Lean in, and begin. 7 ways to simplify your vision and goals
Hard to believe but we're already so far into the year. I'm sure that I'm not the only one who occasionally feels like I can't keep up - I'm going to unpack 7 ways to simplify your life, right now.
We (and I include myself in this statement) all start with good intentions at the beginning of each new year. Listing the things we want to do, achieve, create - but then somehow life gets in the way, and boom, it's suddenly June, and then October, and then, new years eve, again. And, once again we find ourselves setting the same goals, for the next year. Sound familiar?
Let's get into it. First, you'll need some paper and a pen, or at least something to write notes with.
STEP 1 - Nail those conflicting beliefs
Have you set a goal but had a nagging voice in the back of your head saying, you can't, you won't, it's impossible, that's hard, how can you..?
Yes, ok, well firstly, you are not the only one. Secondly, you can bypass this voice by getting super clear on what you want, and making sure you have a strong reason behind your goal.
Here are some examples of some of the conflicting beliefs I have come across over the years:
Need to get fit, but I won't be able to eat chocolate or drink wine. I'll have to get up early to exercise. Don't have time. It's painful.
Want to be financially successful but my friends and family don't like rich people.
Desire a romantic partner, but I don't want to lose my freedom. Don't want commitment.
I want to start my own business but don't want to fail. It will be hard. I don't want to work all the time.
I hate my job, I want a new job. But I might not get it. I don't want to be embarrassed or my colleagues to laugh at me behind my back.
Nothing unusual in that list is there? We all seem to have similar versions of the same stories. Just different words or scenarios.
Step 2 - Write your three top priorities (or goals), right now.
Go to the gym
Find a life coach
Now, write your first priority (or goal) and follow it with, but, and write the conflicting belief attached to it.
For example; I want to start learning Spanish, but I am really self-conscious when I speak. But, don't want to make mistakes and feel stupid in front of other people. I really hate not being perfect in everything I do. But, I will also be really frustrated when I take my dream trip to Mexico and I can't communicate with people. I'll feel really angry with myself for not taking the opportunity to try my best and not worry about making mistakes. I don't want fear to be the driver in my life.
Keep writing, write out all of your excuses, reasons why not, the buts, the what-ifs. All of them. Until you can't find any more conflicting beliefs. Empty them out onto the page.
Give fear the back seat.
STEP 3 - Flip your thinking
Turn your goal and write all the things that you will gain from achieving it.
For example: When I start learning Spanish I will be able to practice with my colleague at work who speaks Spanish. I'll get to meet new people who have a common interest with me. When I go to Mexico on my dream holiday, I will be able to experience more of the culture and not just be a tourist. Practising speaking in class will help my confidence in speaking with strangers. I'm sure, in general, my confidence will improve. I'll also be able to watch Spanish language films and understand Spanish music. I'll get more out of my travels. And, will also be able to make new friends with people who don't speak English. I'll have a whole new network of friends.
See the difference? Find all the reasons why you should achieve your goal. It'll make it much easier to get every part of your body and mind on board.
STEP 4 - Visualise and feel those goals
That's right, visualisation. I know, it can be tough, but it is the quickest way to get your mind and body into an agreement with what you are seeking to achieve.
Why is that? Well, we operate from a state of feeling. We do things because they FEEL good, we spend time with people that we FEEL good with. So, why would it be different with goals? It isn't. Let's get started.
Find some time and space that you will not be interrupted, where you are comfortable and able to completely relax.
Close your eyes focus on your breath, breathing naturally. Feel the weight of your body on the chair you're sitting in. Be aware of any areas of discomfort. Let your thoughts float through your mind, and continue to break naturally. Above all, relax.
Firstly, imagine or visualise yourself at the point where you have achieved your goal. Look around you, where are you, what are you doing, who are you with, what do you look like. Take in all the details, the sounds, smells, colours, all the information you need to make this as real as possible. Enjoy the moment, feel all the feelings you have in the knowledge you have achieved this goal.
Step 5 - Ask yourself
What date is this? Where am I? What were the first three things I did to get here? Don't put pressure on yourself to have an answer immediately, answers may present themselves in the form of an image, sound, idea, word, statement, quote. The more you relax, the better.
Most importantly, enjoy the moment you are in. Enjoy the celebration of the fact that you have achieved something really important to you. Saturate yourself in the feeling of satisfaction and pride in your achievement.
Stay in this moment as long as you want to. really absorb it into your cell memory, amplify everything as much as you can so you really live it.
When you're ready, I want you to thank yourself for all of your hard work. Bring your awareness back into the room, be aware of the ambient noise around you, the temperature, the chair you're sitting in.
Gently wriggle your fingers and toes, put a big smile on your face and gently open your eyes.
STEP 6 - Rewrite your goals
Yes, you read it correctly, rewrite your three goals, but this time, you are going to be SUPER SPECIFIC and really nail what it is you are looking to achieve. You've seen your accomplishment, you know it's possible. Now you'll put it down on paper. I'll walk you through it.
But, before we start that I wanted to talk briefly about setting timelines. Timelines are key to goal setting. Why? Because they give us a framework within which to operate, measure and organise ourselves.
Step 7 - Understand YOUR Vision and timelines -
Why they are different for men and women and important for goal setting
Men and women think about and understand the concept of time, differently. Not surprisingly. The thing is, if a man is working to a timeline that doesn't suit the way in which he understands time, it will be harder for him to understand his endpoint or deadline, so to speak. The same for women.
Women understand and see themselves as part of the whole. Which means that the way they perceive time is cyclical, think cycles of the moon, menstrual cycles. We move in the cycles of life. Back in our hunter-gathering days, we gathered according to the seasons, what was available, what was in season and ripe. As our role was to gather, we have more developed peripheral vision in comparison to men. Which allowed greater awareness of our surroundings and the space we occupied, part of the whole. For women, this means that when setting goals it's important to set them according to the way we understand time. We look at things as part of a bigger picture.
For example, by the end of March, I will have contacted 5 coaches and made a decision about the best coach to help me start my side hustle.
How do men differ from women?
Men, on the other hand, are much more lineal in not only their vision but also their understanding of time. We've all heard the expression, one-track mind, well, this is particularly apt for men in goal setting. Men have a tendency to focus on one thing, and one thing only. Set them a task and they will do it brilliantly, set them two tasks, and the probability is that neither will get done.
Again, we have to go back to their hunter days, they needed to be focused on hunting, one thing. One goal. Which means for men, setting timelines for goals need to be specific, down to the hour, for some.
For example; On the 31st of March I will have signed a contract with a coach for 3 months to get started on my side hustle plan.
See the difference? Which one makes more sense to you? Not all men and women operate in this way, and you may find yourself drawn more to the timeline of the opposite sex. That's fine, just remember it when you set your goals. If you'd like to read more on the topic, I found this article.
Last but DEFINITELY not least. Have fun with this, use your own language and look at how your vision of a good life will bring in more fun, play and joy. Focus on that.
Can't keep up? 7 ways to simplify your vision and goals