Here we are, the beginning of a new month – the last one of the year at that. Amid all of the Christmas planning and activities, it’s not too early to start thinking of your goals for the new year. After all, don’t you want to hit the ground running come January 1 (I hope so)?
I’ve begun making a list of my big goals I’d like to accomplish next year, which is a start. I’ve got some big audacious ones on there (write a book, speaking engagements, to name a few). I’m still in thinking mode, so I’m not done yet, but I’m finding that the more I write them out, the more they come. I’m not rushing the process – just yet. Neither should you.
Allowing spontaneous ideas to come takes the pressure off and helps the brain to do what it does best – think and solve problems. I learned this technique, called ‘Free Thinking’ from my chair in my doctoral program; I was hitting a road block on writing the second chapter of my dissertation. This is where you identify the problem, by giving historical, and scholarly sources, to support problem identification which, then, flows into what research will be done around the problem.
I remember sitting in my chair’s office one day, crying; I had hit a major mental roadblock in putting together the chronological path of my study. I can still remember two things my chair said that made a difference:
- “Maybe you should think about quitting.” At first I was incredulous that she would even suggest such an idea – I’d come so far and for so many years. But she did relate that she had the same idea and took time off for three months, where all she did was knit. But it allowed her to decide to keep going on the journey. I knew the question was valid – was all the stress worth it; but I also felt she was challenging me. I told here that quitting was not an option.
The other thing she said, which really changed my whole outlook was:
- Free Think – this is where any and all idea is welcomed; no editing allowed at this point. By just hearing this method, I was able to get my first three chapters written in a month. This changed the trajectory for my research and got me closer to completing my degree
Why do I tell you this? Because these two phrases can help you to allow your big goals to come to the surface, without pressure or activating any fears around them. Take time to go outside, or to a relaxing place, and use these methods to start the goal setting process. I’ll give suggestions next time on taking the ideas to goal planning, so stay tuned. One other suggestion, carry a small notebook or use your cell phone, to write down any ideas as they come; they may not make much sense at the time but the point of this is get into content creation mode so you don’t forget them.
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