"Big thinking precedes great achievement." -- Wilferd Peterson
The way to stay motivated for 2016 is to begin with your end in mind.
Keep in mind that your end in mind is dynamic, and it will change as you change, but it's still a great place to start.
A simple way to visualize your end in mind is to create a Vision Board. Here is an example of my Vision Board for 2016:
Here is the process I used to create an empowering Vision Board:
The main idea of a Vision Board is to capture your big ideas in terms of your hopes, dreams, future habits, and your ideal life. It’s a collage of images that reflect what you want your ideal future state to be.
Prime Your Mind for 2016 with a Vision Board
The power of a Vision Board is really to prime your mind for success. When you know what you want, you activate your Reticular Activating System (RAS). Your RAS helps you notice things around you that are relevant (such as when you get a new blue car, suddenly you notice how many people have a blue car.) When you know what you want, you also get more resourceful. But more importantly, when you know what you want, other people can help you because you are clear on what you want to achieve.
It’s really hard to help somebody get what they want when they don’t know what it is.
When you have clarity in what you want, you create focus. When you focus, you prioritize. When you prioritize, it helps you stay motivated, but your future picture helps you inspire yourself from the inside out.
I think we all tend to walk around with some little pictures of our future self, maybe as a fuzzy idea, or maybe little scenes from the future, or maybe more like a daydream. But you can bring that future into focus by creating a simple collage of inspiring images that paint a picture of the future that you want to make happen.
Create a Vision “Page”
While I set out to create a Vision Board, I actually ended up creating what I’ll call a Vision Page. I figured that a page on the Web would be available to me whenever or wherever I needed it.
After reviewing a few options, I ended up creating my Vision Board for 2016 using Pinterest.
It was simple and straightforward. All I had to do was create a new board and then add Pins to my board that reflect my dreams, goals, habits, and aspirations. It was actually a fun process trying to find the right image to capture the right idea.
Draw from People, Books, Quotes, and Affirmations
To create my Vision Page, I looked for inspiring people, as well as inspiring books, quotes, and affirmations. On the people side, I thought of people that reflect some of the attributes I’d like to have more of. For example, imagine if I could solve problems like Tony Robbins or be creative like da Vinci or think better like Edward de Bono.
For books, I thought about how some books encapsulate really important ideas. For example, In Eat to Win, Dr. Furhman focuses on eating the nutritarian way. In all of his research and in medical outcome studies, Dr. Furhman found that nutritional density and focusing on nutritional excellence is the key to vibrant and radiant health. In How To Have a Beautiful Mind, Edward de Bono focuses on creating curiosity, insight, and making things interesting through the power of perspective and by asking better questions.
For quotes, I have several quote collections you can draw from in the Great Quotes Collection, including Confidence Quotes, Happiness Quotes, Inspirational Quotes, Motivational Quotes, Personal Development Quotes, and Productivity Quotes.
For affirmations, I had to rethink my limiting beliefs about affirmations. For me, affirmations were always foo-foo, and I hated the examples that I found. In my experience, all the affirmations I saw long ago use words I would never say in a way that I would never say them. They seemed inauthentic. Worse, the people that I knew that used affirmations weren’t every effective. It seemed like they were reading spells from a magic book and didn’t even really believe what they were saying.
It was more like saying some magic word phrases and hoping they would suddenly become awesome.
But then I thought about affirmations differently. I realized that they can be a great way to intentionally change your thoughts, especially if you have thought patterns that don’t work for you. Affirmations, just like quotes, can be simple little mantra for the mind. But the key is that you have to find affirmations that work for you, and you have to word them in a way that’s simple, sticky, and meaningful for you.
I share some sample affirmations in How To Create an Empowering Vision Board but here are a couple of examples. I can replace, “This sucks” with "I see my challenges as opportunities to learn and grow." I can remind myself “I let go of worries that drain my energy.” My personal favorite is a remind of self-reliance: "If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me."
Choose and create affirmations that remind and inspire you as you answer the question “Who do you want to be and what experiences do you want to create?”
Build Your Vision Board with Skill
If you want to stay motivated for 2016, then create your own Vision Board or Vision Page. You can get started in just a few minutes, and if you really embrace it, your Vision Board can serve you throughout the year. It will act as a reminder of what you want, but it can also help you get clarity and insight into the attributes and characteristics that you want to develop as part of your personal growth.
Your motivation will be a direct reflection of your ability to find the most inspiring images that pull your forward.
Don’t over-engineer it. Keep it simple and make it easy to update. For me, I just quickly found pages I could “Pin” and then I added a one-liner reminder of the key idea. For example, I found an image of a Navy Seals team working out, and I added the note “Fit like a Navy Seal.”
Also, remember that it’s your future, ideal life. Don’t let limiting beliefs or small thinking get in your way. Dream big and make it a collage of the people, quotes, habits, goals, and ideas that inspire you.
Lastly, remember that motivation follows action. So take some action and your motivation will follow. The best way to take action is to just start. If you get going with your Vision Board, chances are you’ll surprise yourself with some fresh thinking and some big bold ideas, and these will carry you forward for 2016.
And, if not, remember the famous saying by Mary Anne Radmacher:
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”