This will, I think, surprise many who would seek measure that ability to improve and accomplish things. The idea that something as ethereal as hope or belief is a critical part of accomplishment may seem counterintuitive. It is not something that can be easily measured or programmed into a planner or mapped out into a series of actions.
Why, then, are they critical?
Hope is the knowledge that something is possible, that something better than what is currently in existence can be made or created. Without hope, there is ultimately no ability to believe - after all, what is one believing in except that which already is? And without hope, any attempt at accomplishment will eventually succumb, because all the effort will be seen as plunging into a vacuum which can never offer a return.
Belief is the understanding that one can do what one has set out to do. It is the acceptance as fact that the thing is going to be done. It has been called "psycho-cybernetics" or "visualization" or "pictures of what you want in your planner" but it all has the same end: the firm understanding within the heart and mind that the possible will become the concrete. Without belief, one's actions tend to wander and be dispersed because one does not believe that the thing can be accomplished -putting action into something that one does not believe one can do will rob the activity of the fuel that makes it possible to persevere in the cold dark of wasted effort.
I write this out of the hard coin of experience: what I hoped I could do and believed I could do always got accomplished. That which I had little actual hope in or any belief that I could do it always eventually grinds to a halt or gets lost in a series useless actions that I seem to try repeat over and over - getting the same result every time.
One thing that is also important is that this hope and belief cannot be based on the idea that help will come from others. Oh, help will undoubtedly come from others, sometimes in the most unlooked for and strangest of ways - just as obstacles will also come in the same way. And counting on others to generate that hope or belief will pass the power of accomplishment outside of one's control, often dooming the effort to ultimate failure. If we cannot fuel the actions needed to succeed in the hour of darkest need, our efforts will inevitably fail.
So it matters - at least to me -as I look to building next year's goals. It is not enough to put them down on a list or even place dates next to them. Do I have hope in them? Do I believe I can accomplish them? If not, I condemn myself to another cycle of feeling like I am making progress when in fact I am accomplishing very little, a sort of cyclical running in place where I desire to do much but actually accomplish very little.