Where Are You Going In 2016?: One Simple Tool To Get You On The Right Path

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Happy New Year! I can't deny the burst of new year energy that I feel right now. I want to harness this momentum and ride it for the rest of 2016.  While I know some people roll their eyes and get cynical about new year's resolutions and setting goals, I fall into the camp that believes having goals to shoot for is how you get to where you want to go in life.

But sometimes just writing down a laundry list of things you want isn't that inspiring or exciting. And sometimes it is difficult to write down what you want when you have that little voice inside your head telling you that it is unrealistic or unreasonable.


Elite athletes, top executives, and mega movie stars credit the power of visualization in helping them achieve their goals. Whether it is picturing playing the perfect game, delivering an inspiring speech, or having the perfect audition, visualizing your success is a way to focus your thoughts on success rather than failure.

Far too often, when we think about what we want, our brain defaults to all the reasons why we can't have what we want. Our brains naturally focus on the obstacles. We are trained to think about the dangers in our path in order to protect ourselves. When we use visualization techniques we consciously shift our awareness, overcome our bias towards fear, and focus on what we really want. 


One visualization technique that helps me overcome the voice of fear and allows me to focus on what I want to achieve is a creative writing exercise I call the "Thank You Speech". It is modeled after the "Funeral Exercise" from "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by the late great Stephen Covey. In this exercise I imagine myself at an award ceremony that takes place at the end of the year. At this ceremony, I am receiving an award for having an outstanding year. As I sit in the crowd I listen to speeches about me from friends, family members, colleagues, and clients. In each speech, they touch on the type of person that I am, why I'm important to them, what they appreciate about me, and how I have impacted their lives. Finally, it is my turn to go up on stage, receive my award, and give my thank you speech. In my speech, I talk about what I am grateful for accomplishing this year. I talk about why my accomplishments are so important to me, what my success means to me and how it impacts my family and community. And lastly, I talk about what my life looks like and feels like today after having such an outstanding year. 

Here are some questions to help you with this exercise:

  • Who will speak at your ceremony? You can choose important people from each of the areas of family, friends, clients, and colleagues. 
  • What do you want them to say about you? Who do you want to be in their eyes? How do you want to impact their lives?
  • What would you be proud of accomplishing this year? What would make this year outstanding? Why are these goals important to you?
  • What challenges are you proud of overcoming this year?
  • What does it feel like to achieve your goals? 
  • What does your life look like now that you have achieved your goals? Who do you get to spend your time with? What do you do? Where do you go? What do you get to experience?

As you write, don't hold back, be generous, give yourself everything that you want, assume everything has gone your way this year. Remember, athletes envision themselves hitting the winning shot. There is no room for doubt in the visioning process.  

By doing this exercise you should have a compelling vision for who you want to be, what you want to accomplish in 2016, and an understanding of why these goals are important to you. 

What do you want to accomplish in 2016? What do you want to work towards this year? Do you want a new job, to change careers, get a raise, a promotion, start your own business, write a book, spend more time with family, travel? I would love to hear how this exercise helped you. Please comment below.