Stop Asking Dangerous Questions Before the New Year
I think about the new year with a sense of urgency, even though its arrival is no surprise. Disappointments and successes come to mind. Then I ask myself, “What do I want to do next year?” I can’t get away from that question because everyone asks me. But it’s a dangerous question.
Doing stuff matters but it’s a soothing distraction, an obstacle to the life you aspire to enjoy.
Thinking about the new year:
Think about the new year in terms of becoming before you think about doing. The most important question to ask is, “Who do I aspire to become?” not, “What do I want to do?”. Begin with values.
Ask, “What’s important to me?” before you choose something to do. Always include ‘to me’ with the question. Don’t let others define your values.
The richest possible life is meaningful. Reflect on contribution. What contributions energize you?
Meaningful goals include doing things for and with others. Self-serving goals might be fun but can’t scratch your need to matter. It’s not how much you do, it’s how much you contribute that matters.
Pursue meaning, not happiness, to experience enduring fulfillment.
Think about the new year in terms of energy. Follow your energy. Forget about the things you’re supposed to do so you can identify things that energize your brain and bring rest to your spirit. You might make a list of things that energize you and look for patterns.
Reflect on values, contribution, meaning and energy before you ask the dangerous question, “What do I want to do next year?”.
Set goals that reflect the person you aspire to become.
Set goals that pull you forward. Things you dread lose their charm and turn into failures.
Who you become is more important than what you do.
What points of reflection serve you in this season?
Rethink Your New Year’s Resolution Before it’s too Late
4 Ways to Lead Yourself into a New Year
Six reasons why your New Year resolutions don’t work
I would like to take a class on how to ask questions. Just little changes can make a big difference – Who do you want to become instead of What do you want to do. Thank you, Dan, for making me think about this differently.
Hi Rob, That would be a great class.
I just sent this to my kids: Who do you want to become instead of What do you want to do? Thanks for this wonderful inspiration!
wonderful. I hope they find it useful.
“Pursue meaning, not happiness, to experience enduring fulfillment.” I love this line. This frame a reference is important at the end of the year and helps us become more reflective in our practice. It invites a story and builds on human connection. Meaningful is not equal to happiness and happiness is not always the end goal. Thank you for the reminder.
I love that you included the word story in your comment. It’s so evocative.
This is a perfect reflection for me as I transition from my ‘job’ to the work that follows my passion. Thank you as always, Dan, for your inspiration!
Sounds so exciting, Amy. I’m sure the future seems brighter.
After all, we are human beings, not human doings. Dan, great reminder and thank you.
Nicely said, Terry! Cheers
This post is so timely for me Dan, thank you! I’ve been struggling with the question of my commitment to the things I want to do. I recently watched the Michelle Obama film portrait called Becoming on Netflix. Very reflective of what you are saying and a very good film. This is such a beautiful concept that has the power to release so much pressure on ourselves. I can become a better Spanish speaker instead of having a goal to become fluent by years end. It seems as long as we are becoming in our chosen direction, we can relax into it, knowing that all is well.
Great post! Reminds me of the importance of making a To Be list rather than a To Do list, something we can do every day of the year.