December is the perfect time of year to think about where you are and where you want to be this time next year.
If you don’t know where you’re going or where you want to go, it’s really hard to get there.
Realizing our dreams and achieving our goals requires being intentional in deciding exactly what we want, narrowing our focus, creating an obstacle-proof plan, and then taking massive action to create our desired results.
Goal Setting Is A Spiritual Practice
Some people view goal setting as simply a way to be more productive. Others shy away from goal setting because they believe that focusing on the future diminishes their experience of the present moment. But I view it as a spiritual practice. When you ask yourself “what do I want to do with this one precious life I’ve been given?”, you’re getting to the core of your very purpose. Imagine you’re at the end of your life looking back. What would you want to have done? What would have mattered the most to you? Good questions invite good answers, so write down these questions and then answer them in writing.
Then think about how you can start making progress toward your lifetime goals in the next year. Write down the question: “What do I want to do with this next precious year of life that I have the privilege of living?”
Do you want to have a new job? Or finally get that promotion? Maybe it’s writing that book you’ve been wanting to write?
Or maybe it’s not the “what” you want to do differently, but the “how.” Your goal might be to show up as the mom you want to be. Not a “perfect” mom, but an authentic, happy, peaceful mom with your kids. Maybe you love your job but you want to figure out how to show up more confidently and stop holding back. Or maybe you’re ready to finally figure out how to get control of your time and your life, and learn how to plan so you can stop feeling so overwhelmed.
Whatever it is, take some time to allow yourself to imagine a better version of your life. Nothing that you truly want is impossible. It is available to you if you set an intention and commit to getting it.
Ask Your Future Self
A powerful exercise is to write a letter from your future self. This is the part of you that already knows what you want to do. She already knows that you’re capable of doing and having what you want in your life. We all have a future self that is a source of inner wisdom. She (or he) will guide us, if we’ll just ask.
A good way to get in touch with your future self is to write down three questions:
- What should I stop doing that I’m currently doing now?
- What should I start doing that I’m not currently doing?
- What should I continue to do that I’m already doing?
Really do this on paper. Sit down, write the questions, and then write down your answers. What is your future self telling you to change?
Decide And Make A Plan
Once you know what you want, you need to create a plan for making those changes.
Our brains get overwhelmed with too many changes and are already resistant to change in general, so I recommend that you constrain your focus to one major goal per quarter. This will be your focus goal.
Decide now the order of your focus goals: which do you want to achieve in Q1, Q2, etc.? You can still work on more than one thing each quarter, but your focus goal is going to be the main event.
For example, if you have the goals of losing 20 pounds and writing a book, your brain will not like starting both of those at the same time. You’re likely to have more success if you stagger your goals. For example, you can focus on the weight loss in Q1 by changing your eating habits, meal planning, adding in exercise etc., while you write down ideas for your book in a journal as they occur to you. Then in Q2, when you’re already used to the healthy habits, you can focus on sitting down to start writing chapters of your book without reaching for chocolate to get you through the discomfort and sabotaging your weight-loss goal.
Plan ahead but be nice to yourself when planning. You need to set yourself up for success!
Imagine Your Success
Imagine yourself where you want to be. Think about how amazing it will feel when you get there. How will your life be better when you’ve achieved it? Taste the sweetness of that success now. That feeling can help propel you to make the changes you need to make.
Write down your goals in several places. Carry them with you in your wallet and read them everyday. Keep them top of mind so that next year at this time, you’ll be celebrating your successes and triumphs.
There’s nothing better than actually becoming the person you know you were meant to be.
Go forth, grow, and bloom.
P.S. If you need help clarifying your goals, creating a plan to reach them, or taking massive action, let’s talk in a free strategy session to get you where you want to be.