As a new year rolls around, I am struck with the image of many people rushing to write down a list. This list is often referred to as “New Year’s Resolutions,” “Annual Goals,” “Some Things I Might Accomplish This Year,” or “My Annual To-Do List.” Based on the words that are used and the commitment level of the individual, they might just have a good chance of accomplishing what they put to paper. Research indicates that you are 4 times more likely to accomplish something if you commit it to paper. The percentage increases when you articulate your written goals to someone who will help keep you accountable. The problem with most New Year’s Resolutions is that they are never written down. Yogi Berra once said, “A plan in your head isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” You have to think awhile about Yogi’s quotes to understand them.
One of the things I do as a personal coach to business executives and professional athletes is help them envision their dreams and accomplish their goals. We also work on their “to-do” list. During a time of personal reflection over the holidays, I have been thinking that I focus a lot on my own “to-do” list. We can get so wrapped up in obsessing over what we need to accomplish for that day, month, or year, that we lose sight of who we are becoming in the process. We focus more on our “to-do” list than our “to-be” list.
My challenge to you as well as myself is to focus on your “to-be” list in this upcoming year. As a word of warning, this process will take a lot of deep thought and some time of personal reflection. Some of you may not want to spend the time to go through this process, but, trust me, the return is well worth the investment. To develop your “to-be” list, you will need to ask yourself questions such as:
- Who am I?
- Who am I becoming?
- Who do I want to be?
- What values do I stand for?
- What is most important to me?
These 5 questions can become the start to unleashing a freedom to discover who we really were intended to become. The answers to these questions can provide a passion to pursue the life we always dreamed of living. The sad part is that some of us never realize we have the freedom to ask ourselves these questions.
Once you go through this process, you will begin to develop your “to-be” list. My father-in-law often jokes about sitting back and celebrating his “IS-Ness.” The end result is not just to relax in a recliner and celebrate your “IS-Ness.” The result of this process is that your “to-do” list begins to flow out of your “to-be” list. The new math becomes BE = DO. Getting in touch with who we were created to be allows us to pursue the things we really should be doing. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Do the things at which you are great, not what you were never made for.” I hope you become all of who you are in everything you do!