You start the year with a crystal clear vision and you’re excited by your full intention to make it happen – and then -it doesn’t.
You feel disappointed, de-motivated, sad even.
You wonder what went wrong.
Maybe you wish you hadn’t bothered having hopes and dreams.
Each year I run a vision boarding workshop, where people set their intentions for the year ahead, using collage to create a visual reminder.
It’s a powerful and therapeutic approach and very satisfying to look back at the end of the year, realising how much you have achieved from your vision board.
However, occasionally creating a visual reminder of what you haven’t done, can feel like extra disappointment.
Here are my tips for making sure this doesn’t happen:
Align your vision with your values and what’s really important to you:
I’d love to have a job which involves working nationally, or internationally, coaching blue chip corporate clients. However, this clashes with my current value of wanting to be around to support my teenage children. I’ve chosen a vision for work and business which aligns with my values. Consider all the areas in your life – business/career, family, social/friendships, home/environment, exercise & physical wellbeing, play/fun & recreation, finance, personal growth & learning, romance and relationships, what are your priorities, where do you want to spend the most time/energy, where do you have to spend the most time/energy, what’s the gap between the two? Is bridging that gap within your control?
Focus on feeling, rather than doing.
How do you want to feel, or what you want to experience in each of the areas mentioned in number 1. For example – business/career; I want to have flexibility, to work with people who are authentic, so I can be relaxed and authentic, to have creative freedom, make new connections and feel stimulated by what I’m learning. Can you see the difference here – it’s all about what I want to experience, rather than saying I want to do X job, for Y pay for Z company etc. This comes later – your vision starts from a broader perspective. If for example you want to increase the amount you travel, going to more exotic locations – what is the feeling or experience behind this? Is it learning about new cultures, the visual stimulation of new landscapes, connecting with new people, adventure, exploring etc.
Keep your vision broad for now.
Life is made up of many aspects we’re constantly balancing – all areas identified in number 1. By putting all your eggs in one basket your vision will be unrealistic as there will always be other things demanding your time, energy and focus. You don’t need to have a vision with all aspects of your life – some bits will just bob along, so it’s right to focus on what you want to change – what you aspire to, but it has to take into account the reality of your whole life.
This enables you to consider how you can achieve the feeling/experience element of your vision, without excluding other elements of your life. Take the travel example in number 2 – if you want adventure and connection with new people what other ways could you do this? If travel isn’t possible, then perhaps building more adventure into your life is, as well as meeting new people.
Review what you achieved last year
This will give you insight into what you feel is important. Write down all the key things you have done throughout the year; memorable activities, achievements, successes, things you’re proud of and what you have learned personally as a result. As well as a great opportunity to celebrate all the things you packed into the year, this review will give you an insight into where you chose to focus – maybe this is what was actually important to you – as opposed to what you thought was important? Sometimes when things are mis-aligned there’s some learning there for us about our values. For example, maybe you chose spending time with the family, focused upon learning a new skill or put your energies into your career, instead of getting fit/travelling/completing your masterpiece of art/writing etc. Give yourself credit for the choices you have made and use this insight to guide your choices for the year ahead.
Assess your priorities and identify what you might need to sacrifice
If the above review threw up some insights for you, maybe there’s an opportunity for you to make different choices this year? This might mean some sacrifices, for instance last year I put some time and effort into developing my business, networking, spending time on social media. This meant that my hopes of getting really fit and losing some weight was lower down my priorities. I chose to spend time at my desk, instead of in the gym! This year, I have chosen a fitness activity that will take minimal time and commitment, allowing me to continue developing my business, whilst placing some focus back upon my physical fitness.
Assess your blocks
Is your block to achieving your vision/goal, time, money, or is it your personal confidence? As with point 5, it’s a good idea to assess your priorities. If it’s money, where are you spending currently, can you make some changes, spending less on some things, so you have more for your goal? It’s the same with time – where are you using it currently? For instance if you have a fitness goal, are you choosing to spend time watching TV, or cleaning, shopping, making meals etc. Could you redirect this time into fitness? I cut corners with having freezer food on the days I want to get to the gym. If it’s personal confidence, what can you do to develop your confidence, for example attend a course, or get some coaching or mentoring support.
Consider what’s realistic
What can you actually achieve to deliver your vision, given your current reality? When I was a single mum, with both kids under 5 and I wanted to exercise I started running around the green outside my house with the kids on their bicycles following me! We must have been a funny sight, especially when my little one kept toppling over on her bike stabilisers and I had to turn back to rescue her! But this started a commitment habit, that meant I felt happy investing in a babysitter once a week when I wanted to go on a longer run.
Decide the first small steps that will get you closer
In the example in number 7, I started with an easy, no money option of running around the green – a small first step and built up to larger steps; a babysitter once a week, then twice a week. Then running on weekends when the kids went to their Dads, to running at lunchtime when I was at work, until eventually I’d built up to 10k. Taking small steps means our goal is less daunting and more doable. What small steps can you take toward your goal? This could be saving money, researching an action, making an enquiry, attending an introductory course, or taking a small trip, instead of a long holiday.
I believe in dreaming, fulfilling your potential, believing you can, rather than feeling you can’t. I also believe in thriving, rather than striving. Creating a wonderful life is about exploring and understanding your current reality and then building in the steps to get from where you are to where you aspire to be. Creating a vision board is an ingredient of the magic of facilitating change, it acts as a reminder to take small actions toward your vision each day/week/month – without those or a magic wand change is unlikely to happen!