there will be further information on life planning here, so please watch this space.
As always, I am not completely immune to bad information, or bad reasoning, so if you find any factual information that is incorrect, please let me know, either in comments or by emailing me.
In general, it’s important to look at your vision and re-write goal and “resolutions” at least quarterly, and monthly is better. Throw out the bad ones and done ones. Add new ones. Realize that your life has taken a terrifying (or exciting) new turn and let that be reflected in your new goals.
If you have any questions, don’t forget to ask.
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