I’ve never really been one to obsess over New Year’s resolutions.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for goal-setting, but the reality is that most of us set out on Jan. 1 with a slew of hopes and dreams that we’ve generally forgotten about or entirely abandoned by the time Jan. 10 rolls around.
Theoretically, New Year’s resolutions are great, as are jump starts and resets. But they just aren’t that effective for many of us.
And, sure, Jan. 1 is a great time to do a self-assessment and make some new-found considerations, but the truth is: we can set goals at any time of the year. Oddly, though, the faux high that the holidays create, I think, makes many of us assume that there’s something special about the new year and the renewed beginnings we assume it will bring.
With all that in mind, I’ve essentially abandoned resolutions in my own life, but I have replaced them with something that I find much more effective: visions.
Vision boards — poster boards that include peoples’ hopes and dreams for the coming year — have becoming increasingly popular in recent years. Many of these placards include a slew of goals that people have in the coming year. Some people cut out photos and images from magazines and get super creative about what they envision their life looking like in the New Year.
And that’s all wonderful. But what I’ve grown to do in recent years is a little bit simpler. I tend to call it a “life board.”
"Life boards" help us map out what's to come. It's an amazing way to start the year by looking ahead. pic.twitter.com/jCXE8yj2N7
— Billy Hallowell (@BillyHallowell) January 1, 2018
Here’s how it works: I sit down on New Year’s Eve with a poster board and some Sharpies and I map out a few key areas of my life that are essential to focus on: spiritual, family, physical, professional and career.
Then, under each area I include thought-through bullet points that detail where I want to see myself in 2018.
For instance, under “spiritual” I included “do daily devotionals” and “attend men’s breakfast and church events,” as these are two areas I would like to improve on and get stronger in as 2018 progresses.
Some people have asked me about the difference between “professional” and “career” considerations. For me, I separate the two by focusing on professional endeavors (side projects like books and other such efforts) and my overall job path. Yours might look a bit different, but the point is: creating a life board is essentially a usable map for your year.
I don’t include photos or magazine images and I don’t really get all that fancy. In the end, the poster board includes, via text, my goals and sentiments for the coming year, with a broader view in mind that, though these are things I want, I will allow God and the spiritual portion — the center of the board — to dictate where I go and how I get there.
I used to scoff at activities like this. I once laughed “vision” and life boards off as some silly sentiment that people do to make themselves feel better at the start of a new year.
But author Valorie Burton changed all that for me a few years back when she came to New York City for an interview and explained the power that these boards can have in helping us keep focused on what we want in our lives.
For me, that’s proven quite true, as I hang the board in my bedroom on Jan. 1 and I look at it each morning throughout the year.
Rather than focusing in on the resolutions you might have, I’d encourage you to take the step to create a life board that looks at all of the key areas in your being. It’s a great way to focus on creating a condensed overview of your hopes and aspirations for the year to come — one you can use as a daily reminder of where you want to be and how you plan to get there.
Just some food for thought. Happy New Year!