Before You Ever Set Another New Year’s Resolution, Do This

For the past two years I have done something to start each year that has completely changed my life.

It’s far different and far more impactful from the boring old goals and resolutions.

Here’s what you’ll need before you start:

  • A pen and piece of paper (or a computer)
  • 30 minutes of quiet, uninterrupted time

Next, do this:

  1. Visualize where you want to be one year from today. Don’t know how to visualize? Here’s an awesome video from Marie Forleo and Danielle LaPorte. Or check out this article from Jack Canfield.
  2. Write a letter to yourself as if all the things you visualize for yourself have already happened (I included an example of a letter I wrote to myself at the bottom of this post).

When you’re writing, focus on the things in your life that matter most: family, career, health. Really try and visualize and feel what it would be like to have those things happen.

In the book Switch, Dan and Chip Heath say that creating a clearly painted picture of where you want to be (they call it a “destination postcard”) combined with the right habits is the key to achieving big goals.

This letter to yourself will serve as your destination postcard. And once you develop that clear picture of where you see yourself going, then it’s time to create some goals to help you get there (I wrote about the new science of goal setting on Entrepreneur a while back … it’s definitely worth checking out).

Most people just go straight to goal setting, then get discouraged when they don’t pan out.

You need to set your destination postcard first.

Ever since I started writing a letter to myself the last two years, I’ve been blown away by what I’ve been able to accomplish.

Not everything I wrote down came true, and certain events will play out far differently than you planned. But it’s incredible how many of the things I wrote down did come true … and every single one of the most audacious, seemingly-impossible ones have also begun to take form in my life.

The science world is only just starting to understand the power of imagination, visualization, and intuition. We don’t know how they work … but we know they do work.

So I ask you: what have you got to lose? 30 minutes out of 525,600 you’ll have this year?

Try writing a letter to yourself, read it once a week so that seed you planted cultivates and grows, and report back to me in January of next year. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Here’s an example of a letter I wrote to myself in January 2014 if you need some inspiration. When I re-read it in January 2015 it was pretty cool:

 

Oh what a year it’s been for you. The best year of your life, in fact (you said the same thing last year, so hey, you’re on a roll). 
 
You’ve always dreamed big. But for a long, long time it seemed like something was missing for you, right? 
 
This was the year of change. 
 
The year you finally started applying the knowledge from the thousands of hours of research, writing, and hard work.
 
You’ve always been a dreamer. 
 
And this year your dreams became reality. 
 
You took calculated risks, and they paid off. You invested your money and time wisely. You learned how to be “productive” instead of just “busy.” You put yourself outside your comfort zone.
 
And holy shit, you finally achieved the thing you’ve been working toward for the last 5 years: you’re a self made man.
 
You still have lots ‘o work to do. But the days of feeling unfulfilled with your career are behind you. 
 
You did it. 
 
You officially run a business online. You do what you love. You’re helping people. And you’ve finally found something you can put your heart and soul into. 
 
That’s pretty sweet. Well done. 

Most importantly, you just had your first child. I won’t spoil the surprise and tell you whether it’s a boy or girl. You always detested the people who said, “You’ll understand when you have kids.” 

As much as it pains my pride to admit this, they were right.
 
Having a child was the most significant moment of your life. 
 
You see the world in a new light. You’re a teacher. A guardian. A dad.
 
Everything’s a little different now. In the best way imaginable. 
 
You filled a piece of you that was missing for a long time. You absolutely love it.
 
And your wife. Watching her become a mother has been one of the most beautiful displays of love you’ve ever witnessed.
 
You’re more in love with her than you’ve ever been, and she with you. 
 
You two have a life of wonder ahead of you. 
This year you made some amazing memories with your family and you feel blessed and grateful for this time every day.
 
I look forward to you reading this and being astonished about how much of it is spot-on. 
 
The biggest lessons from the last year were:  Time is a gift. Use it wisely. Don’t waste it on things that don’t serve your higher purpose and lead you to your aspirations. Dream bigger than big.  
 
And this note will serve as proof that you can do whatever the hell you want in this world. 
 
You done well…but you’re not even close to being done. 
 
You won’t believe what the next year has in store.  

One thought on “Before You Ever Set Another New Year’s Resolution, Do This

  1. Judy says:

    Wow…
    This is SO beautiful AND true.
    With HAPPY tears in my eyes, I AGREE ..
    TIME IS A GIFT and so is Family and Let’s ALL continue to Dream Big.
    Yes, I will be writing as you suggested above.
    Thanks Scott.

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