If you could be certain of one thing happening in your life throughout this next year, what would it be? How will you approach the New Year? Where would you like to be this time next year in your life? What are your goals? What is the greatest desire(s) of your outcome? What small details are shaping your outcome? Are you ready to give up on your resolutions? What will your focus be this year?
If you focus on outcome alone, you will miss the details required in achieving it. If you focus on detail alone, you won't follow through in the process required to get you the desired outcome. What should we focus on?
Setting goals is great! Necessary even! But I think we often times misunderstand the purpose of goals, hence our (often time) in-ability to follow through, complete, or accomplish them. The purpose of goal setting is to establish clarity about what we want out of life. The misconception about goals, is that we create them as our strategy to obtaining what we want out of life. But in most cases this doesn't work. If it did, then the majority of people who set goals or resolutions would follow through with them. How many goals have you set in the last year alone, that you didn't follow through on? And why didn't you?
Unless you were incapacitated, severely mentally and physically immobilized, or perhaps dying - the reason you think you didn't follow through is not the real reason. The real reason is: You were not aligned.
A goal is somewhat like a mission statement to yourself. It is like saying to yourself, "This is who I am, what I am, and what I will do with the life God gave me." And it is being clear about what each of those things are. It is NOT the strategy you try to follow, in hopes of fulfilling your goal checklist. Just to make myself absolutely clear, goals are good! Get clear and certain about your identity, and purpose in life.
What I am saying, is that if you use goal setting as your strategy for progress, statistics say the majority population does not follow through. Why? Because energy is associated with value. The value of anything is the amount of life you are willing to exchange for it. In Western Culture, we try to disperse our energy to too many different things. We can end up all over the place. Because we are caught up in a world that acts this way. We sort of "do what everyone else is doing".
Work, kids, school, gotta eat, etc...
But the truth is, you can't value losing 50lbs the same way you value your kids baseball practice. If you were to draw a pie chart, and divide up your one resource (the combination of time and energy), and then write out all the areas of your life that demand it from you, how much time and energy would you assign to each category before it was all gone? Now draw another pie chart, and create categories for all the areas of your life that you really *want* to give your time and energy to. It can be whatever you want! Then assign how much time and energy you would want to assign to each of those categories per day. Now compare the two pie charts. I bet they look entirely different. If the two pie charts are not identical, then you are out of alignment.
So what is alignment then? Alignment is when your values match your beliefs, creating a conviction in you. Conviction is the fuel that drives our literal state of being. For instance, why do you get up every morning and go to work? Why do you do it day after day, week after week, year after year? What compels you to get there on time? Why do you want your kids to make good grades? Why do you love your husband or wife? Are we not motivated to do what we do out of a conviction? I go to work and show up on time, because I have a conviction that if I don't, then I'll lose my job. And if I lose my job, I won't make a paycheck. And if I don't make a paycheck, then I can't pay my bills. I want my kids to make good grades, because I have a conviction that I want them to live a happy and successful life. And that one day they will be able to take care of themselves, and be able to potentially take care of me when I get older. I love my wife (or husband) because I have a conviction that if I don't I will lose them in my life. I will lose their love, their partnership, their contribution. I will lose my greatest source of connection and the desires associated with it.
Conviction is the driving force that compels us to do anything worth significance in our lives. Another way to say it is, conviction uncovers the proof of what we truly value in our life, because we put our time and energy into whatever we feel we have a conviction to get done in life. In terms of both large and small. When you are out of alignment, your convictions no longer serve you. What do I mean? Let's say you want to get in great shape this year, meet the love of your life, and travel to one incredible place you have never been before. But right now, you are overweight, in debt, single, and work 60-70 hours a week always trying to play catch up (insert your own real life scenario). In your free time, you are catching up on sleep, de-stressing by watching TV or eating (or both). Maybe you have some hobby you try to keep up with, but for whatever reason, you can't seem to make any substantial changes in regards to the three areas of your life you really desire to see change. Because you are out of alignment. Your convictions are supporting the lifestyle you have become so familiar with. You have empowered that lifestyle by committing your values and beliefs to them. Even if you disagree consciously with me, your subconscious agrees with me. Because it is in our subconscious that our true convictions are working. How do you know when you have achieved alignment then? When you start having a conviction in you for the things you truly desire. But to achieve that, you have to have values and beliefs that match.
That is only the first part.
Yes, there is more. The second part of this concept is more important than the first. If alignment (your matching values and beliefs) are the power/force that give you the drive/conviction, to make your desires a reality. And goals are the clear Mission Statements to yourself about who you are, why you are, and what you will do with the life God has given you - then who are you? In other words, why do you write down the goals you have? Why do you have the beliefs and values you have? What do your goals, beliefs, and values do for you? What is the purpose of your existence? What would you *like* the purpose of your existence to be? Is it already defined for you? Or do you get to create/choose it? This whole article points to the *most* important question of all:
Who am I? What am I? Why am I?
Without an intentional understanding of those questions. You exist, yes. But you exist as something other than what you are choosing. How do I know that? Look at your pie charts. Assess your life. Gauge the goals you have completed versus the ones you have not. Compare the number of things in your life you want to change versus the ones you are completely happy, fulfilled, and content in, to the ones you are not. The whole reason we even experience the feeling of un-fulfillment is because our DNA knows we are not living as designed. In other words, we were all created by God with qualities, traits, gifts, characteristics, personalities, etc - that were instilled in us to have a certain effect on us, and the world around us as we live out our lives. And any other life we live outside of that wiring, is in essence, living as something we were not created to be. And everything inside of us knows this. But until we choose to be true to our true design (because free will is our greatest gift from God) we have to embrace the un-fulfillment of the flip side of that choice. Which is "be something I am not". Or be what I was created to be.
Unfortunately, no one can tell you who you really are. You have to come to your own conclusion. But there are always clues. And that is usually in the combination of your gifts, your passions, your dreams, your desires, characteristics, personality, values, beliefs, and deepest convictions.
I will close by coming full circle, and leaving you with something completely doable, no matter where you are in life. I can sum it up in one word.
Focus on ANY level of progress. Even if you have to narrow it down to just one thing in life, because that is literally all you can handle right now. If you can handle more, that's great! Don't limit yourself! But choose at least one area of your life, that if you were to make ANY amount of positive progress, it would have dramatic effects on your life. Choose that area of your life, and stick with it! If the information in this blog is not useful for the type of person you are, find some information that is. But I think you will find that no matter what process you use, conviction is what creates the driving force to accomplish anything. Because you will have value for it, and a belief about it. Otherwise there would be no conviction/value for "it" in the first place. So I challenge you to make progress this year. Make 2017 the year of radical progress! Get in alignment with your true self and have the impact on the world that you were created for. When you are living that life, you will find true fulfillment.