The end of lockdown will signal a time when you can begin to be more proactive in achieving the goals you may have set out to do at the start of 2020. As a Professional Life Coach for over 15 years, I have worked with thousands of different people helping to empower them to achieve their goals. What is clear from my experience is when you put in the effort to identify and ensure that your goals are authentic, and purpose-driven; you’re more likely to find the courage to reach them. Isolation may have presented you and your goals with some significant challenges, like a lack of motivation, inability to connect in person or developing some not so healthy habits at home. Don’t be too hard on yourself because we’re all in the same boat and it’s been a strange and uncertain time. With a bit more time and space, it’s actually good to rethink your strategy, clarify what’s really important and plan for the future. Realising you may need to pivot your goals to make them more authentic in the changing times we now live is essential if you want to be sustainable in the new normal. Preparing for a time you can take action and being willing to reset on your big vision and recommit to your goals is a meaningful way to enhance your wellbeing both now and in the future.
Mapping Your Authentic Vision
Developing an authentic life vision will empower you and give you confidence and a purposeful intention. An authentic vision is the big picture of how you wish to see the world or what you aspire to become. Connect your vision with your core values and strengths; the things you stand for, bring you energy, you care about and inspire your enthusiasm for life. For example, a core value of growth might inspire a vision of finding a more fulfilling career that you can contribute in a way you feel valued for your talent. When developing your vision map look to the past, present and future. Identify significant growth points, people who impacted you, major setbacks and challenges and choices where you changed direction. You can then find patterns, clarify your choices and increase your self-awareness. Everyone has their own authentic self and when that connects with others who hold a similar like-mindedness and you collaborate and influence significant change, not only in your own lives but others.
“I also recommend you savour the good feelings that come with reaching a milestone. Too often we are good at criticising ourselves or skimming over positive experiences and not being grateful. We can easily fall into a habit of basing our happiness and value on our ability to do or be something other than who we are. These are unsatisfying ways to approach life so try to find the balance between being present and holding an inspiring vision.”
Structure Your Map into Goals
Once you have a clear vision and you feel passionate to get started on it you can begin to craft a strategy. You might find until isolation is over you won’t be able to get moving – don’t let yourself get anxious before you can take the next step. Save your energy for focussing on a developing good strategy on how you will close the gap from where you are now to where you are going and stay present. What do the action steps look like? How do you want to be? What are your strengths, weakness and opportunities? Break down your authentic vision into a yearlong, monthly, weekly plan with SMART goals; they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time framed goals. It’s important to keep your mind open to change, sometimes with goals you will be on the pathway and a crossroad will develop or something external will impact you and you will change your mind. If your mind is too one track minded you will not see the lesson, suffer from having to strong-a-expectation or miss out on what might be an amazing opportunity to grow into a more authentic version of you.
Once you’re ready to get started, be fully present and engaged with the effort and let go of frustrations about not yet arriving at the outcome. Remember to keep any work on goals about the process. I always tell my coaching clients life is a pathway not a destination.
Now it’s time to take the necessary steps to influence change in your life. Using a calendar, journal or creating to-do-lists is a fantastic way to track your daily progress and reflect. It’s important to understand the action step phase is not always going to be enjoyable or easy, some days you won’t feel like taking action and that’s ok. You might experience the fear that comes with change and stepping outside the comfort zone and this is perfectly normal too. Keeping the vision front of mind but listening to your mind-body will help you navigate the days of low ebb and help you to adjust so you can reset when your energy is back up. If goals are meaningful then you will most likely remain resourced or get support to help you, if they are not meaningful then you are more likely to not see them though. I encourage my clients to live authentic lives and to be really aware of how you’re spending this precious experience because you only get one chance to be you and make a difference – love the journey.
Celebrating and Savouring Achievement
Last but not least make sure you celebrate the moments you achieve both smaller steps along the way. I also recommend you savour the good feelings that come with reaching a milestone. Too often we are good at criticising ourselves or skimming over positive experiences and not being grateful. We can easily fall into a habit of basing our happiness and value on our ability to do or be something other than who we are. These are unsatisfying ways to approach life so try to find the balance between being present and holding an inspiring vision. Ritualising achievement sends a clear message to your brain that you value positive experiences and can bring a more playful energy to the whole process of goal setting. Having a buddy or coach to support you on the pathway to achieving authentic goals can help you accelerate your progress, find the blind spots that might be holding you back and support you to navigate toward your potential. The best way to achieve anything is to not see yourself separated from it in the first place, stay close to your intention and let the rest unfold rather than striving needlessly. I always say in coaching, “the Zen you find at the top of the mountain is the Zen you take with you.”