When it comes to setting goals, you’re no amateur. In fact, we would even bet that you have your sights set on your goals all year long; not solely in January. So, we aren’t here to edit your goals, nor will we claim to know which passionate pursuits are best tailored to your vision. Instead, we want to help guarantee that your goals, whatever they are, come to fruition.
Most people kick off the new year with the same enthusiasm they might have walking through the buffet line. Their eyes are bigger than their stomachs and they quickly bite off more than they can chew. If you stroll into any office on January 1st, the break room is buzzing with chatter. Sally is rambling on about losing a few pounds while Bob is sharing his plans to climb all of Colorado’s fourteeners. Rachel wants to respark her creativity with morning pages and Mark is unabashedly planning a big career move.
Yet, by the time April rolls around, the break room is no longer a place to share hopes and dreams. It’s just a smelly room with stale crackers, haphazard packets of mustard, and the usual grapevine gossip.
Whether you want to train for your first marathon or find your most authentic self; whether your goals are external or internal, you are more than capable of achieving them. Your enthusiasm will carry you through the first thirty days. Heck, maybe even the first sixty. However, when your enthusiasm eventually dwindles, it can be difficult to move towards your goals with the same tenacity; especially when life is throwing you a new round of curveballs.
Easy as 1, 2, 3…
Having a clear vision of what you want to create is one thing, but having a simple plan that is equally simple to implement (even on the most difficult days) is what will ultimately pull you across the finish line. We want you to accomplish your goals as badly as you do, so we’re sharing our surefire, 3-pronged approach.
Step One: Action
First thing’s first, jot down your goal in a notebook and add a bit more oomph than a quick bullet point. Instead, aim for at least one complete paragraph. Describe your goal in detail, and be sure to include how you will feel when the goal is accomplished. If you need a refresher on the importance of incorporating emotion into your visualization practice, check out this blog.
It need not be perfect, but what you write down here will be your guiding light throughout the next year. You can think of it as a source of inspiration; not necessarily the driving force that will move you from Point A to Point B. Your forward momentum depends on one critical detail: your commitment to taking action.
Oftentimes, individuals believe that they must feel different internally to create changes externally. But, feelings are fickle and not at all reliable. To approach this year with a winning mindset, we actually suggest you flip your usual routine on its head. Start with daily action, and end with elevated feelings.
Refer back to the paragraph you wrote for a moment. Who is the person in your description? What are their habits and most notable qualities? For all intents and purposes, we’ll give this person an easy-to-remember nickname: Future Self. Now, below the initial paragraph, write down at least five small, daily steps you can take to start showing up as your Future Self.
For example, does your Future Self meditate for 20 minutes per day? Great! One of your daily actions might be meditating for 5 minutes per day. Is your Future Self focused and disciplined? Amazing! Your daily actions might include creating time blocks in your schedule, breaking your tasks down into chunks, and setting benchmarks for your progress.
As you’re crafting this list, ask yourself this question: What are five actions I can take to show up as my Future Self on a daily basis?
Step Two: Thoughts
When you commit to completing your five, non-negotiable, daily actions, you will naturally find your thought patterns shifting to reflect your “new normal.” To help clear out the mental cobwebs and really tap into the power of your creative thinking, identify the thought patterns that are most likely to hold you back and write a new script.
Go back to your journal. Write down five limiting beliefs that have historically led to unfulfilled dreams and unrealized potential. Do you believe that you have to be an expert before you speak up on a topic? Or, do you avoid taking risks because you’re afraid that failure is a point of no return? What is the repeating internal narrative that’s keeping you small and on the sidelines?
Now, draw an arrow next to each belief. On the other side of this arrow, write down two things: first, a memory that serves as proof that the opposite is true; and second, an alternative belief that is aligned with your goals and Future Self. See the example below.
As you’re identifying which thought patterns will empower you towards your goals, ask yourself this question: How does my Future Self speak to herself or himself? What is her or his internal script?
Dr. Joe Dispenza said, “What you mentally rehearse and what you physically demonstrate is who you are on a neurological level.” We would add, “…on a neurological and emotional level.”
If you believe that your New Year’s enthusiasm will carry you through to your goals, what happens on the days when you’re tired, cranky, and lacking that high-spirited energy? If you’re relying on your feelings to propel you in the right direction, that direction might be pointed right back to bed. (FYI when that happens, crack open a can of our elevated elixirs to add a little fuel to your fire and keep up the good fight).
By laying the foundation for your goals with daily action and revised thought patterns, you are creating an entirely new personal reality – and as Dr. Dispenza says, an entirely new personality. You are the culmination of your habits and thoughts. Therefore, showing up as your Future Self in what you do and how you think is ultimately determining how you will feel; and when everything is in alignment with your values and goals, how you will feel is exactly what you described as your guiding light at the start of this exercise.