Your Vision for the New Year

Our brains are amazing at detecting patterns. They’re even pretty good at predicting the future. And if we tell our brain what we would like to have or experience in the future, it will start to find a way to make it happen.

Like a puzzle or a project that stays in the front of your mind until it’s complete, if you sit down and create a vision for the future you would like to experience, your brain will automatically get to work on finding a solution.

After all, if you don’t know exactly what you want, how would you ever figure out how to get it?

To help, successful goal achievers have found writing a vision statement to be really useful.

Creating a vision statement at the start of a new calendar year works great for most people. It gives you a set timeframe to work with, at a time when you feel motivated to put some work into getting results.

So, let’s get to work together on writing a compelling vision for 2021!

Ok, first, a few rules for creating something that will really help you to focus on getting what you want this year.

  1. Use a pen and paper. A journal or notebook is fine as long as you’ll have regular access to it. For an activity like this, handwriting is a must. Research shows writing, rather than typing, keeps your brain more fully engaged and helps you to more easily remember what you wrote.

  2. Write a “story” about yourself in the future. Set a date and describe the things that you plan to be experiencing at that time. Be as detailed as you can. Write in long form paragraphs as though you are telling a story that someone else might enjoy reading.

  1. Use the present tense and the third person point of view. Write your story as though the experiences are happening now. For example, a section of my vision for the future might go like this: “It’s December 31, 2021. Nate has been working really hard to be the best manager he can be. As a result, he’s having meaningful one-on-one meetings with each of his team members every week.”

  2. Set a timer for 30 minutes and start writing. I’ve included some questions at the end of this post to help.

Have fun! Check in on your vision every 1 to 3 months to make sure you’re staying on track. Make changes to your vision as needed. This year, control what you can — YOU.

If you’re ready to take your self-coaching to the next level, check out my newest product for managers here:

Set aside some private time to write-out your responses to the exercise below. Turn off your phone and computer notifications or put your devices away completely. Find a place where you can spend a 30 minutes without being interrupted.

Start by describing your personal mission to your team, your company, and the world as a manager and leader. (For help, check out my blog on how to design your personal mission statement.)

For example:

Nate’s personal mission to his team and company is and will be ____________________________________________________________________________.

On 12/31/2021, who are the people who are being most affected by your work and your living up to your mission?

On 12/31/2021, who are you being as you live your life and carry out your work?

On 12/31/2021, what are the values (guiding principles) that you are living up to as you do your work?

On 12/31/2021, what skills and abilities will you be using the most in your life and work? How will those skills and abilities affect the things you’re doing?

On 12/31/2021, what will be the activities that are the most important to you? What activities will occupy most of your time?

On 12/31/2021, where will you be working? What role will you have?

On 12/31/2021, what will your schedule look like? How will your work be affecting the rest of your life?

Write down some of your most important insights from this exercise.

What might be the most important step you need to take right now to move toward your vision for the end of this year?


Nate Sleger is a career manager, management coach, and author of The Manager’s Self-Coaching Guide. His course Show Up At Work Like A Superhero has been taken by hundreds of managers worldwide. He currently lives and works in Wisconsin, USA.

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