Updated: Jan 23, 2020
NOTHING IN LIFE STAYS STILL. From the earth orbiting the sun to a car passing you on the Interstate, everything is moving in some direction—including you.
When you throw an object, it has a trajectory—a path that determines where it will end up. If you hit a golf ball, you hope the flight path takes it over the water hazard instead of into it.
While you can calculate the trajectory of an object before it’s launched, the math is complicated. An easier way to see where an object in motion is headed is to look at where it’s been. You can eyeball the path and make a solid guess as to where it will end up.
This new year marks not only the beginning of another series of 365 days (or 366 this time) but the beginning of a new decade—3,653 days! It's a great reference point to look back and see what trajectory you’ve been on in the last 10 years and think about what that means for your next 10 years.
When you look back:
Are you satisfied with the direction your life is headed? If not, what specific areas fall short: business, family, relationships, personal freedom, financial achievement?
If you continue on the current trajectory for another 10 years, will you be living the way you really want to?
Did you hope 10 years ago that your life would be different than it is now? In what way(s)?
As you think about your answers, be honest in every way.
I’ve noticed when evaluating myself based on guidance from other people that I tend to assume I'm doing something wrong. Sometimes, though, things are going pretty well.
So, I want to encourage you to admit to the things that are going okay in your life.
Most likely, your trajectory is good in some ways but not in others. So, acknowledge what’s going well and commit to keeping those things in process. But be equally honest about the things that aren’t, and reflect on how and what needs to change.
Plan for Change and for More of the Same
In my own New Year’s reflections this time around, I put myself through a mental exercise: What, I wondered, would I do if I knew for certain that 2020 would be my last year of life?
As I pondered the question to see what I might change under such dramatic circumstances, I arrived at a fairly amazing—but exciting—conclusion. I realized that I would pretty much go on living the way I’m living!
That suggested to me a trajectory in keeping with my life values. Perhaps you can ask yourself the same thing to discover whether or not you’re satisfied with your trajectory.
Once you’ve discerned the pros and cons of your direction, you’ll want to make specific plans to combine the change you need with the continued success you already have.
One of the best tools I know of to strike this balance is Michael Hyatt’s book Your Best Year Ever. Go through the exercises in his book, and he’ll help you discern what needs to change and what doesn’t in order to get you where you want to go.
The book was published in 2018, so this past year was my first time through the process. And the work I did for 2019 set me up well for 2020.
One of the most encouraging aspects of Hyatt’s approach is the main reason he offers for planning and goal-setting:
When you put a good plan into practice,
you become the person you want to be.
Wherever you find yourself, take heart.
Sometimes it takes 10 years to make Different happen. Two of my most life-changing dreams were to move from the city to the country and to start my own business. It took every bit of the 1990s and then some to make those happen.
And one other thought: Make bold choices if you need to.
If you’re on a path that’s not getting you where you’re going, get off. That’s it. Just stop. You need to start making a new trail. (For inspiration about this, check out my post “Life Beyond the End of the Trail.”)
You can make the next ten years your best decade ever!
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