Happy New Year! As I sit here this morning, I am reflecting on how to make 2015 magical! How can I ignite this year with passion and purpose, experience greater joy and garner true fulfillment in my day-to-day routine? How can I find a balance between striving for more and relishing in the present moment? Where is the balance?
What I have discovered through the course of the past year is that there are two distinct ways of approaching goal setting. One begins with your head, and the other with your heart.
Most people approach the New Year by contemplating what they would like to change about themselves and their life situation in the upcoming year. Often the same goals arise year after year and are centered upon making more money, upgrading or acquiring more possessions and losing weight or improving health and fitness. These are what I consider head-based or “outward” goals. You end up striving towards a particular outcome without contemplating how you will feel when and if that end is reached.
Rather than setting “outward” goals, imagine if you instead contemplated how you want to feel this year. Instead of approaching the year with the same old intentions of “I want to lose 20lbs” or “I want to increase my income by $10,000”, consider instead why it is that you want to reach these goals. Perhaps at the root of wanting to make more money you are truly yearning to experience more freedom and travel. With that knowledge, if you work late every day without vacations to reach your financial goal you might feel very empty, burnt out and unfulfilled at the end of the year even though you reached your target.
I suggest a shift in your approach that takes “outward” goals and shifts them to an “inward” and more personal space. Grab a piece of paper or journal right now and take ten minutes to complete this simple exercise.
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Close your eyes, and imagine that it is New Years Eve heading into 2016. You are reflecting back on 2015 and all that you have accomplished through the year. It has been an amazing year, and you feel at your best. Fully immerse yourself in this visualization and imagine what you are wearing, your physical appearance, your surroundings and the people with whom you are spending time. Take a deep breath and visualize the emotions that you are feeling as you reflect upon this past year, having lived it as your best self. Once you have a clear sense of how you are feeling, open your eyes and start writing. Start with the emotions that you were feeling, followed by the details of the scene that you imagined. Once you have captured these elements, I want you to reflect upon what you would have to change in your life this year for your visualization to become a reality. Based from these realizations is how you will set your goals for 2015.
Perhaps you visualized yourself toned and lean in a fabulous cocktail dress entertaining family and friends on a New Years vacation in Maui. You are feeling joyful, connected, confident, vibrant, energetic and alive. You would proceed to write down specifically how you visualized yourself and how you were feeling. Now what would it take to become that person? Perhaps you would need to lose 20 lbs, save money for your vacation and reconnect with old friends that you have been neglecting to spend time with. Now how will you reach those goals? You might realize that if you cut down your T.V. time by 3 hours each week that you would have time for the gym. You will need to stop caving into your habits of eating that bowl of ice cream or bag of chips every night. Also you realize that you need to schedule regular dates with your friends to catch up and become more connected and part of their lives. You realize that to afford the trip to Maui you will need to either save or make more money this year, and vow to cook more at home and eat out less (which also helps your weight loss goal!)
So your goals for 2015 become the following:
In 2015 I will feel more confident, vibrant, energetic and alive by losing 20lbs. I will have reached my goal weight of 135lbs by June 1st, 2015 through changing my habits in the following ways:
- Exchange 3 hours of T.V. time each week for doing yoga or going running.
- Keeping junk food out of the house and not snacking after dinner.
In 2015 I will feel more joyful and connected by strengthening my relationships with good friends. I will do so by:
- Phoning my 3 closest friends once per month and scheduling in-person get-togethers at least once every 3 months.
In 2015 I will feel more freedom and adventure by taking a trip to Maui with friends and family. I will afford this trip by:
- Eating out only once per month instead of weekly and putting the money saved towards my vacation.
- Making my coffee at home instead of stopping for my daily Starbucks latte.
Write these goals out on cue cards or in a journal and keep them beside your bed. Make sure to read them on a daily basis. It is only by keeping them on the conscious mind that you will be sure to make them a priority.
Visualizing yourself experiencing your desired emotions on a daily basis brings presence and fulfillment to your current life, even if your goals have yet to be realized. Consistently rooting yourself to your desired emotions and visualizing the outcome of your goals will connect you to your dreams and make your goals a reality.
I wish you a happy, healthy and soul-inspired New Year!
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