How to Make Resolutions That Work

December 30, 2005

Tomorrow marks the eve of a New Year. A time when everyone sets resolutions — their goals for the next year. But 92% of resolutions fail. This year, instead of setting goal-based resolutions, set aspiration-based themes. This idea, along with lots of interesting statistics, are in this year-end post: “Making Resolutions That Work.”

Happy New Year!

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New Articles About Goal-Free Living

December 27, 2005

A couple of new articles mentioning Goal-Free Living are in local newspapers — focused on New Year’s Resolutions:

  • The Arizona Republic
  • A book review on digital-women.com
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    Goal-Free Businesses

    December 19, 2005

    Today’s topic addresses a question I get asked quite often. “How can the goal-free concepts be applied to business?” After 20 years of helping companies be more innovative and creative, I could (and may) write an entire book on that concept.

    Since I have so much to say, I decided to create a separate page with today’s entry. Click here to view today’s full post.

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    GFL in WomenHomeBusiness

    December 12, 2005

    A review of Goal-Free Living is currently featured on WomenHomeBusiness.com. Check it out!

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    New Endorsement — Mike Veeck

    December 11, 2005

    “I thought so much of Stephen Shapiro’s Goal-Free Living that I incorporated his research into spots we are running for our ball clubs. Goals pick up where fun ends.” — Mike Veeck, Author of Fun is Good.

    I am thrilled to receive Mike’s endorsement. Although we have never met, his reputation precedes him.

    Mike, son of former Chicago White Sox owner Bill Veeck, runs six minor-league baseball teams including the Brockton Rox — my home town baseball team. Veeck is co-owner of the Rox (and other teams) with comedian Bill Murray, which is quite fitting. For all of Veeck’s teams, he drafted a business plan that begins with three simple words: “Fun is good.” This philosophy not only creates enjoyable evenings for everyone at his ballparks, it also has transformed a half-dozen money-losing or start-up teams into a thriving $25 million business. Be sure to read Mike’s colorful bio!

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    Passion = Prosperity

    December 9, 2005

    Yesterday afternoon I purchased Joe Vitale’s The Attractor Factor at a local bookstore. I decided to read a little bit before going to sleep. By 2AM I finished the book. Interesting stuff! Although our perspectives are quite different (his book is spiritually oriented, while mine works with any belief system), the underlying principles are somewhat similar (e.g., detachment, appreciation, turning something bad into something good, etc). On page 35 of his book, Joe talks about a study that was done back in the 1960’s.

    “Years ago, Srully Blotnick conducted a study of 1500 people. They were put into two categories: Category A said they would pursue money first and do what they really wanted to do later. Over 1245 people went into that group. Category B, made up of 255 people, said they would seek their interests first, and trust that money would follow later. What happened? Twenty years later, there were 101 millionaires from the entire group. Only one came from group A. The remaining 100 millionaires all came from group B, the group that said they would pursue their passions first and let money come later.”

    Passion and prosperity are not mutually exclusive. When you “have the life you want now”, money finds you rather than you having to chase it.

    P.S. This study was originally published in “Getting Rich Your Own Way” by Srully Blotnick in 1982. I have since learned that Blotnick’s work is questionable. I do believe that the premise is correct. The numbers are suspect. See the comments for more details.

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    Goal-Free Creative Blogging

    December 7, 2005

    A friend of mine, Jason Bates, mentioned that his approach to blogging is very goal-free. Here’s what he said:

    When I started blogging, it took real effort. I had set myself a goal of writing a blog post a day, and so I spent a good deal of time sitting at a keyboard thinking “What should I write.” I had this idea that I had to know what I was going to write before I wrote it. So I’d do a little ‘essay plan’ and then translate this into something that was more polished. I soon discovered that this wasn’t only a boring process for me, but it was also (from my lack of readers) pretty boring for people to read… it seemed to lack spark. I turned in despair to a friend who was a successful blogger who gave me this advice:This is a wonderfully creative way to write. Rather than thinking through the structure and content intellectually, you allow the words to flow in unpredictable ways.

    “If you don’t surprise and entertain yourself with what you are writing… your audience won’t be surprised or entertained either! It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be you!”

    Wow! It really hit me… and that day I started a blog post with a thought, but no idea as to where it would take me, and that’s how I’ve written ever since. When it’s going well, the words just flow out of me… surprising me with the unexpected direction. But, you know, I’ve realized that I am blogging now because I enjoy it, rather than to “look good” in front of my audience. It’s a very different feeling!

    Of course I have to spell check, and reword sometimes… but that’s just cleaning up the insights that appear, it’s a million miles away from planning the piece from the start.

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    Goal-Free Living in The Costco Connection

    December 2, 2005

    Today, the December issue of The Costco Connection is out. I was asked to take part in a debate on whether people should make New Year’s Resolutions. Guess which side I took. If you guessed “no” — the obvious answer — you are wrong. I was asked by the magazine’s editor to take the “yes” position. So I did…gladly.

    I am not against resolutions. I am against goal-based resolutions. Myopic, specific, destination-oriented resolutions. Instead, people should set “themes.” Broad, empowering, one-word resolutions. Being goal-free is different than being goal-less. Goal-free means having a sense of direction — not a destination — and then playing full out meandering with purpose. Your theme is your direction. Your compass for living passionately in the New Year.

    Read all about it in the December The Costco Connection.

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    Why Goal-Free?

    December 1, 2005

    Earlier this week I had a nice reunion with a friend of mine from high school, Mary. Mary was an excellent student and went to a top notch university. Everyone had high hopes for her. Medical school seemed like the likely candidate. Then, right after graduation, she moved out to Wyoming and became a ski instructor. No medical school. No “real” job. She made enough money on the slopes to get by. Later, she decided she wanted to do a bit more — to make more of a difference in others. Therefore, she got her masters degree in education (of course while frequently skiing). She now teaches high school students during the day. Most days after work, she goes cross country skiing. During the weekends, downhill is her game. She plays the saxophone in a small, local band for fun. And she really enjoys her life. She describes it as taking retirement at 22. The goal-free approach resonated with her.

    She asked me about the other people I met during my travels and the reasons they lived goal-free. Of course, the answers were many and varied. Some started that way early in life. Others changed due to job loss or a health problem. Sometimes it was a surprising opportunity that took their life in a different direction. Through this conversation, I learned the reason why Mary lives the way she does. Something I never knew. Mary’s sister died at the young age of 16. Mary decided she did not want to waste one day of her life. For years she believed that she might die young too. Every day is precious. Mary is now in her 40s and is still enjoying life…now.

    Goal-Free Living is not the same as “living each day as though it were your last.” And it is not about becoming a ski instructor just because you enjoy skiing. It is about finding something that calls you forward; a burning in your belly that pulls you into the future, rather than having to push your way through the barriers, hindrances, and obstacles of life. It’s about being present to every moment, playing big and bold while finding pleasure in the simplest things.

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