I believe having purpose and focus sets us on a path to happiness. Without a destination we kind of fumble our way through life and it’s easy for us to get distracted and feel a little lost, which brings uncertainty and can lead to sadness or anxiety. Once you know what you want you can then map out in small steps how to get there and that’s exciting because all of a sudden you can see that reaching your goals may just be achievable. Setting goals is like creating a life roadmap that guides you in the right direction and helps you stay on track to reach your dreams. When we achieve things, it makes us feel fulfilled and this brings happiness. So, imagine if you could achieve all your heart desires? You would feel freaking awesome and that’s what goal planning can do for you.
I love bringing my goals to life by creating a vision board. I’m very visual and if I can visualise or see my goals daily then this is a helpful reminder to keep me on track. If you write your goals down it’s so easy to put them in a drawer and forget about them. So, I’m going to give you a quick how to on setting achievable goals and how to bring them to life through creating a vision board. Sound good? Ok let’s get started.
What is your purpose
Finding your purpose means finding a way to use your unique skills and passions in life. To have purpose is to have fulfilment, which I believe can lead to a happier life. For some people they find their purpose early on and for others it takes time, months, years of reflecting and exploring to find their true purpose. There is no hard-fast rule when it comes to your purpose in life and each person’s journey is unique and personal to them. Below are some questions from the MI goals diary that will help you to understand the intersection between your passions, your skill and what will most add value.
Answer these questions:
1. What situations get you really excited? Describe what you do and who you’re with
2. What subjects do you enjoy learning about?
3. What activities do you do, even when it’s not fun?
4. What do you find easy that other people seem to struggle with?
5. What do you love doing that also helps other people?
6. Write down three things that make you happy
7. Write down three places that make you happy
8. Write down three things that you’re good at
Before we get down to our goal planning it’s important to reflect and acknowledge the wins and lessons learnt. We can’t go forward without looking back. So, start off by writing down the following:
1. Write down three things you have achieved this past year that you are most proud of
2. Write down the important lessons you’ve learnt this year
3. Write down what you’re focusing on in the next 12 months
4. Write down three things you can’t wait for in the next 12 months
Rate your life
It’s good to get an understanding of where you’re at in your life now to highlight the areas that you want to work on. For each category below write down the number that best represents you now. It would be useful to visit this in a year’s time to see how much progress you’ve made. Circle below which is most relevant to you.
1. Work on this 2. Satisfied 3. Feeling awesome
Relationships: 1 2 3
Health & fitness: 1 2 3
Career/ business: 1 2 3
Finances: 1 2 3
Travel & adventure: 1 2 3
Spirituality: 1 2 3
Hopefully you’re getting a good sense of all the things that make you happy and a good idea of your skill set and passions. You should also be able to see the areas of your life that need adjustment or further work. This should be a good base to start working on your goals.
Create and maintain momentum using the SMART goal system
Set goals that you are passionate about. It you set goals for the sake of setting goals then you’re more likely to not achieve them. When setting goals ask yourself am I really committed to this? Does this set my heart on fire?
When setting goals use the SMART goal setting principle to help write and confirm your goals.
SPECIFIC: Be specific about your goal, often vague goals don’t work. For example, if you want to save a certain amount of money by a certain time. Map out how much you need to save a week and give it a time frame etc
MEASURABLE: Can you measure the out-come of the goal? Concrete criteria helps you stay on track, so you can have a benchmark to work from.
ACHIEVABLE: Is the goal actually attainable? We should dream big, but you also need to be realistic and live within our own reality. If buying a house is part of your dream and you work hard to save a deposit over a certain amount of years etc this could be your reality. If you decide that you want to be the next Beyoncé but can’t sing you’re probably living in a fantasy world.
RELEVANT: Make sure your goals are relevant to your values and actually matter to you.
TIMELY: Set a timeframe to make it more real and increase urgency.
BRAOD GOAL EXAMPLE: I want to grow my business in 2019.
SMART GOAL EXAMPLE: I will expand my product range by 30% in the first two months of 2019 to give customers more choice, launching a social media campaign to promote our new range to increase awareness and to grow our audience. I will put x amount into PR and target key opinion leaders and relevant publications. This will help grow my business and increase my revenue by x amount.
Remember to dream big don’t just set goals that are easy to achieve. Go out of your comfort zone because that’s where the magic happens.
Now go ahead and brainstorm some ideas and come up with your goals. I would say 1-10 goals is enough. With each goal ask yourself what do I want to accomplish, why, when and how. List your key milestones and write a to do list to achieve them.
Now that you have crystal clear goals in place you are now ready to work on your vision board.
How to create a vision board
What you will need: A3 cardboard, glue stick, scissors, magazines, small mementoes, postcards, images from Pinterest, personal photos – essentially anything that will help bring to life your goals and dreams.
1. If you followed the steps above, you should now have crystal clear goals for 2019. If you haven’t done the work, go back and follow my steps. I promise this will make all the difference.
2. It’s easy to get distracted by pretty picture in magazines or on Pinterest. Keep on track by referring to your goals that you worked on above. You want to chase your own dreams not someone else’s dreams. Stay authentic to you and stay on track.
3. Find pictures of how you want to feel not what you want. If you want a car find a picture of the exact car driving in a beautiful scenery with the roof down and now picture yourself in that car and think about how you might feel – is it freedom, excitement? etc That vs a picture of car in a dealership is going to get you more excited and help visualise you in that moment and therefore you are more likely to stay motivated and focused.
4. You can put all you goals onto one board, but you could also separate them and have one for work/business or even your love life or health. There’s no rule it’s purely down to what works best for you.
5. Cut or print out any pictures, quotes, words that help bring your goals and dream to life. Carefully arrange them onto your board. When you’re happy stick them down.
6. Place your vision board somewhere visible that you’ll see every day. The bathroom, bedroom or office is a great place and will help you get your day started right.
7. Dreams need actions so make sure you review daily/weekly and set small steps each week to ensure you stay on track towards hitting your end goal.
8. Choose a friend or family member to be your accountability partner and ask them to check in with you weekly or monthly to see where you’re at.
I know for a lot of people reading this you’ll be thinking I don’t have the time but trust me you do, or you just need to make time. You could nail this in a couple of afternoons. Book the time in your diary as you would with any other appointment. If you have kids ask your husband, friends or family to take them off your hands for the afternoon. There is always a way you just need to make it happen. I hope the above gets you excited and helps you on your way to achieving all your heart desires this year. Let’s make this the best year we can, because you all deserve it, we all do. Happy New Year and here’s to a brighter year ahead.