In order to move forward in any endeavor, you must envision what you want. Having finished the year end review and refined your core values, you are now ready to start vividly picturing what you desire in the upcoming year. From this compelling vision, you create your goals and put your plan together for an amazing year. This post will take you through a simple yet powerful visioning exercise and the S.M.A.R.T. goal framework.
Personal Vision Exercise
In laying out a personal vision for the next year, you are creating an image, which will pull you towards the outcome. Once you begin envisioning what you want, your mind begins to think in ways to assist you towards your desires. As with all of the exercises recommended in this series, set aside some alone quiet time, 45 minutes or so. Do this work in a space you find fun and inspiring with no phones, email, facebook, tweets, and interruptions.
Once you are in your happy place:
- I recommend that you get present, clear the decks and free yourself from everything that you are doing right now.
- Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and release yourself from all of your duties and tasks.
- Review your core values so they are fresh in your mind.
Now let’s begin…
- With your eyes closed, picture yourself a year from today. Create an image in your mind of you at the end of the year.
- Who are you? Imagine your vision like it is already a reality. Imagine you have achieved what you most wanted. Remember to let go of judgment and ignore how possible or impossible this vision seems. Stretch yourself, your expectations and your assumptions.
- What did you accomplish at the end of the new year? What are you doing? What does it look like? What does it feel like? What are your emotions? Imagine your health, home, wealth, family, work, vacations etc…
- Who are you?
- Create a picture compelling enough that you can taste it, see it, smell it and feel it.
- Continue visioning until you feel it in your bones.
- Now, open your eyes and write it all down. Don’t worry about organizing and judging your thoughts, just get everything from your vision on paper.
- Take a deep breath and reflect on your awesome vision for next year. Then start piecing together what needs to happen to make this dream become a reality.
- What are the big steps and actions you need to take?
Creating and testing goals
What goals do you need to achieve your vision?
Take each piece of your vision: health, home, wealth, family, work, vacations etc… and begin to map out the big goals you need to accomplish. Don’t get sucked into the details yet, stay with the big pieces.
- Health – gain 10 lb. of muscle
- Home – build an addition
- Wealth – increase savings
- Work – move up to a higher level of leadership
Before going any further, its time to give your goals a litmus test and see if they are aligned with your values and vision.
For each goal, ask the following:
- What core values are tied to this goal?
- What values will help me achieve this goal?
- How does this goal make me feel?
- What does this goal mean to me?
If your answers to these questions don’t support your vision/values, then go back, review your vision/vales, and adjust your goals. The stronger your goals are aligned to your vision and values, the better chance for success.
After you’ve tested and further clarified your goals, enter them into the tried and true SMART goals system. I will not go into a lot of detail fleshing out SMART goals as there has been a lot written on this system.
S.M.A.R.T. stands for:
I have created a Lightbox Leadership Smart Goal Template for you to use, make sure and be specific as possible.
The reason I like SMART goals:
- They force you to get specific
- They help you validate and refine your goals
- They map out your next actions to move forward
From here, you can begin to integrate the goals into your life and begin to break them down into smaller more manageable steps and milestones, which will create your plan.
Create your plan
The plan for next year should include:
- Your current state based on the year end review
- Your vision for the future
- Your SMART goals
- Your immediate next steps to get you going
- Milestones and a way to track success
Don’t get bogged down in a lot detail when writing your plan, because more than likely things will happen that will cause you to shift. Instead, capture the highlights from everything you’ve done and create an outline. This gives you flexibility in case you need to move pieces around.
- Prototype, get your plan out there
- Iterate, makes changes as necessary to ensure success
- Execute, take action no matter how small the step
Up next, how you get in your own way and how to ensure your success.