Take a moment to reflect on the person you were exactly one year ago. What were your goals at the time? Did you have a different job? Were you living in the same house? What about your thoughts? Have any of your perspectives changed within the past twelve months?
The truth is that you are always changing. Physically, your cells are constantly replacing themselves. You have a whole new layer of skin than you did last year, your hair is different, you may have more muscles, or you may have added a few pounds of fat. Regardless of the specific attributes, you are not the same as you were.
Odds are you have had a lot of mental changes too, whether you are conscious of them or not. Can you think of any goals that you had last year that you have accomplished? What about that New Year’s resolution that you had? The reason I ask is that goals give us the opportunity to see into the future and decide who we want to be down the road. When we tell ourselves where we want to be, and we continuously reinforce these ideas, we eventually begin to understand that there needs to be a shift between our present state and our future state. Once we consciously understand these potential circumstances in our heads, we almost program our minds to actualize these future states. This is why mindfully setting goals is so crucial.
Think about the last time you saved up for a big purchase. How about the first time you saved up for a car? You identified the specific car you wanted, for months you envisioned yourself driving that car, you worked two jobs to save up enough money, and then you finally made the purchase. Doesn’t it feel pretty good to reflect back on what you accomplished? But let’s dissect that situation a bit further. You sprouted an idea in your head that you wanted to change your current situation, you worked for months to actualize that goal, and the whole time you were envisioning yourself driving that new car. This same process can be used to upgrade yourself! Not just tangible items!
It is safe to say that one year from now you will not be the same person that you are today. When you think about your future self, do you notice any excitement about the possibilities? Or do you get nervous about the uncertainties and crawl back into your comfort zone? We all like to envision ourselves in our ideal state, whether that be waking up in a mansion on the Atlantic, or a sprinter van in the Sierra Nevada's. Some people like to imagine themselves with six-pack abs, and some people dream about navigating the Caribbean on a sailboat. Everyone has an end goal, but many people think they can only live them out in fantasy. The truth is that no matter where you are in your life, you can accomplish your ideal state by adopting the right mindset and habits.
The problem is that everyone loves to hear stories about success, but no one likes to hear stories about the days, months, and years of relentless work that is the prerequisite to success. We all need to shift our mindsets to enjoy the process that it takes to actualize our goals. There is a fascinating pattern around people who build successful companies from the ground up, and then sell them for millions of dollars. Most of the successful entrepreneurs that you may be familiar with worked 80 hour weeks for 10 years building their organizations only to sell them, upgrade their assets and diets, and then start building another project from the ground up. These people have taught themselves to enjoy and trust the process. Without that mindset, there is no success story.
Your thoughts are always shifting and creating your reality. Change is the only constant in life, whether you choose to embrace it or not. You will be a different person twelve months from now. You have the choice to passively float through your time on this planet and naturally become an updated version of yourself, or you can set goals for yourself, map out a process to get there, and constantly reinforce your mind to enjoy the climb. As the great writer Lewis Carroll once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”
Take some time to think about what the best version of yourself looks like, and then set goals to reach that end state. Once you have identified your target, shift your mindset to enjoy the process that it takes to get there.
Every morning when you wake up, you have three choices. You can get worse, stay the same, or get better. What goals are you attacking today?