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Personal Development & Growth

How To Start Your Excellent Year – Part 2: Mind & Emotions


This week, we continue the theme, “How To Start Your Excellent Year”. We will focus on setting goals to support our mental and emotional health.

I will share with you a framework I learned from Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu, the abbot of Metta Forest Monastery, located in San Diego County, California, USA. Ven. Thanissaro points out that in Thailand, where he learned this model, people use these components for success in all of their endeavors.

Success depends upon:

  • Desire
  • Persistence
  • Intentness
  • Ingenuity

In this video, I will focus on the first two components, desire and persistence. Next week, I will share how to apply intentness and ingenuity.

Full Transcript

Hi, I’m Doyle Banks. I’m a life coach. And I work with people who are ready to create deep transformations in their personal and professional lives. I’m glad to be here with you today.

We’re talking in this series about how to start your excellent year. Last time, we talked about physical wellbeing and the things that we can do, looking ahead into the coming year, to improve our physical health. (Check out that blog post.)

Today. I want to have us look at our mental and emotional well-being and to provide a context for that, I want to share with you four components for success. Actually, I’ll share the first two with you today, and then next week we’ll cover the other two.

When you get ready to set a goal, whether it’s at the New Year, or you’re getting ready to start a new project, or you’ve decided there’s something in your life that you want to change, do you stop and think about the mental and emotional aspect of it as well?

Let’s say you’ve decided that you’re going to improve your health and you’re going to improve your nutrition plan and exercise. Do you also think about how that will impact your mental and emotional wellbeing? A lot of us don’t, we kind of zero in on that part of our lives and dig into that.

We can really improve our performance, our success and our general happiness or contentment in our lives if we widen our scope a bit and include different or multiple aspects of our being our lives.

When we think about mental and emotional wellbeing, in terms of how we can create success, or more contentment, more joy, more satisfaction in those parts of our lives, we can frame it with the help of these four components of success. The components are: desire, persistence, intent, and ingenuity.

So, as I mentioned today, we’re going to cover desire and persistence.


Let’s talk about desire.

Now, we all are born into the world with desire. We come in wanting to be fed, wanting to have clean diapers, wanting to be held and nurtured and nourished and desire carries with us through the whole of our lives.

Now desire, in terms of setting goals and thinking about things like our mental and emotional wellbeing, the desire needs to be true or real. What I mean by that is, I’m not talking about just an, “Oh someday maybe,” or “Yeah, wouldn’t that be great to have or to do,” or a fantasy, but something that we’re ready and willing and able to take action on.

Now, we all are born into the world with desire. We come in wanting to be fed, wanting to have clean diapers, wanting to be held and nurtured and nourished and desire carries with us through the whole of our lives.

Now desire, in terms of setting goals and thinking about things like our mental and emotional wellbeing, the desire needs to be true or real. What I mean by that is, I’m not talking about just an, “Oh someday maybe,” or “Yeah, wouldn’t that be great to have or to do,” or a fantasy, but something that we’re ready and willing and able to take action on.

I’d like you to pause for a moment. I’m going to share with you a little exercise that I learned from an associate of mind, François Beausoleil, who is a Certified Nonviolent Communication trainer from Canada and in his workshops, he often gives people this sentence fragment to complete.

It is, “I long to live in a world where…”

“I long to live in the world where…”

So, take a moment–if you want, pause the video, but take a moment and think about what you long for. And for the sake of this exercise, think of it in terms of what do you long for, what do you desire in terms of your emotional wellbeing, your mental wellbeing.

Do, do you want to be happier? Do you want to be calmer and more at peace, or what have you?
I’ll let you complete the sentence for yourself.

Now, think about what’s the level of that desire? If we use the scale of one to 10, with one being the “someday, maybe, and probably not”, and 10 being, “I’m going to make this happen right now or get started on it right now,” where are you on that scale with that?

And if it’s a seven or above, then you’re probably ready to actually take action and move on it. Now that you have the desire in mind, have it a little bit in focus, what do you do with it?

Well, one of the things that we want to do when we have a true desire is we want to nourish it or feed it, meaning, give it some sustenance so that it can grow into reality in our lives.

One of the ways that we can do this is through visualization. So take that desire that you just thought of around your mental and emotional health, what kind of state of being do you want to reach or grow into in the coming year? Visualize yourself out a year from now being in that state of mind, that state of emotion on a consistent daily basis. Feel how it would feel in your body.

Think about the sounds, how life would sound differently or smell differently, or look differently, how you would think differently being that person you want to be in that state of mind or that state of emotional wellbeing get a really clear picture of it.

And then in your daily life, think about it. Put together some kind of system that will help you keep that what we call front of mind, right? Keep it on your mind. Keep it in front of you so that you’re always working toward it.

And then every week, every month, and so on, sit down and think about that particular desire and the goal that you want to reach and check in with yourself. Am I on track? Am I taking the actions I need to take to make that a reality in my life?


Another really helpful support system we can build for ourselves is by “socializing”, that is, by letting other people know what our desires are, what our goals are.

One way I like to do this is to call upon a trusted friend, someone who I know will support me in this goal and ask them to check in with me or give me time to call on them or send them a text message and just build in some personal accountability for myself so that I’ll be much more likely to keep on track and to achieve that goal.

When we build in accountability, and when we let other people know about what we are trying to achieve, it might encourage the naysayers to come out of the woodwork, so to speak, and let us know their opinions about how wrong they think we are. But, more important, (and hopefully it will carry more weight in our minds and hearts) are the people who will become our cheerleaders, who will become our fans and our supporters who will say, “Yes, go for it!” and who will offer support, to whatever degree they can.

So nurture the desire, nourish it with visualization, keeping it front of mind, and with socializing it, letting people around us know what we’re doing, what we’re about in that area of our life.

One illustration I love to use around this is my late best friend, a gentleman named Marty. When he and his wife met, they set a, they had a real clear desire to show up in their urge relationship as the best partners, they could be for one another. And they took this really seriously. They nurtured that desire on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis through the entirety of their relationship. They would sit down and talk about the relationship and give accountability to each other. They hired a therapist with whom they worked for the whole of their marriage and would get the therapist’s help to work through challenges or to set new goals and to improve the relationship.

That to me was just such an inspiring example of how we can nourish and nurture our desires and think about our relationships and our wellbeing, mental and emotional wellbeing.

One of the things I can tell you from my perspective about my friend Marty’s marriage, is that I never had a sense that things were ever really going off the rails at any point, that there were any major things that had come up, or were about to come up, for them. And that was because they course-corrected frequently. In other words, they paid attention and gave that relationship the loving care that they wanted to give it and that it required, so that they could be the best partners for one another that they could possibly be.


Now, part of our reality as human beings on this planet is that we are responsible for the fulfillment of our own desires.

That doesn’t mean that we don’t get help along the way. We’re also communal beings and we need the support of each other. And we are ultimately responsible for our own thoughts, words, and actions and whether or not we achieve our goals.

And it’s important to understand and realize (which probably you do) that whether or not we achieve our goals is not really a matter of luck. Some people seem to have that attitude or that idea, and sadly their lives tend to reflect that philosophy or that, “I’ll leave it to luck approach.” For those of us who have clear desire, we know what we want, how we want to be in our minds and our emotions, and we set goals and we go after them.

Now, everyone runs into challenges along the way. I don’t know of anyone who succeeds on the first try. There may be a few out there who I haven’t met, but most of the people I hang around with and certainly in my life, I can count on needing to make a few attempts, at least, at achieving whatever goal or getting the desire that I have set my heart and mind on.

A useful framework or concept that I learned through or from a gentleman named Pat Flynn. Pat has a podcast long running podcast called “Smart Passive Income”, that’s just a great podcast for people who are starting online businesses. Pat often says, “There is no failure. There’s only feedback.”

There is no failure. There is only feedback.

Now, I don’t know if he got that from someone else. I’ve heard other people say that or something similar to it. The point is we, when we encounter challenges in our lives, when we make mistakes, we can take that information and put it to use so that we can come up then with an alternative or with another plan or another set of tasks that hopefully will get us moving again toward the goal.

I love the story about the reporter who was interviewing Thomas Edison and asked him something to the effect of how it felt to have failed something like a thousand times in trying to create the incandescent light bulb.

And my paraphrase of his reply was, “I didn’t fail. I learned a thousand ways not to make a light bulb.” If we can keep that attitude for ourselves and have that kind of buoyancy, if you will, or that positive frame and outlook on our attempts, if we can go into it, realizing that this next thing is going to be an experiment, and we don’t know if it’s going to work, then if it doesn’t work, all, all we’ve done is gotten more information, more data back that we can use then to get ourselves moving forward.


I have found in my own life, and I see this in my clients, that when we hit challenges and make mistakes, it’s often due to one or more of a few factors.

One is a lack of knowledge. We just simply don’t have all the information that we need to design the next step or the next task in such a way that it will get us closer to our goal.

Similarly, there is lack of experience. How I differentiate the two is that knowledge is simply the information I’m taking in to try to get an idea of how things might work. When I take that knowledge and I go to try to apply it, I test it, “field test” it and see, okay, is this actually going to work the way that I read in the book, the way that I conceptualize it or think it should work?

Another challenge or reason that we make mistakes is lack of support. Maybe I could benefit from the support of someone who’s already done or reached a goal similar to what I’m trying to reach. For example, if I’m thinking about my emotional wellbeing and I want to be someone who is more at peace and calmer in my day-to-day life, then I might want to find someone who is that way in their life and ask them, “How do you do it? What kinds of things can you tell me that would help me to achieve that in my life? What sort of obstacles or challenges might I run into and how can I avoid them?”

Then, this is one I don’t think many of us think about, but lack of urgency. How urgent, how important is this to me? Is this something that I know that I I’m going to do? I have to do? It’s necessary for my life? Or is it something much less important that I don’t want to put that much time and effort into?

And finally, there’s an inability sometimes that we have to communicate clearly what our goals are, what our desires are, what our needs really related to those are. When we can’t communicate clearly about our desires, then it’s really hard to get the support that we need. It’s really hard to gather the right knowledge to create the right experience and, and so on.

So if you’re not clear, if you don’t have your goal, your desire in focus, take the time to sit down and think about it, talk about it with a friend or your partner or someone, and trust someone who know you and can give you good, honest feedback around that.


We might ask then, what do we do if we encounter one of these challenges, the lack of knowledge, lack of support, and so on?

Simply put, we, and accumulate more knowledge. We have this thing now called the Internet and things like Google search engines and so forth. We have an incredible amount of information available at our fingertips within nanoseconds. So we can avail ourselves of that wealth of technology and information to gain more knowledge, and then take that and try it out, get the experience with the knowledge, test it out and see if it works the way we think it should work.

Reading is such an important part of success. It’s shown through several different studies that high performers, people who consistently succeed at high levels in their lives over and over again, are avid learners. Many of the ones I follow, read a book a week or sometimes more, and they’re constantly gathering information. What’s new out there? What kinds of thoughts are being generated around this topic that I want to, or need to consider for my goals for my life? I encourage all of us to read as much as we can.

Also there are all kinds of free tutorials and classes and workshops and things of this nature within pretty much every budget. You can find resources that will support you and help you in gaining knowledge and applying that to your experience.

Next, we can reach out for support. That might be as simple as asking our partner or a good friend again, if they would check in with us once a week or at some regular interval on how we’re doing in going toward our goal. If we encounter challenges in the mental and emotional wellbeing area that are deep-seated, maybe there’s some trauma from our past, then we can reach out and get help from a therapist.

We can also find support groups of various kinds online in around town. That could be anything from mental health, emotional health type support groups to just something like the platform “MeetUp” online that has all kinds of groups of people with similar interests. If your interest in this context that we’re talking today is around self-help self-improvement personal development. There are any number of groups. You can find that you can join online and meet with people, either live or online through Zoom and Skype and so on and get support from peers. And if you don’t find a group that seems to fit start your own.

Finally, since we’re talking about persistence, we can simply try again and try again and try again. Now each time we want to take the feedback we got from what didn’t work and use that to alter our plan, pick different tasks, try different things on our next attempt, and hopefully get closer and closer each time.

I mentioned when we were talking about desire that we want to feed the desire or nourish it. What I have found is that as I nourish my desires, my dreams, my goals, it fuels my persistence. That means when I have my goal, my desire clearly in mind, and I work at visualizing it, I work at getting support around it, that inspires me. It fuels me. It spurs me on to keep trying until I’ve achieved it.

Interrogative Self-talk

Finally, in this area or this component of persistence, there’s been a long running approach to meeting challenges with positive affirmation. You know, “I can do this!” and we kind of pump ourselves up. Maybe beat our chest a little bit and fist pump into the air and get ourselves worked up to try to motivate ourselves to go forward.

Well, Daniel H. Pink back a few years ago, wrote a book called, To Sell Is Human. It’s a great book. I highly recommend that you read it whether or not you’re involved directly in sales.

He has this concept that in today’s era, we are involved in what he called “non-sales selling”, meaning, whether you’re a mom trying to get the kids to do their homework or a CEO, trying to get your company to go in a new direction, we’re all involved in motivating, persuading, and selling, if you will, our ideas, our desires.

In Daniel’s book, he talks about this concept of buoyancy and keeping ourselves afloat in a sea of rejection. When we face rejection, whether it’s actually somebody telling us “No,’ to our idea or “No,’ to our dream, or it’s something that we’ve tried that didn’t work out the way we thought it would, we can practice buoyancy by using what he calls “Interrogative Self-talk.”

He uses a wonderful example. There’s a children’s show that originated in England around 1999. And the character main character is called Bob the Builder. Bob the Builder would encounter problems in each story of each episode. And rather than pump himself up and beat his chest, “I can do this. I’ll make this work,” Bob would kind of stand back and ask the question, “Can we fix this? Can we fix this?”

Can we fix this?

And it wasn’t about self doubt or sowing seeds of doubt. But, it was about taking a more realistic approach of, “Okay, we’ve hit some unknowns here, some challenges. Can we do this?”

And then Daniel Pink says, when we ask that question, “Can I do this?” Or, “Can I fix this?”, the next thing we want to do is sit down and write down five reasons why we can. I love that idea because it gives us a chance to take a breath, maybe to let some emotional disappointment kind of wash through, or process through, and then we can turn on our logical brains and look at, “Okay, how, what can I try next? What are five reasons that I can resolve this thing or that I can reach this goal?”

So that’s persistence. We start with a real clear desire, knowing what we want for our mental and emotional wellbeing, and then be persistent in pursuing it, persistent in trying different ideas, different approaches, building new habits. Maybe the habits don’t work out quite the way we hoped. So we try again. We sit back and ask ourselves, “Okay, can I do this? Can I fix this and come up with reasons why I can?” Those things will help get us to that desire that we have for our wellbeing and our emotions and our minds.


That’s what I wanted to share with you today. As I said earlier, next week I’ll talk with you about intentness and ingenuity, two more wonderful components of success to employ when we’re setting goals and achieving new things in our lives.

Thanks so much for your kind attention.

I hope this has been helpful. If you’ve enjoyed or gotten an “A-ha moment” from it, please share in the comments down below. Maybe click the thumbs up. And as always, I invite you to subscribe to my channel.

I really appreciate your support in being here in watching today. I’ll look forward to being with you again next week.

I’m Doyle Banks.

Take care. I wish you Peace and Joy.

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