Planning for What’s Next

man standing beside camping tent wearing headlamp during nighttime

Have you ever noticed that there seems to be a lull, a drop in energy, after the holidays? Yes, it may be due to insufficient sleep, but more than likely, it’s because a goal has been achieved.

When we set a goal, our minds are dealing with the gap between the way things are now (current reality) and the way we want things to be (the goal). This is also known as Cognitive Dissonance – cognitive, meaning of the mind, and dissonance meaning things just don’t match. In “Western” music, it’s two notes, usually very close together, that causes our ears to beg for resolution – one way or the other.

Because we are picture-oriented as human beings, our minds want the inside pictures we hold to match the outside pictures we see. And because we cannot hold two opposing pictures at the same time, we naturally move to the strongest picture – either way, because our minds don’t care. It is only the strength of our goals that cause our minds to “care” so much about which picture we move toward.

As we move toward the strongest picture, we get energy and ideas to reach the goal. The closer we get to goal achievement, the pictures are becoming virtually the same. We need less energy and ideas, which leads to the lull.

Traditionally, for the holidays, we goal-set to decorate, get gifts purchased, make it through dinners and brunches and parties. This year, in a lot of places around the world, we’ve had the added challenge of creating new pictures for a new reality we’ve not seen before, at least not in a very long time. Dinners were often eaten alone, and parties became scheduled video chats. A lot of gifts were delivered by truck or van.

The good news is that we’ve survived, and there may even be leftovers in the fridge. Now it’s “lull time.” Lulls in the action are fine, as long as they are intentional and not a mistake. They are also a great time for a little introspection and for planning that next round of goal-setting. What do you want next? Where do you want to go? What is going to be your hallmark for this new year?

The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Break the boundaries. Give full rein to your imagination. Dream big!