I like to believe that everyone’s ultimate vision is to lead an extraordinary life. By that I mean doing what you love and loving how you do it. And I’m not talking about just what you do for a living but what you do in every aspect of your life. Goals are not just for women who work outside the home, they are for everyone who wants to feel better and feel like they are living a life with purpose.. You give your vision and yourself a Big Voice when you set goals. These are the things that will propel your vision forward. These are the things that will let you be heard. As you achieve them you will create more joy and ensure you are living in alignment with your life vision.
When you write out your goals, you’re creating an external representation of your internal desires and reinforcing their value. Setting tangible goals allows you to break the big dreams of your vision into bite-size, achievable steps. But more importantly, goals hold you accountable. They get you out of that “if only” rut that so many of us fall into: if only I had this or if only I had that, I’d be happy. You can’t allow “shoulds” into your vision and you can’t allow “if onlys” into your goals.
Part of goal planning is becoming that person who is joyful and happy today even though you haven’t yet achieved your total vision. Goals allow you to celebrate your successes along the way. Celebrating is important. Celebrating reinforces your commitment. And more importantly, it re-patterns your brain to strive for more successes. To be effective goals should be S.M.A.R.T.
Get exceptionally clear about what you are going to accomplish. The more specific you are the easier it is to accomplish a goal and celebrate it. So rather than saying I’m going to lose 20 lbs. this year, you could say I’m going to stop drinking soda today.
Set goals that you can measure. If you can’t measure it, then it isn’t specific enough. You can’t celebrate what you can’t measure. Don’t assume because one of your goals is a feeling, i.e. I want to feel more gratitude, that it can’t be measured. It can. All you have to do is assign your feelings a scale where maybe 1 is I feel no gratitude and 5 is I feel gratitude for everything around me. Each day you give yourself a number based on how you feel.
Nothing gets done if you can’t take action. Make sure your goals are realistic and within your control. If you have to wait on someone else to do something before you can accomplish your goal then you’re back to relying on “if only.”
If something is going to get accomplished is must have a non-negotiable deadline. Set it and hold yourself accountable to it.
Your vision encompasses your entire life, so your goals need to do so as well. You’ll need to balance your goals in four categories:
Make sure that the goals in one category are not in conflict with the goals in another.
So, create a couple of short-term (3 months) and long-term (12 months) goals in each category. Next identify the top action steps you’re going to take to accomplish them. Then finally, you need to identify what you want to avoid the most – these are your away values. To make it easy for you I’ve included a goal worksheet you can use.
Away values are the things you are patterned to do that no longer serve you. They are the things that will cause you to self-sabotage and not achieve your goals. Examples of away values might be passivity, perfectionism, or judgement. Write these down next to your goals so you don’t lose sight of them. It seems like it would be easy as figuring out what we want but we also need to keep sight of what stands in our way.
Every day I recommend that you review your goals so that they are set deep into your subconscious and conscious mind. At the same time review your away values. Were you able to keep them from interfering in the action steps you needed to take today to achieve your goal? If not, how will you keep them from interfering in the future? It is only when we are vigilant that we are able to re-pattern our brains to lead an extraordinary life and to find our Big Voice.