In January our thoughts turn to new beginnings, resolutions and a chance to make this new year great.
While many of us enter with the mindset of making it our best year ever, the question really becomes how?
How do you plan to make this new year great? What are the steps you will take as you move toward becoming your next, most radiant self? Here are three ways to make this your best year yet.
I remember a few years back, it was January 1st and I was really struggling to start the new year out right with a positive, can-do attitude. The previous year had been a challenging one for us financially and it was hanging over my head like a cloud.
Additionally, I was looking at an amazing list of initiatives, goals, and opportunities to tackle in the year ahead. As I tried to prioritize, each one seemed like the most important until the ‘next most important one’ came into view. Talk about how to eat an elephant! As the story goes, it’s easy to say, “Just eat it one bite at a time,” but it is quite another thing when that immense carcass is looming.
These thoughts were how I started my day, overwhelmed, challenged, and despairing, haunted by these thoughts and disturbing dreams from the night before. While eating breakfast, I had finished reading the paper. I began reviewing our book Transformed! to prepare myself for media and the book launch. We had quite a bit lined up and I remember I was going on Coast to Coast, a nationally syndicated late night radio show for three hours on January 10 and 11, that year.
As I reviewed the book, I read the section on recognizing our deeper yearnings. Talk about being bowled over!
Right there in black and white, we had written the answer to my struggle. I was forgetting to walk the walk! We said in the book that the key to setting ourselves up for successful change was to list goals. Then we should ask ourselves why we want that goal and what we hope it will do for us. We begin by communicating to ourselves, “I want this goal so that ________.” Our book directs us to keep digging until we find the deeper yearning beneath the goal.
It was the answer I was looking for.
I told my wife Judith about the irony of how much I needed these words right then. I told her how I needed to practice what we preach by focusing on my immediate yearnings.
As she often wisely does, Judith asked me a few revealing questions and I clearly was fearing pain and problems in the future and failing to choose full aliveness in the moment. Judith helped me further clear some stinking thinking that was going on in my head. I recognized my desire for greater financial solidity and student flow was stemming from my yearning for more fulfilling contact and joy.
The takeaway lesson is if you want to make this new year great, remember that beneath every surface want is a deeper yearning. When we distill our wants down to discover the underlying yearning, our path becomes clear and focused. We can re-orient ourselves toward what we really yearn for.
Aliveness is the foundational principle from which play, truth, joy, love, and everything stems.
When we repress ourselves, we are cutting down our aliveness. Aliveness is that bubbly force that explodes from us when we laugh, when we giggle, when we cry, when we yell. These all are part of the expressive pole of aliveness.
There is also the aliveness of contained joy and excitement where our senses are heightened, and our vision becomes clearer, more focused. Our attention is fixed and the bubbling builds anticipation and excitement, a fountain of possibility and potential. Aliveness may come in the form of our anticipation of a lover, a child awaiting the return of his father after a day’s absence, a student anticipating the results of a test. Every moment of our lives is pregnant with possibilities. Too often, our moments are also filled with loss aversion—the immobilizing fear of failure that puts us on automatic pilot. Often this fear is barely perceptible, but it holds us back from fulfilling our yearnings.
Aliveness brings our hunger to the surface—our hunger for experience, our hunger for contact, our hunger to see and be seen, our hunger to make a difference, our hunger for something new. Aliveness brings out our hunger for adventure, for meaning, fulfillment, and satisfaction.
These do not come without a cost, because by engaging we will inevitably be more hurt as we open ourselves up to new possibilities and uncertainties. But by being more hurt, we have an opportunity to learn and grow. Go for it!
As you reflect on the past year and look forward to the upcoming year, you may notice times when you went through the motions but weren’t really “living” life. As you look toward ways to make this new year great, commit to seeking new experiences, new adventures, and new opportunities. Approach the world with a childlike curiosity and wonder.
If we really want to be fully engaged and alive this year, we also have to focus on our personal growth and evolution.
Many of you may have been burned in the past by seminars, classes, books, and more, all promising a fresh start. What happens after a month or two? We think, “well, that was nice,” and then we slide back into old habits and patterns.
Growth isn’t a one-time goal. To transform and truly become who we want to be, we need to wake up each day to a new assignment and a new task. We have to stretch and push ourselves toward continued growth and mindfulness. Each day and in every situation, we can extract the lesson and the learning opportunity (especially from mistakes). We call this the assignment way of living.
So, here is what you really wish for: an extended community of like-minded individuals across the country, supporting each other and working on a common assignment to bring out the best in themselves and those they touch. These individuals connect with each other and become allies as they share in their learning and growing. They inspire and encourage each other on their path.
At the Wright Foundation, this is exactly what we offer in our classes. It’s our goal to bring people together, to help them connect and to live their best life.
Each person who participates in our program receives regular assignments—a new focus and lesson each week, month, or quarter. These assignments are based on a principle, concept, or lesson to focus on personal development in concert with others.
Just imagine being surrounded by a community working on the same assignment designed to encourage and inspire more effective relationships, bring more meaning and satisfaction to every moment, and provide more service—maximizing potential for love, enjoyment, and leadership!
This is what our students and community have requested and what we strive for in the Wright community—an accessible way for you to keep challenging yourself and to keep you connected with individuals doing the same. Whether it means following along with our blog posts, reading books, downloading courses from our website, attending one of our many free networking events, or participating in our classes and programs, we’re here to help you on your journey.
Commit to learning and growing this year!
This month, kick off the new year with a January assignment and goal to live the principle of ALIVENESS every day, as fully as possible.
What does it mean to live the principle of aliveness? It means to be more deeply engaged with others. It means to be aware and mindful as we journey forth each day. That means that you orient to the principle of aliveness in the morning when you wake up and envision yourself being more alive at different points during the day.
One of the check-ins we use is the implementation intention of If…then’s….
For example: If I am at a business meeting, then I will speak up at least three times.
Or if I’m faced with a situation where I disagree with someone else, then I will ________.
If my partner gives me grief, then I will_______.
Each moment, we should plan for ways we’ll move toward becoming more alive, more honest, and more fulfilled by our interactions. If you want to make this new year great, start by orienting toward aliveness.
At the end of your day, reflect—how did you orient toward aliveness today? How did you express your thoughts and feelings? What did you learn today?
You can make this new year great! Wishing you all the joy of the season. This year commit to a life full of realized yearnings and greater fulfillment.
To join us for an upcoming event, please visit the Wright Foundation website. Join us for an upcoming networking event where you will connect with others and learn more about yourself. We also want to announce the availability of many of our courses for download. Don’t miss out on the special introductory price for many of our courses and lectures.
Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.
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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.