“Your brain will work tirelessly to achieve the statements you give your subconscious mind. When those statements are the affirmations and images of your goals, you are destined to achieve them.” – Jack CanfieldIt
It comes as no surprise: most New Year resolutions fail. The reasons are numerous but include a lack of specificity (“I want to be rich!”), internal resistance (“I want to finish my dissertation but can’t seem to open the draft document” ) and negative framing (“I need to stop eating junk food” vs “I choose to eat healthier”).
Yet with renewed energy, every January, we set goals. It’s natural to want to recreate ourselves into a better version of ourselves, to start afresh. But what if we were to approach goal setting in a whole new way, one not destined for failure? What if we were to dare to have some fun with the process instead?
Take time to imagine and visualize your life circa 2021.
Vision boards have a long history of freeing up our minds and tapping our imaginations. The visual imagery chosen during the process resonates on a deeper level, bypassing rigid mental constructs. (For those doubting the power of visualization, consider the many Olympic athletes who successfully engage in it).
Pinterest is a quick, easy method to experiment with visualization. Create Pinterest boards based on specific themes:
“My ideal job after I receive my doctorate…”
“Where I’ll live when I get my PhD…”
“How I’ll feel when I finish my doctorate…”
“What a confident defence presentation looks like…”
If Pinterest isn’t your cup of tea, go old school. Use images from magazines, placing them on a poster board. Post the board in a prominent place so that you see them and think about them on a daily basis.
Ask yourself wide open questions and then journal about the answers.
When we take off the constraints of our perceived reality, we dare to imagine bigger things. Alan Watts famously queried: What if money was no object? Another version: “What would you dare to ask for if nothing held you back?” or “What is my dream job after my Ph.D. is complete?” These type of questions remove those pesky internal blocks that keep us in a limited mindset. Rather than your computer, use cursive writing to express your dreams and plans for this year. Research shows that the act of handwriting stimulates important neural pathways versus tapping away at the keyboard.
Create some new (and creative) resolutions.
Yes, completing your dissertation is likely at the top of your goal list for 2021. But take time to imagine other ideas as well for this year. Maybe you’d like to master a soufflé? Or watch one classic movie a month? Create a Youtube channel? These types of resolutions promote enjoyment – and lead to a happier and more productive you.
Think “year in review” instead “looming year ahead”.
Looking back at your year and noting its successes (and failures) is a dependable approach to goal setting (since the time has passed and is not subject to change). Maybe you made it halfway through your dissertation, finally chose a powerful topic or decided to work with a dissertation coach. Whatever steps forward you’ve made, recognize your efforts. Think about what worked for you during the process and what didn’t. How can you refine your daily habits to maximize your progress?
If you’re looking for extra support in moving forward and making 2021 the year you finish your dissertation, contact me for a complimentary coaching call. We’ll tackle it together.