The Thing About Goals

The goals topic comes up every so often in life. Usually you start to think about goals when you’re thinking about college. People ask you “what do you want to major it?” or “Where do you want to go?” This point in your life might be the first time you think about the future so seriously. 

the goal setting process begins

During transformative points in life, we begin to visualize what our life is going to look like in the future. And for the first time we feel this obligatory draw toward some aspiration. 

Let’s back up quite a bit. You’ve visualized things in the past. Dreaming starts at birth. In fact it’s more intense in your early years; easier to remember at least. When everything is new it’s a radical experience and the mind wanders onto what is possible. Remember the first time someone asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. Visualize that now. Go back to where you sat, What did the room look like? What was your answer? 

Visualization is the first step in the goal setting process. 

Before you can put things on paper and start working toward something, it’s important to paint a clear picture of what that something is. An action without a why isn’t an action worth taking. Take 5-10 minutes each day to close your eyes and sit in silence. Start by focusing on your breath. Then let the mind go. Write down the thoughts that stick out to you. 

This act of writing things down puts your thoughts into perspective. It separates you and your emotions from the possibilities that really exist. Put this into story form and your vision will really start to come alive. From there we can start to formulate a plan of action to get to where you want to go. 

Sometimes you need some motivation

Motivation helps drive action, and also the other way around. When you have a clear picture in your head, you’ve likely also visualized the possible ways everything can go wrong. This gives you options and opportunity. Procrastination will be broken with more time spent focusing on goals. It’s really easy to motivate yourself to get things done if you have a burning desire to achieve something. Even when you are feeling a lack of motivation, taking action on something that is going to positively affect your progress is going to bring on that motivation really quick. As long as it’s important enough to you!

Many people are unclear on their goals and prioritize the wrong things

It’s really hard to think about your goals when your life is consumed by your job, your family, your friends, sometimes hobbies. And that’s okay. Those things are very important and they deserve your attention. It’s also easy to get caught up and wonder where all the time went. We want to dream, and instead say to ourselves “I’ll get out there eventually”. Except eventually never comes, and your identity becomes the what-you-do rather than who-you-are. The thing about having the vision is, having this in your back pocket makes it easy to choose what you allow in your life. When everything you do is in line with your long term goals or your vision, then you will feel fulfilled and like you’re making progress. When something enters your life, or you are given a choice for something that doesn’t match up to who you are and who you want to be, it’s easy to say no thanks.

Step one focus: visualization

practice – 

  1. spend 5-10 minutes per day in silence. no devices, no one around you, and as quiet as can be
  2. write down your thoughts each time
  3. put your writings together into a story

Read more next week for Step Two. 

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