How do you start to narrow down your priorities for the new year? You can start by exploring the possibilities and dreaming big for 2020 by figuring out what supports you being your best self both personally and professionally.
The concept of ‘your best self,’ gets tossed around as if you should immediately know who she is and how to find her. How should I know what my best self is like? What does that even mean? Does she like cheese? I wonder if she has any chocolate?
But, when I really think about it, my best self is obvious. She is a magical version of me with all of my best traits. She is driven without bulldozering over everything in front of her. She is passionate without yelling (mostly). She is patient and kind. She is clear and focused. She is happy and laughs throughout the day. She feels great physically, emotionally, and mentally. She is confident and full of energy. She can do really hard things. She is still me, but just the version of me that can appear when I’m well-rested and fed and not overwhelmed.
Sometimes - ok, often - I make choices that do not support me being my best self. In fact, sometimes I make choices that I know will result in me feeling like crap later (like staying up all night to binge watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) or eating an entire block of cheddar cheese. I try not to make choices that work against me very often, and instead try to make choices that I know will help me to be the best version of me more frequently.
What would it be like if everything was going as well as it possibly could? I know what you’re thinking - well, Ellen, then I would clearly be hanging out with The Rock while he did the laundry and I drank a glass of wine. I know! But for this exercise to work, your ideas have to be based in reality. As with everything I share with you, there is solid science behind this. Studies suggest (King, 2001) that when you imagine things going as well as they possibly can in the future that it can improve your optimism, clarify your goals, and improve your confidence to follow through with those goals. All of these things are very useful when planning your new year.
Step 1: Imagine yourself at this time next year.
Take a moment and imagine that everything—I mean absolutely everything—has gone as well as it possibly could. You are constantly feeling healthy, focused, energized, and in control. You get to the end of your day and you feel accomplished and satisfied. You are making the time to do the things that support your health and well-being. You are accomplishing your goals at work and still have time for yourself, your friends, and your family. You're truly flourishing personally and professionally. And as you imagine this, think about:
Try to imagine this future as realistically and vividly as possible. What are you thinking, seeing, hearing, doing, and feeling in this future where everything has gone as well as it possibly could? What are the specific things that others notice, comment on, and value in you? The more descriptive and specific you can make it, the stronger this exercise will be in pulling you forward.
Step 2: Write it ALL down!
After you have a fairly clear image in your mind of your best possible future self, spend about twenty minutes writing down the details in a stream of consciousness. Don’t edit them. Don’t second-guess them. Don’t judge them. Just let them flow out.
Step 3: Make it Part of Your Next Year
Take the time to create specific goals related to your best possible future AND PUT THEM IN YOUR 2020 PLANNER. Yes, I was yelling at you. I know, I need to settle down. But don’t lose these great ideas. Maybe even go back to the questions under Step 1 to help you get specific. Make sure your 2020 calendar includes all of the health and well-being choices that will support you beign able to accomplish all of your goals. Be sure to be specific. “I will be healthier” is NOT specific. How will you be healthier?
What was on my 2019 ‘best possible future self’ list??
What is on my 2020 ‘best possible future self’ list?? Yes, I do this every year because it’s so helpful.
What does your best possible future self look like? What health and well-being choices will make your best possible future self a reality in 2020? I’d love to hear from you in the private FREE <<Facebook group>>.
#Nerd APA References, because I can’t help myself
King, L. A. (2001). The health benefits of writing about life goals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27(7), 798-807.
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