Now that the confetti cannons heralding the dawn of a new year are quiet and the celebrations are just a memory, we are all about the business of work and life. It’s interesting that approximately 150 million Americans set new year’s resolutions with anticipation of improving their circumstances, but a whopping 25% abandon their goals after one week. Masses of people want to change their lives for the better but have no idea how to do it.
You can’t change a habit without changing your thoughts. You can’t change your thoughts without connecting with your core values and developing a clear reason why you should make the effort to do something new.
Why Vision is Important
Setting aside time to stir your dreams and clarify your vision may seem impractical to some people. In reality, significant accomplishment is ALWAYS rooted in significant vision.
Connecting your deepest dreams and desires to your daily activities is part of the “secret sauce” for success.
There’s a proverb that is rather strong but states the truth in a way that demands attention:
“Where there is no vision the people perish.”
There’s something miraculous – yet scientific – that takes place when we connect our hopes and aspirations with a tangible vision board. One study, by Christopher Davoli and Richard Abrams from Washington University in St. Louis, published in Psychological Science, concluded that “The imagination has the extraordinary capacity to shape reality.” Research published by psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, M.D. in The Brain That Changes Itself indicates the power of imagination is nothing short of astonishing.
Top three reasons for making your vision plain:
- Without a reason “why”, any price is too high when it comes to finding the energy to press on when you don’t feel like it.
- Your happiness depends on it. One of three factors that contribute to 90% of your happiness is the positive expectation and the emotions generated by anticipating doing something you love.
- You can’t hit a target you can’t see.
I regularly work with business teams on creating vision boards. For years, I resisted doing the actual exercise of bringing magazines, scissors, poster board, and glue to the board room, thinking it seemed rather elementary. Scratch that – it was Einstein who said, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” It doesn’t matter if you feel a little silly and childish. It’s vital to loosen up, laugh, and dream.
Our vision, and thus our expectations, are either based on memory or imagination. Children live into the future because there’s so much more before them than behind them. That’s why they are naturally full of zeal and optimism. For them, the pull of the future is stronger than the entanglements of the past. Then we grow up. Living out of memory can either serve you well or bury you alive – depending on whether they are empowering or debilitating. But everyone, regardless of their past experiences, has the creative ability to design the future.
If you limit your choices for the future to what seems realistic or practical, you disconnect from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise. What began as quest for your destiny can become a half-hearted attempt to camp in a place you were never meant to stay. You settle. You start to see the enormity of the obstacles instead of the thrill of possibilities. A symptom of chronic stress is tunnel vision – the inability to perceive choices.
In order to break through the habit of limited thinking, you have to stretch your mind by drawing pictures. Need help with that? Check with me for upcoming vision board workshops.