Bright sunny morning here in Brampton on this January 1st, 2013 as I write this first sentence. Still in my socks and jammies, sipping my second cup of coffee, still a little dry from last night’s epic famjam with my cousins, aunts, and uncles just down the road. And, as always, my vision board sits over my computer.
New Year’s Resolutions become a little redundant when you spend the other 364 days working on greater ambitions. This little corkboard has thirty-nine images and words stuck to it. These images all represent C type goals. I’ve talked about this before, but here they are again in brief:
TYPE A GOALS: The things you know how to do already. For instance: you decide to buy a new car, something you’ve done at least twice before in your history. Nothing new here, no challenge. You can do it, but you don’t grow from it, and it becomes the safe place that keeps you from taking risks. Your comfort zone, in other words.
TYPE B GOALS: The things you think you could do if you took numerous steps to get there. For instance, you could conceivably lose ten pounds of fat if you changed your diet, went to the gym this or that many times a week, did this or that exercise, etc.. It’s definitely exciting at first, but requires continuous willpower to actually accomplish it, and willpower is fickle and tends to fail with most people. Why? There’s no inspiration behind a goal that constantly requires you to push.
TYPE C GOALS: Your wildest dreams. The things you really desire on a deep level to have out of life, but that your outside circumstances (i.e. parents, teachers, peers, lovers, etc..) tell you are impossible for you to achieve. These are the dreams that most people shy away for fear of tremendous disappointment, even though they represent the fondest wishes you have in your life.
C Type goals are simple, often consisting of a single sentence. It’s their simplicity that often draws the ridicule of our peers: we’re biased in Western culture to think that nothing that beneficial can be uncomplicated.
Consider that when President Kennedy asked rocket scientist Werner von Braun what it would take to get to the moon in ten years, von Braun could have taken the time to explore any number of technical and scientific details before answering. Instead, when JFK asked him “What would it take to go to the moon?” von Braun answered simply “The will to do it.”
The will to do it. That’s it. That’s all it takes to start making great things happen. That’s all it’s ever taken. It’s not rocket science.
Make one choice to do something great, and the means, however complicated, show up.
The trick with accomplishing Type C goals is constant reinforcement of the idea that gets you emotionally invested in making them happen. You soon find yourself taking inspired and effective actions that cause you to grow. Type C goals require you to become the next best version of yourself that you need to be to accomplish them.
That last one alone scares most people. Just look at surveys that say that 95% of all New Year’s Resolutions among the people who still make them fail by January 15th. That’s when most people throw in the towel.
Still, C Type goals are supposed to scare you even as they inspire you. They’re supposed to pull you rather than requiring you to push to get them: you wake up in the morning exciting to be moving towards something that you really desire on a deep emotional level.
Most people can’t handle the emotional rollercoaster of setting the big goals, and we’re trained from an early age to not rock the boat, to not believe that it is good or worthy to have such goals met, and so we fall back to the Type B And A goals: safe, but never satisfying.
Then, we grow up into peer groups who are trained the same way and who consider such people to be “sell outs” if they move onto the greater things. We don’t want to look like jerks or get laughed at by the people we care about the most, so we stay put.
We live our whole lives that way, most of us, in the kind of quiet desperation that inspired Thoreau’s lamentations a few hundred years ago.
Yeah, that’s not going to work for me.
All of the goals on my Vision Board are Type C goals, and I’ve been working on them for a while. My target is to have accomplished all of them by May 1st, giving me five more months. If 2012 was any indicator, a lot will happen in that time.
Yesterday I sat down with my notepad and asked myself: in addition to what I’m already working on, what are some other C Type goals I can set for myself just for the sake of the New Year?
Here’s what I came up with:
Recreate a loving, functional, and natural relationship with each of my immediate and distant family members.
Earn $500,000 for my writing, acting, and coaching by December 31st, 2013.
Finish, edit, and publish “Overlife”.
Host four book launch parties.
Appear in three national and international television commercials.
Circumnavigate the Northern Hemisphere in a single trip.
Buy a condo in Toronto.
Sign five clients for coaching once I am certified.
Sponsor one child in need on every continent.
Achieve my ideal body image (as expressed on the vision board)
Buy the new fully-loaded Elantra, the same kind I rented and drove during my author’s retreat to California two years ago.
Finish a screenplay
Walk into love. By that, I mean consciously pursue my ideal romantic relationship by actively defining and searching for the woman of my dreams, exploring the dating circuit as thoroughly as possible, then find her before December 31st.
“Go big or go home” is a cliché, but c’mon, we like to post all these big “New Year, New Beginnings” status updates and Tweets. Why not do it right? Why not dream the biggest that you can dream?
The page just turned on a new year. That’s one year closer to the end of your life. New Year’s Day is a time to think about the big picture of your time here on Earth, so do it right.
What do you really want to experience in your life, in one sentence? What’s a dream you’ve been putting aside for the sake of pleasing a disapproving spouse, mother, or group of friends? What do you really want?
Go big, or go home. It’s that simple. The first page of 2013 is about to turn. What are you going to do with the other 364?