It is so easy to create a goal just for the sake of creating one. You may have done this when going into a new year, wanting to say that you had set a ‘resolution.’ Other times, setting a goal is not about sharing resolutions, but rather wanting to conform to accepted practises. One goal, for example, is following a prescribed path like that of the conveyor-belt lifestyle. Here, you are being influenced. You may not recognise being influenced at first, but please be aware of this when you start to insert the word ‘should’ in your goal-setting sentence. To avoid this, here are six steps you can follow to enable you to stay true to yourself when creating goals:
- Look at the big picture. Create a mood or vision board.
It is easier to ‘feel’ an idea if you have a picture of it right in front of you. A vision board will give you the opportunity to bring your vision to life, and also connect with what you want to be feeling, not only in the future but right now. You can make it a fun exercise by collecting items associated with your vision, such as paper butterflies linked to a venue. I did this with my most recent vision board. I went to an arts and craft store with my young nieces and they, too, had fun sourcing the materials.
- Figure out what your core values are.
You can also use your vision board to connect common themes about values that are important to you. Are the images centered around your family, or flexibility with lifestyle? It is imperative that you figure out what your core values are, so you can use them as a compass to direct key decisions. It may mean revisiting goals that you originally wrote down, to determine if they are congruent. For me, my core values include having autonomy, and finding flow and adventure. Guess what … if there is a conflict between one of these core values and my goals, then I know that I need to rework them.
- Writing that BIG list
One of my mindset coaches encouraged me to write a continuous list of wishes that I hope will manifest in my lifetime. I was encouraged not to overthink this, so I would have the freedom and creativity to expand. One goal was to learn flamenco dancing in Spain! While this exercise is useful, there is also an awareness that you will not necessarily complete all of your wishes and that is perfectly OK. We are constantly evolving, so this means that what is a priority now may be different twelve months later. This leads me to the point to allow flexibility. And when you are facing a challenging time, where one path seems not be going as expected, be open to something greater.
- Addendum to writing that BIG list
As mentioned in 3. Writing that BIG list, you may realise that prioritizing achieving some of your goals will vary. One way to get even more clarity is to to use your core values and your feelings like a compass. With the latter, you can play the game of using your imagination: You can imagine a ‘day in a life’ of trying to achieve a goal. If your goal is something vocational, try speaking to someone who is in the ideal role. You can use this approach to discover if you want a specific lifestyle. You may have a vision to live in another country. Why not speak to a person such as an expat, who made the move? There are ways to approach people and ask, for example, by joining an expat group for that particular region where you are thinking of relocating. Once you get to experience a taster of living this in everyday life, you can weigh up if it feels right.
- Whittle down your list to six goals
We can only achieve a limited number of things within a specific timeframe. It can feel self-defeating if we set too many goals on a daily basis. So it is better to focus on what you can do now, rather than feel overwhelmed with too big a list. And why would you want to create a setting that leads to disappointment and demotivation?
One of my mentors, Dave Ruel, is a high achiever. This is not to say that he hasn’t experienced failure. He recommends that you set a maximum of six goals in a year. He has designed an effective method of turning your tasks into achievable goals. His method shows how you break down the parts so you manage your time efficiently. And get things done. The method used is the ProductivAction. This year, I started to use his Effic Planner to support me. I am also an affiliate and happy to recommend this product. There is a lot more information on this planner and training videos here.
- Going back to feelings
We cannot mute our feelings, or pretend that we are emotionless robots. In my first step when discussing the vision board, we looked at what feelings we wanted to evoke with a vision, goal, or objective. In the subsequent steps there was also mention of how, when making day-to-day decisions, there may come times where we need to ask whether a goal still feels congruent. In terms of the feeling that we want to experience once a goal has been achieved, we need to find and connect with it throughout the journey. It will make achievement more enjoyable, rather than ‘future tripping’ and then having to recover when going through a dip.