Does it really matter if you write out a list of goals for yourself before you create your vision of your life? Most people make yearly goals, but how many of us define those goals inside of a vision of our future life? Let’s look at what can happen when our goals are made without a vision of our future life.
Here we are in January and it’s a great time to set new goals. Right? In review, did you accomplish any or all of your goals last year? Did you feel great about what you had done or did you have a kind of gnawing, empty feeling?
If you felt empty, how can that possibly be?
A year ago, you set out to do some awesome things and you accomplished them all! You did them well, maybe even perfectly. So why are you feeling so empty?
What’s missing from setting goals and accomplishing them, is a context in which your goals are a part of. If you want your goals to have a greater meaning for you, they need to be part of a bigger more expansive vision, rather than an end in and of themselves.
The Door Story
Imagine that you set a goal to make a door. You gather the resources you need including wood, nails, glue, and tools. In time, you build a beautiful door. There it is. A door. You show it to your spouse who says: “It’s a door.”
Now let’s look at what happens when you envision an outcome before you set a goal.
Before you start work on the door, you ask yourself a few questions. What’s will be the purpose of this door? Who is going to use the door? Where will the door go? What will be on the other side of the door? Who will see the door?
What if you knew ahead of time that the door was going to be the front door of your family’s new home? What feeling would you have as you build that door?
Regardless of never making a door before, you would press through learning new skills needed to make that door. You would confront any obstacles in your way to building that door. You would ask for help along the way as you built that door. You would have a sense of fulfillment as you accomplished that goal. You would be proud to share the beauty of the door with your family and friends. It would be more than just a door to you. It has a purpose and a place in your future vision that you just realized.
The door story serves to illustrate the critical difference between how you experience a goal with and without a preceding vision. When there’s no bigger context in which your goal lives, your fulfillment of accomplishing that goal will feel more than less than satisfying.
Creating a Life Story
Let’s consider creating a vision of your life story instead of a door? Imagine what happens when you don’t envision a powerful vision of your life in which to develop goals from?
Well, for starters, your life story could be completely compromised and comprised of goals that reflect another’s vision, leaving you with a feeling of being empty and unfulfilled.
Or you could have yearly goals that you set out to achieve, only to find they’re more difficult than expected to reach and you decide you really didn’t want to achieve that goal anyway. The feeling of being uncomfortable can smother and squash a goal real fast if it’s not partof a bigger context.
Unless you have a greater purpose to accomplish a goal within the context of your vision, your efforts to push through when times get rocky will be wobbly. And too often procrastination and delay take over and set in.
Helen Keller wrote: “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” I love this quote because she might not have had sight, but wow did she have vision!
A vision of our life is a mental image based on your dreams and hopes and what aspires you to be. It’s based on the values and principles of which you stand for. Who do you want to be?
Your vision should be compelling enough that it stirs an emotion within you, that excites & inspires you into action. Creating a vision of your life offers you the opportunity to design the life that will fulfill you emotionally, mentally, financially, physically, and spiritually.
Once you designed a vision of your future life, describe what benefits you would receive if your vision was fulfilled. Consider the possibility of “what if”. What if that vision came true? What emotions would you have? How would you feel? What would be the rewards? What benefits would you acquire? Who would you be?
Jot those benefits down and stand in the possibility that your vision of your future life can be realized. That what seems impossible can be possible. Start believing in this possibility!
You may not know how you will get to where you want to be but it’s a powerful place to start as you map out a plan to move forward using attainable goals. Your plan will allow you to stay focused and structured within your vision of who you want to become.
Consider trying something different this year. Let this new year be the year that you delay your usual goal setting until you have a clear vision of your future that is bigger than you. That stirs you emotionally.
Write down as many things as you can think of. Use your imagination. Think big. Think bold. Think as if “anything is possible”. Use your experiences from the past to help fashion the vision of you. Or create a vision of your life from a blank page. It doesn’t matter where you start.
Answering these 9 questions is a good place to start from:
- What do you stand for?
- How do you want to serve others?
- What do you want your family life to look like?
- How do you want to contribute to your town, your community, the world in which you live?
- What fulfills you, bring inner peace and serenity?
- What brings you joy?
- What excites and stimulates you?
- What fills your heart?
- What are you passionate about?
Have fun with this. Once you outline who you want to be and how you want to feel in your vision of your life, create attainable goals that move you forward in that direction. When the vision comes before the goal, it really will make a difference!
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