Most of us don’t just fall into our dream jobs or instantly have the lives we want. In fact, most people who succeed have been quietly working at it for a very long time. They’ve been making steady progress.
The good news is that success is replicable. By following these three steps, we can each create the lives we want for ourselves:
Picture it. Decide what you want to accomplish, and then act as if you’re already there.
What does it feel like and look like? Imagine a movie of your ideal life playing on a screen and then step into it. Let yourself experience the joy of this new life.
Plan it. When you’re in this joyous state, list out the steps you’ll need to take in order to reach your goal. Begin with the end in mind, as the late leadership expert Stephen Covey said.
Take intentional action. Take your list of steps and break them into bite-sized tasks, then put each of the tasks onto your calendar.
The idea here is to keep the tasks small. That way, you’re taking baby steps toward your goal while still managing your day-to-day responsibilities. It’s this steadiness that leads to success.
Whatever you want to accomplish, there is no perfect time to begin. The sooner you begin, the sooner you’ll reach your goals.
I’m a planning junkie. In the last 30 years, I’ve tried dozens of systems, have read stacks of books about planning, have taken seminars and have used many of the planners on the market. I start thinking about planners in June. By July, I’m researching them. My fellow junkies and I spend hours discussing planner options in August. Sometimes we have to cut the conversations short because the excitement is too much for me and I honestly feel like I’m going to vomit.
I generally order next year’s planner in September. For 2019, I ordered a completely customized planner because I wanted to combine aspects of several of my favorite planning systems with some of the systems I’ve created for myself. Nerdy? Totally, but I fully embrace my nerdiness.
Ensuring my success
I always set goals in seven areas of my life: career, financial, health/wellness, family/relationships, free time, community and personal development. Then I set up a plan for achieving each of the goals. Because without a map, I’m not going to reach my destination–I’ll get lost somewhere along the way and look back later feeling badly that I fell into the trap of being busy and didn’t do what was most important to me.
When I went to set goals for 2019, I noticed something had happened to me over the last few years. My goals had gotten smaller. They weren’t reflective of my potential. And that made me feel pretty crappy. So I added a new first step to my 2019 goal-setting process. To force myself to step back and to think bigger, I wrote a list of 100 things I want to accomplish over my lifetime.
Calling up my inner superhero
And you know what happened? It was really hard. At first, I couldn’t list more than three. That indicated to me that I definitely wasn’t thinking big enough, and that I also had lost touch with the part of me who, as a little girl, believed I could do anything. What happened to my bigness?, I wondered. I spent some time reminding myself of my capabilities. I wrote a list of things I have accomplished. I called up my inner superhero, and then I gave my 100 goals list another stab.
Saying goodbye to busyness
And this time, I felt an immediate internal shift. I wrote the list more easily, and I started working on some of the big goals immediately. I’ve already begun seeing results. I have renewed energy, which I brought into my goal planning session for the seven areas mentioned above, and I’m keeping the big picture in mind, which is enabling me to move more gracefully from one task to another. Keeping the big picture in mind also keeps me from loading up my to-do list with tasks that aren’t important and don’t help me reach my goals. I don’t believe in being busy. I believe in being purposeful.
I highly recommend trying the 100 life goals exercise. If you need help figuring out your life purpose, what you want to accomplish in the seven areas of your life, or in creating a plan to help you get there, book a coaching session with me. Together, we’ll help you move closer to creating the life of your dreams.