In order to get somewhere you first need to know where you’re going. Visions are a good starting point but they often lack clarity and commitment. A vision is the description of your “dream life”. Why only dream about it when you can actually live it? When most people think about their ideal life their elation is quickly exchanged for overwhelm, frustration and procrastination as they start comparing where they are now to where they want to be. The road to achieving your dream life can seem like a long and daunting uphill climb. First and foremost, you must realize that you – yes you- have the power! I cannot emphasize enough the value of setting a clear and positive intention. Start by deciding exactly what you want in your dream life. Journal, draw or create a collage that details your ideal career, home, cars, and lifestyle. Follow that up with choosing to use only positive words and thoughts that support your vision.
So now you have a clear and concise vision. Good. You’re not done yet, there’s more. Your vision is simply a concept and, unfortunately, this is where most people get stuck. The average person dreams about their vision hoping that one day the right opportunity will come around so that their dream life can spontaneously manifest into a reality. Simply put, a “vision” is not a goal. Successful people know that in order to achieve your hopes, goals and desires you must make a commitment by investing your time, money, and energy. Not necessarily in equal proportions, but you must invest all three. Set the stage by breaking your vision down into concrete and measurable action steps. This will help you work smarter by making the most of your resources. Be sure to focus in on one area of your life at a time, such as career and finance, health and fitness, relationships, or personal development in order to avoid getting overwhelmed and distracted.
The best way to create goals is to start at the end point (your vision) and work backwards from there. For example, if your vision involves owning and operating a health and wellness centre in a particular city then work backwards from there to determine what steps would be necessary. To open a wellness centre, you’d first need to rent or buy property, to rent or buy property you’d need investment capital, to get investment capital you’d need to find investors or do some activity to generate the required funds and so on. Break the steps down from your vision all the way back to the present moment to create achievable goals.
Move from goal-setting into goal-getting by making SMART goals:
• Specific: own a health and wellness centre
• Measurable: Earn $500k net per year
• As if Now: Write your goal using words that describe it as already being true.
• Realistic: Make sure that your goals are realistic and attainable.
• Timed: Achieved by January 1st, 2012
Your SMART goal will sound like this: I own and operate a wellness centre and am earning $500K net per year or more by January 1st, 2012 or something better.
Use the SMART goal system to break your general goal down into several smaller goals. If you’re in a state of panic then that is an indication that you need to “chunk down” your action step to make it more achievable. Be sure to schedule time in your calendar to do something toward your goal every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s small or large step as long as you do something.
You can use this technique with small and large visions in all areas of your life. Perhaps you want to make a career change, have healthier relationships or live a more wholesome lifestyle. Whatever it may be, the SMART goal system will help you get there by taking micro-steps toward your desired destiny. Be sure to put some checks in place to help you stay accountable. Use a “buddy” system and pair up with a friend so that you can motivate each other to stay focused, use post-it notes to remind yourself of tasks, use your calendar, or any other strategy for keeping you committed to your goals. Remember, achieving 80% of your goal is reason to celebrate and time to set a new goal. This is how you can work smarter.