A Life’s Vision Needs Massive Action
Take Stock to Start Your Year on The Right Foot
“Slow down!” “Wait a minute!” These are phrases I use with my nine-year-old often. Today, I want to use them with you, too. Too often we charge in when it would be better to assess where we are first. It can be painful to look back to see our mistakes and shortcomings. And yet, it’s the best way to determine what we need to do to make significant changes in our lives. Before you prepare to start the new year with loads of new resolutions and goals, take some time to reassess your life in these different areas.
For this reason, I have found that I prefer to set my annual goals, or resolutions (it is not a dirty word), a couple of weeks into the new year. After the little one is back in school and our schedule is back on track and I have had time to clean and declutter after rounds of visitors, late night gatherings, and holiday laziness!
The following are some things I like to consider alone and then again with my husband before setting any goals:
Obligations—Ever wish you had more time for what was genuinely important to you? Now’s the time to make that change. And the first step is by looking at all the things you’ve taken on that no longer feel important. Consider each committee, sponsorship, extended family and friend obligations that no longer feel fun. If they feel like a burden, it’s time to unload them. That may feel challenging. After all, no one wants to let others down. But this is your life, and it’s time to choose you instead of others’ wants.
Finances—If you wish you had more money but can’t or don’t want to work more to get it, take a careful look at your finances. Quite often, little wants turn into needs. Scan through last year’s bank statements and make a note of any recurring payments. You may wince when you see how much you’ve spent on unnecessary things throughout the year. Having occasional treats for you and your family is okay. But if “shopping therapy” has become a burden, now’s the time to fix it. Make a list of all the ways you could cut back without feeling deprived. For example, could you eat out two nights a week instead of four? Is it essential that you shop for clothes every month? How much could you save if you took your lunch to work three days a week instead of getting take-out? Do you find it fun to have four bazillion TV channels? These are just a few ways you can trim expenses, so you can save for things that matter to you instead.
Dreams and Goals—Many people site not enough time or not enough money as the reason why they stay in dead-end jobs, don’t pursue their passions, or make real changes in their lives. If that was you and you’ve taken our advice and reevaluated your obligations and finances, those excuses should no longer be holding you back. So, what do you want really? To go back to school and start a new career? Turn your side-hustle or hobby into a business? Purchase and cook homemade, whole foods that support your health and wellness? By choosing to make those two changes in your life, you’ve now opened up a whole new world for yourself. Grab it, and don’t look back!
Clarify, Prioritize, and Focus
Visualizing what you really want in life can be one of the most powerful ways to manifest your dreams. A vision board can be a simple and yet truly powerful tool in visualization.
Vision boards are also known as goal maps, goal boards and treasure maps, and the concepts behind them have been used for generations. Still, they’re gathering renewed interest as people realize how powerful they can be in bringing dreams to life. My life and goal accomplishment has really differed from times I used boards and times I did. I need the physical board for focus and reining in my wanderlust tendencies!
Use these basic guidelines to create this tool for yourself:
- A vision board begins with a foundation. This may be a poster board, foam board, tri-fold board, or cork board. Use what works best for you. Choose a foundation that speaks to you, one that you feel you can easily and effectively build upon.
- A vision board includes imagery. You can clip pictures out of books, magazines, or the newspaper. If you prefer, you can draw the images yourself. What matters here is that images are present, because your vision board needs to be visual in nature. Seeing pictures of your priorities, dreams, and goals will help you focus on them.
- Allow yourself to experiment with different mediums while creating the images for your vision board. Find photographs, sketches, clip art and other images; then draw any subjects for which you couldn’t find an appropriate piece of art.
- A vision board includes writing. Writing isn’t mandatory, but it can play a role in identifying the key pieces of information. You want to make sure that you can look at your vision board at any point in the future and know exactly what you intended by each picture, word or thought included on it.
Your goal map is limited only by the extent of your personal creativity. It may be simple and strategic or it may be a highly detailed work of art. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what best suits your needs.
The general elements in an effective and motivating vision board are:
- Visual. Your subconscious tends to work in terms of images and pictures, and so your vision board should be as visual as you can possibly make it. Supplement the images with phrases and words as needed.
- Emotional. Every image on your goal map should evoke some type of positive emotional response out of you. Seeing it should fuel your motivation to achieve your dreams.
- Strategic. This tool should be placed strategically in a location where you receive maximum exposure to it. Seeing your vision board as often as possible will help you stay focused on your goals and dreams.
- Personal. Your vision board needs to emit positive energy. If you think that you’ll be criticized or forced to justify yourself for your vision board, then keep it in a private location so nobody else can bother it or you.
Beyond these basic guidelines, let this tool be whatever you want to make of it. Ultimately, it’s yours to design, develop and utilize as you see fit. You can add to it and change it over time as your goals and focuses change.
If you are interested in joining in my virtual vision board workshop on Thursday, January 13 at 1pm CST, email me here and I will get you ready to roll!