The One Question To Ask Yourself For 2022. Plus A Joy-Based Performance Model

Photo by Artyom Kim on Unsplash

The questions we live inside of when it comes to our work usually go something like:

  • How can I stay motivated?

All great questions. There’s another I recommend to ask yourself during the holidays and approaching the new year:

What would I love to create?

Maybe it’s a business. Maybe it’s certain kinds of relationships or a network. Maybe it’s a creative side project or a certain amount of income. Maybe it’s health.

Dig into the substance of your top 1–3 answers. You may need to do some sorting if you have creations that can be grouped together. What values and identity characteristics (e.g., leader, lover, visionary) do they reflect for you?

It’s not just about the goal itself. In fact, in some ways it’s not about the goal at all. Your goals are outgrowths of the kind of person you want to be in the world — that you already are in terms of your capacity. You become that person by taking action to pursue your goals — whether you’re successful in the way that you hoped, or not.

Once you answer the question “What would I love to create?” the below performance + learning model can help you create goals and systems for 2022 that are solid, flexible and well prioritized.

Joie de vivre is the fun French way to say joy and a sense of energy or vitality. Without an ability to come back to a joyful state you’re not only seriously missing out, but you’re also much more likely to undershoot goals and shortcut your motivation. For references please see: The entire literature of positive psychology. Much of the work I do with clients involves integrating spiritual universals into how they set and achieve goals — new business, new career heights, new lifestyles. You don’t need to be joyful to start but you’ll have trouble seeing clearly and feeling aligned with yourself when you’re chronically stressed or burned out. Joy is foundational.

Goals are ideally set from an open minded and expansive state (i.e., joyful). Goals includes long term vision as well as measurable milestones on the way to desired results. This is where “What would you love to create?” comes into play. I used to struggle with personal goals because I felt they were arbitrary and limiting, one more way to “be boxed in” (I was anti systems/structure, probably because I had conformed to them my whole life). If you have similar resistances, think of them as tools for experimenting or fun containers to play in. Playing with forms that challenge and excite you supports your growth, strength and freedom.

Action flows from our higher goals and commitments (or else they happen on automatic whether we want it or not). Action includes regular and one-time actions, systems, learning and iteration when things don’t quite work. Action is where the ideas and intuitions about what you want take shape in the world outside of your head. Action will often create changes in perspective and new or richer skills.

Results mean you’re making it! Results include results in the world as well as new capacity and identity markers in you. Who are you, in releasing old patterns and creating something new? You create more than just results — you create YOU.

As suggested with the arrows the model is a bidirectional feedback loop, with each piece influencing the others.

“What would I love to create?” is a question to help you navigate and become CEO of you.

We humans are very tiny and vulnerable in the grand scheme of things. And we’re much more powerful than we think.

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Psychologist, success coach, believer in solid behavioral science and the power of tuning in.

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Casey Onder, PhD

Psychologist, success coach, believer in solid behavioral science and the power of tuning in.