Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year's Aspirations

Why do so many well intentioned resolutions end up ending by the end of January? I deal with a similar question in my work in schools. Why do so many students with such seemingly high aspirations--to be a professional athlete, to star in movies, to develop the next viral video game--end up settling for careers and a life far short of their goals?

QISA's mission is to promote and support students' aspirations throughout the world. Here is what we have learned in that pursuit: Real aspirations are different than dreams and hopes for the future. They are more than mere goals. Having a genuine aspiration is having the ability to dream and set goals for the future while being inspired in the present to reach those dreams.  Dreaming is one thing, doing is another. Resolving is one thing, being resolute is another. It's acting in the present on behalf of my future that is the chief characteristic of an aspiration and a real resolution.

Inspiration in the present for either my resolutions or aspirations comes from self-worth, active engagement, and a sense of purpose. Consider a new resolution (or an old one you are renewing this year) and ask yourself:
  • Do I believe I can achieve this?
  • Am I willing to engage actively in the means necessary to attain this end?
  • Do I know the purpose of what I am resolving to do?
If the answers are yes, yes, and yes, then hip hip hooray!

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