With another year about to end, now is the perfect time to think about your future and begin to design the kind of life you’d like to be living. Unfortunately, too many people leave their lives to chance and happenstance, not taking the time to write down their goals and create plans to achieve them. This can be a huge mistake. Not having written goals would be like going on vacation without a destination, something most people would never consider doing. Yet, those same people will leave their futures in the hands of circumstance.
Having written goals will change your life. Spend some time thinking about what you’d like your life to be like. For the sake of this exercise, let’s set goals you’d like to have accomplished one year from now. Of course, you can set shorter and longer goals as well.
What would you like for your relationships? How about your health, career, and finances? How about your mind and emotions? What would you like to experience? What would you like to do, be, or have? Invest some time now to identify these things and write them down. This will greatly increase the likelihood of your accomplishing them. If you want to know more about this, there are lots of books, including mine, to help you. That’s not really the topic of this story, however I’m asking you now to revisit your goals, particularly your short-term ones.
Do they make you want to jump out of bed each day eager to get going? Recently, I was feeling “less than great.” I was even bordering on becoming depressed, something I rarely experience. I felt unmotivated, and wound up being pretty sick for several weeks. Upon closer examination, and because I agree with Socrates that, “An unexamined life is not worth living,” I realized one of the things that I had done was to reset some of my short-term goals to be “more realistic.”
What I had noticed about myself was that in the interest of being realistic, I had lowered my expectations. While this may seem like a reasonable thing to do, in reality, it left me totally uninspired and feeling pretty unmotivated about my goals. For example, if you have a goal of making enough money to “pay the bills” how exciting is that? Is that going to make you jump out of bed in the morning saying, “Oh wow, I can’t wait to get going, so I can make money and pay the bills!” I doubt it. When I understood what I was doing, I immediately set new goals. I set goals that were way beyond my reach. Goals that were huge enough to really get my juices going. Now, when I think about my new, bigger goals, I get excited just imagining what it would feel like reaching them and what my life would be like having accomplished them.
Now, let’s start setting some new goals for the coming year. Following is a simple exercise to help you become clear about your goals and begin creating the life you’ve always wanted.
- Write what you do want. Be specific. List everything you want to do, be, have, and share for the upcoming year and beyond. Rather than writing “be thinner,” for example, write “I feel & look great weighing 175 pounds.” Instead of writing, “More money,” be specific. How much more per month?
- Write each goal in the form of a positive affirmation, in the present tense (I am, I have, etc). Set goals in the key areas of your life – spirituality, health, relationships, social, career, things, and money.
- Next to each one, write why you want this and how you will feel when you have accomplished it.
- Write at least one small action you can take right now to move toward your goal.
Each day, read your list of goals, concentrating on the feelings associated with having them. The more you can feel the feelings your goal will produce, the faster you can draw it to you. Your sub-conscious mind does not know the difference between that which is real and that which is vividly imagined. Fake it until you make it.
After you reread your goals, seeing yourself as having achieved them, and are feeling the good feelings associated with having them, ask yourself, “What is the next action I can take to move toward this?” Do this daily and watch your life change.
Jim Donovan is a motivational speaker and the author of Handbook to a Happier Life. For a free ebook or subscription to his newsletter visit www.jimdonovan.com