“Why live an ordinary life, when you can live an extraordinary one”
– Anthony Robbins
What’s the one piece of goal setting advice that you shouldn’t listen to? It’s when people tell you that your goals are too big or unrealistic. They tell you that if you want to achieve your goals, then you have to set realistic ones. They mean well. They want you to have a better shot at achieving your goals. But when you make your goals ‘more realistic’, you settle for less than you truly desire and you take the passion out of your dreams. Don’t listen to that advice anymore.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that you should set completely unrealistic goals and somehow you will magically achieve them. Life doesn’t work that way – both you and I know that.
What I am suggesting is that you create a compelling vision for your future that inspires and motivates you. And then deconstruct that vision into manageable goals that help drive you towards your vision.
You may not get there this year. It may take several years to realize your vision, but you will have a ‘roadmap’ on what your ideal outcome looks like and how you will get there. That’s far more compelling and motivating than a ‘realistic goal’ with no vision e.g. ‘lose a few pounds this year’ vs. ‘create the body of my dreams in 3 years’.
Unfortunately, most people don’t want to wait that long. We live in a culture of instant gratification. We want to have everything now. We want the body of our dreams in 90 days. We want to make more money tomorrow etc.
But the truth is, that people who successfully achieve big goals, don’t do it overnight. They do it by having a compelling vision of their ideal outcome. And then they take small and consistent steps i.e. regular daily action towards their vision and goals.
How to Create a Compelling Future
Let’s walk through the process together:
1. Identify Your Focus Areas
These are the areas of your life that you consider to be most important. We all have focus areas – whether we know it or not. So start by reviewing the list of suggested focus areas below and select your top 5.
- Fun & Adventure
- Health & Fitness
- Personal Development
- Personal Life
- Social & Community
2. Write a Vision for Each Focus Area
Now take a few minutes to write a short vision statement for each of your 5 focus areas. You should keep each of these statements to the point i.e. a few sentences at most works well. Next, you should focus on the positive i.e. what you want and not what do you don’t want. You should write these statements in the present tense i.e. as if you have already achieved this vision. And finally, you should include some passion words in the statements.
For example: a poor vision statement could be something like: “I don’t want to be over weight anymore”.
A much better vision statement could be something like: “I am so happy that I now weigh 130 lb. and have incredible health & vitality”.
It’s not always easy to come up with the right vision statements. So this is where you really need to put on your ‘creative hat’ and suspend reality for a few minutes. What do you really want? What if failure wasn’t an option? If you knew with absolute certainty that you couldn’t fail, then what would your perfect life look like?
If when you read your vision statements, you feel excited, then you are probably on the right track. If you feel so sense of excitement or maybe even negative when you read that vision statement, then you need to go back and see if that vision aligns with your top 5 values. Or you might need to go back and be more creative with brainstorming your ideal outcome for each focus area.
3. Brainstorm a List of Goals
Now it’s time to brainstorm your top 1 year goals. You have your top 5 values list and your vision statements for each of your top 5 focus areas.
Now you need to start thinking about what you want to accomplish this year within each of your 5 focus areas. If your financial vision is to double your income, then how much progress could you make on that this year? Could you increase your income by 20%?
Don’t worry if you don’t know at this stage how you’re going to accomplish that goal. The key is to identify the goals that align with your values, move you towards a compelling vision for your life and ensure that you don’t settle for less than you deserve.
In the next post, we’ll discuss how to ground those goals and to systematically break them down into daily actions and habits you can build that move you towards your ideal vision.
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