Like most of us right now, I am thinking about my goals for the New Year. Whether it is professionally or personally, we all look to the future with hopes, thoughts and plans on how to do more, make more and be more.

But with all the desires and aspirations we have, how do we decide what makes the list and what doesn’t?

We look to Heart in a Box …

In this recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy, the doctors harvest a heart for transplant. Normally, the organs are placed on ice and transported. This heart is placed on by-pass outside of the body so that it never stops beating. When the recipient dies before the transplant is complete, the doctors look to find a new recipient for the heart, leaving Dr. Yang to monitor the heart and make sure it doesn’t stop beating.

With nothing but time on her hands until a recipient is found, Yang works on her “Surgery Wish List.” It’s her list of any and every surgery she wants to complete in her career. The former Chief of Surgery stops by to offer her some wisdom …

… and Yang spends the rest of the episode trying to figure out the meaning behind the Chief’s advice and what this Heart in a Box is supposed to tell her.

{{SPOILER ALERT}}

The point the Chief was trying to make is Dr. Yang was thinking too small. She was sitting in a room with a beating heart inside a box. She was in the presence of a miracle!!!┬áBut she was making a wish list of things that were unimpressive. She was making a list of things that had already been done before. She was looking at a beating heart in a box … yet she was unable to think outside the box.

We often do the same thing in our own lives. Amazing things are happening all around us and, despite difficult times, opportunities abound. However, when we’re given the opportunity to set goals and make plans for ourselves or the organizations we work within, we stay inside the box.

So here’s the challenge for you (and me) for the New Year. When you are making your list of resolutions or goals or plans or whatever you call them, think about the “heart” inside your “box.” What excites you? What are you passionate about? What miracles, blessings and unexpected achievements have you seen this year? Reflect on that, THEN look at your list for next year. If it is not more miraculous, more awesome and more accomplished than your current predicament, scrap the list and start again! Stretch yourself. Push the boundaries. Seek excellence.

Need help or more inspiration? Check out this video from William Tincup discussed in a previous post and this fantastic article from HR pro and blogger, Charlie Judy.

Happy New Year! I look forward to continuing the journey with you …