Moving Forward Instead of Starting Over

Many of us traditionally think of the new year as a time of new beginnings. It’s a chance to wipe the slate clean of mistakes from the past and to begin anew. Many of us even have the same things that show-up on our new year’s resolutions lists from year to year.

We make these promises to ourselves and start the year off feeling motivated. We believe that this is the year we will finally be able to stick to our resolutions. And we do; for the first few weeks or even few months of the year. Then slowly but surely, life starts to creep back in. Before we know it, we’re right back to where we started– promises broken and feeling bad about ourselves, again.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we set ourselves up for failure with well-meaning but misguided and unrealistic expectations?

I’ve decided not to do that to myself this year and I encourage you to join me in trying something different. Instead of starting over I’m going to focus on moving forward. I don’t want to erase the mistakes of last year. Each step has led me to where I am right now, in this moment. I truly believe where I am is exactly where I’m supposed to be. I want to focus on moving forward because I want to continue to add to what has already been built.

How To Build A Vision

Some of you may have heard of or even have created vision boards. I had my first opportunity to do this several years ago with some friends and really enjoyed it. A vision board is a way to create a picture of your goals, dreams, and desires. This can be a great way to help you clarify your life direction and put you more in line with who you know yourself to be.

The Process
There are several different ways to go about creating a vision board. At the end of this post I list some resources which provide you with some step-by-step instructions for this activity. What I want to share in this post are some ideas on the thinking process that can help guide you as you develop your vision.

Step 1 – Gratitude
The first step in this process is to express gratitude. It can be easy for us to think about all of the things that went wrong in the past year. Reflecting on the challenges of the past as opportunities for growth (instead of failures), can help us take on a different perspective. How have these challenges shaped you and caused growth this past year? By expressing gratitude we allow these experiences to have a positive place in our continued narrative. I encourage you to think about and say thank you to both the challenges and triumphs of 2012.

Step 2 – Defining the Vision
Now that we have said thank you to last year, let us define our vision for 2013. In this step it is important to get specific. Think about specific life areas that you would like to see develop more fully. Identify any words or images that might capture these ideas. You may choose to focus on just one life area, or more than one. No matter how many areas you choose, make sure that you allow yourself to really think (and feel) through each idea. Try to flesh it out as fully as possible. Remember, this is not just about wishful thinking. This is about developing a vision that you intend to take action steps towards realizing in your life.

Step 3 – Building the Vision
The reason why vision boards can be such powerful tools is that they can provide daily visual reminders of what you are moving towards in your life. You may choose to create a vision scrapbook or several vision posters; each representing a different life area. You may also choose to create one large piece that has different sections to represent the different areas of your focus. The choice is yours. This is your opportunity to get creative.

Step 4 – Place it Where You Can See It
Last but not least, make sure to put your vision board where you can see it. I think it can be easy for us to create something and then put it away in a drawer or in a closet. The old saying “out of sight out of mind” comes to mind. Because this is our vision for our new year, it is important that we keep it in sight so that we don’t forget. Find a place for your vision board so that it can act as a constant motivator as you work your vision into reality.

I wish you all a happy new years as you continue to build on the strengths that you’ve gained in 2012 and walk bravely into your vision for 2013.

The following are some websites that will show you how to create your own vision boards.



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