The Slow Death of Idle

There isn’t a lot more you can say about the New Year holiday that hasn’t already been said. However, one concept is worth repeating, every year.

It’s because our bodies and minds are in a constant state of contradiction. There is a part of our brain that strives for homeostasis, to have things stay the same, tied to habitual patterns to conserve energy. In other words, idle.

Luckily, we also have a soul and it’s quite different. The soul screams out for change, challenge and activities in line with who we are. Sometimes it does so directly. Sometimes it does so through things like pain and illness.

The change of the calendar year means nothing intrinsically except for that pesky word “new.” That’s what our soul grabs onto and hopes will be different this year. Not another year of stuck, in denial about where we are at, achy and tired.

If you decide to do something, it generally happens. Think about that: if you make a choice to do something, somehow, someway, something happens inside and out. You direct your actions toward that choice.

Conversely, by not making a choice or setting a goal, what happens? More idle, more of the same. Setting goals doesn’t get near the attention it should for its power to break one free of discontent, cure unhappiness and move us forward.

As a leader, you’re an example for others. Setting goals for yourself is as important, if not more so than setting them for your business or team. The great news is, you aren’t constricted by a form with 100 fields to fill in, or annoying conversations with co-workers about the difference between a goal and an objective.

Just write three things you want to do in the form of “I will,” being as specific as possible. For example, “I will run a 1/2 marathon in X time,” “I will get this position at this company,” “I will write three chapters of a book,” or “I will have five outings with the most positive people in my life.”

Next, imagine these goals as if they’ve already happened. Listen to what happens inside: do you feel excited? Do you feel rewarded? Or, does this goal feel empty? Check and make sure it’s your goal and not someone else’s goal imposed on you. Once you make that connection inside and “see” these goals, review them regularly.

A year from now, do you want to be exactly where you are now? If not, just set three “I will” goals, imagine them and see what happens. For five to ten minutes of your time one thing is certain: you definitely won’t be in the same place.

“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” ― Louisa May Alcott

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