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How to create your personal vision (+ free worksheet!)

How to create your personal vision (+ free worksheet!)

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up some place else.” ~ Yogi Berra

 

Do you have a personal vision for your life?  If you do, is it a hazy, vague idea of how you’d like to live ‘some day’, or is it a crystal clear picture of the life you want to live and are determined to make happen?   

Can you imagine setting off in your car on a journey without really knowing what your destination is?  Maybe in your head you have a vague idea of sitting on a beach somewhere sipping cocktails and without giving it any further thought, you leap into your car and start driving.  You drive and drive and driiive until you’re weary.  You get out of your car and look around and realise you’re pretty much where you began your journey hours ago – you’ve been driving in circles!  And there’s no sign of any beach in sight either!

Seems a bit daft, right?  And yet that’s what so many people do!  Without a crystal clear vision or destination to aim for, they work harder and harder every day, focused on the trivial day to day issues, without taking the time to look up at the bigger picture.  They get to the end of the year, worn out from their toil, only to find they are pretty much where they started at the beginning of the year, maybe even a few steps back from where they started!  Frustrating!!

The question is – did you set your satnav when you set off on your journey?  And as you travel along your journey, do you keep checking that you’re on the right track?    

We set our satnavs by creating a clear vision for our lives.  Without clarity of where we want to go, as Yogi Berra says, we’ll end up ‘someplace else’ – wherever the wind blows us!

If you’re sick and tired of going through life on autopilot and are ready for change, then head over to my blog post ‘Stop existing, start living!’   There has to come a point where you take a good look at yourself in the mirror and decide ‘That’s it.  Enough is enough.  I’m ready for change!’  For a life where you can truly flourish and be your very best, rather than live a life you have learned to tolerate at best.

Ready to craft a personal vision for your life?  Read on … and download the free worksheet to help you get crystal clear on your vision.

Clarity is crucial

If you don’t know what you want, how can it ever happen?  You have to give your mind something specific to aim for, to work towards.  The million dollar question is this – what do you want?  Do you actually know what you want?  If a genie appeared and asked you what your vision for your life is and said they would grant it to you if you answered with all the specifics of your vision within thirty seconds, would you be able to say clearly how you want to be living your life in 5, 10, 20 years from now?  Or would you just blurt out the usual things people say ‘big house, lots of money, flashy cars, no need to work.’ etc?  If you can’t detail exactly what you want your life to look like in 5, 10, 15 years time, then you need to go back to basics and craft a personal vision for yourself.  You should be able to close your eyes and see yourself living that vision in great detail.  Just as you need to put in a specific address or location into your satnav, you need to have a specific vision and goal for your life.  Take some time out where you won’t be disturbed to close your eyes and imagine the life you want to live.  You were given the power of imagination for a reason, so make full use of this amazing faculty!  Imagine all the good you want in your life instead of all the bad that might appear! 

What does your ideal life look like to you when you close your eyes and imagine yourself living it?  How do you feel?  Who are you with?  What are you doing?  How are you spending your days?  What can can hear around you?  Go into as much detail as you can!  Feel the wind in your hair, hear the laughter around you, feel the peace and contentment within you as you look around you at what you’ve accomplished.  Write down all the things that come to mind, this is all part of your personal vision for your life. 

Use the free worksheet, downloadable below, taken from my Born to Flourish® planner journal, to help you craft your personal vision.  Having a vision is vitally important, it gives you direction and you no longer spend your days aimlessly being busy doing nothing but rather making sure that you are working with purpose towards your dreams and goals, your vision.  Every successful company has a vision, how much more important is it for you to have a vision for your life, something you only get ONE shot at?!

 

Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want

Most people will not be able to clearly and succinctly answer what they want their lives to look like, if asked.  But ask them what they don’t want and boy, oh boy, they will be able to tell you in great detail!  Why is that?  Probably because that’s the life they are currently living and would like to get away from!  But as I already said earlier, if you don’t know what it is you do want, you’re never going to be able to start heading in its direction.  

And this is why it’s so important to have a crystal clear vision for your life.  If you don’t have that vision to focus on, you will default back to focusing on how things are in your life right now and keep producing more of it.  

Whatever you focus on, you attract more of!  What happens when you wake up in a grumpy, bad mood?  Well, everything else becomes grumpy!  You spill coffee on your shirt, you can’t find your car keys, you yell at your kids and then feel bad, you get to work late, and so the process continues.  It’s exactly the same when you keep focusing on what you don’t want.  You feel depressed because you have so little money, you’re focused on lack and limitation and so you attract more of it.  You spend all day telling yourself ‘I’m so broke, I’m so unlucky, I can’t afford that, there’s no use.’  What you focus on expands!  Instead, you need to pull out your vision and focus on that – focus on all the wonderful things you’re going to create in your life and you’ll be surprised at how you start a completely new process going – one that’s aligned with your vision and not with everything you don’t want!

Simply stop thinking about what you don’t want.  Instead of being annoyed about working so hard for so little, get excited about how you’re going to turn that around and how you will be working much less for much more!  Change your focus from lack to abundance to attract abundance into your life.

Now, it can be difficult to get out of the habit of focusing on what we don’t want because we’re so used to speaking and thinking negatively.  If you find you have a pattern of focusing on what you don’t want (and using that as a goal whether you’re doing so consciously or not!), be sure to recognise this, stop the negative thinking and replace that negative thought with what you do want instead!  Every time you catch yourself thinking in this negative way, quickly turn it around into a positive until you get in to the habit of thinking positively!  It won’t happen overnight, but keep persevering!  You can’t afford to keep focusing on what you don’t want because that’s exactly what you’ll get more of!

Meditation is a great way to focus your mind on your vision and get your brain looking for ways to make it happen.  Try taking a few minutes out every day to focus on your vision and move your thoughts away from what you don’t want.  

Creating your personal vision is not just about writing it down and packing it away in a drawer or even thinking about it every now and then, it should be your compass, your guiding light, it should be what gets you out of bed every morning and what keeps you up at night. 

Making your vision a reality

By getting clear on your vision and then focusing on that vision every day, you can then make sure all the actions you take are in alignment with that vision.  Once you’ve clearly written down your personal vision, you can stop every day whilst you’re in the middle of all the chaotic activity and ask yourself ‘is what I’m doing right now taking me nearer to my vision or further away from it?’  Just as when you’re driving your car with your satnav on, you can tell whether you’re driving in the direction of your destination or not!  This is exactly how I created my Born to Flourish® Planner Journal – I needed a system to keep me on track with my overall vision every day.  I had my vision, but I would always get lost down the rabbit hole of activity every day and simply asking myself whether I was acting in alignment with my vision wasn’t enough.  I created a daily hybrid planner journal where I would set my intentions for the day, ensure they aligned with my vision/goals and then I would reflect at the end of the day on whether I followed through on my intentions and how I could improve the next day.  This quickly set me on the right track to taking a step daily in the direction of my dreams.

If you didn’t have a crystal clear vision for your life when you started reading this post, I sure hope you have one now!  If you haven’t already, click the link below to grab your free vision worksheet and start creating your personal vision for your life – set your satnav and take the first step in the direction of your new destination! 

Does visualisation work?

Does visualisation work?

Does visualisation work?

If it’s worked for countless successful people across the globe then my personal opinion is a resounding yes, it does work (if you use it correctly, of course!)! 

Visualisation is, quite simply, picturing in your mind, using your imagination, what you want to achieve – your vision, your goal, whatever that may be.  So firstly, you need to have a clear vision and clear goals to work towards – read my blog posts on creating your vision and setting clear goals if you need help with this!

The technique of visualising is used extensively by elite athletes who mentally visualise themselves achieving their goal.  Michael Phelps, Olympic Champion Swimmer is quoted in Rhonda Byrne’s book ‘Hero’ as saying “When I’m about to fall asleep , I visualise to the point that I know exactly what I want to do: dive, glide, stroke, flip, reach the wall, hit the split time to the hundredth, then swim back again for as many times as I need to finish the race.”

Relaxation is the key

Why would he visualise himself achieving his goal when he’s about to fall asleep? 

This is because your mind is most receptive when it’s in a state of relaxation – your deeper, subconscious mind is more open to suggestion because your usual ‘mind chatter’ (stemming from your conscious mind trying to protect you) that tends to talk you out of things (you know the voice I’m talking about!)  isn’t as active as it would be at other times of the day.  I have read that your mind is also in this relaxed state as soon as you wake up (as your conscious mind is still in a sleepy state), so this is another ideal time to spend a few minutes visualising yourself achieving your goals.

But as we all know, we live in a hectic world where relaxation is not usually on the menu!  We’re always in a rush to go somewhere or do something and there are distractions at every turn.  And when we do have the luxury of relaxing, we usually switch off completely to give our minds a break.  So it’s important to be disciplined enough to make time to visualise regularly and make it a daily habit!  It doesn’t have to be just before you sleep or just after you wake up – if this doesn’t quite work for you, then make some time at a time that works for you if you can find some quiet time somewhere.

Using sheer willpower alone or forcing yourself to visualise success just won’t cut it and apparently does more harm than good!  So make use of the easier, effortless way and just relax and let your mind visualise your desired outcome.

See the details  

You’ll notice that Michael Phelps pictured all the details too – down to hitting the split time by the hundredth.  When visualising, use all your senses!  See yourself achieving your goal as though you’re watching a movie in your mind, notice all the details – what are you wearing, who are you with, are you smiling, laughing?  What do you hear?  Can you taste anything?  How do you FEEL?  Adding feeling to your vision makes it a lot more powerful.  Bring all the little details to life when you’re visualising!

See it now, not in the future

You’ve heard the saying ‘Act as if.’  When you’re visualising, see it as though it’s happening now and not in the future.  If you keep on visualising your goals to be happening in the future, they will always be in the future!  If you regularly visualise yourself achieving your goals, and pay attention to the details, you will find yourself becoming that person – doing the things you should be doing as the person you’re imagining in your mind.

We already use visualisation

If this is new to you, you might be thinking, what is this airy fairy stuff?  Who has time to sit there day dreaming?  Well, it’s likely something you already do anyway!  Perhaps you’ve built a house – you would have had to picture the end result first in order to know where to start – and as you built your house, you would constantly be visualising what you want it to look like to help make all your choices and take action.  You would be feeling pretty excited too as you design your house and visualise how wonderful it will be when you finally move in.  When the empty shell is going up, you walk into what will be the living room and while others may see bare walls and building supplies scattered everywhere, that’s not what you see – you see exactly where the sofas will be, the furnishings, the roaring fire and a beautiful mirror you’ve already chosen to sit above the mantelpiece.  You see the finished result.  You have visualised your goal.

How about planning a wedding?  Same thing!  You’re visualising your big day – you have every detail pictured – your dress, the colour scheme, the venue, the flowers, EVERYthing.  Everything you do is to bring that vision in your mind closer to life.  Again, how do you FEEL when you’re picturing your wedding?  No doubt you feel great happiness and excitement!  Goosebumps too maybe!  Imagine visualising what’s meant to be one of the happiest days of your life and you feel nothing?  That’s not really going to drive you into action to want to make that vision real!

Use visualisation the right way

Unfortunately, a lot of people also use visualisation, unintentionally, to work against them instead of in their favour!  How many times do we visualise worst case scenarios?  We run late for work and imagine how much trouble we’re going to be in.  Or read about all the businesses closing and redundancies happening around us and visualise how terrible things are going to be in the future.  How about people who feel a bit ill and suddenly they’re imagining being given the worst diagnosis?  Visualising negative circumstances only makes them more likely to happen.  Ever heard the saying ‘what you think about, you bring about?’  So be careful what you focus on.  You can CHOOSE what to visualise, so visualise only good things!  And as I said above, be sure to make time to visualise the specific goals you’ve set for yourself – the imagination is powerful, and it can work for or against you.  Always visualise the best outcome! 

The power of your imagination

One really interesting concept I have read about is how your imagination can often be in conflict with your vision.  This was a real revelation to me personally!  On the one hand I would really want to achieve a particular goal and would do all the things I thought I needed to do to make it happen.  But deep down, my imagination thought otherwise.  While affirming my positive goals, I would imagine ‘but what if this happens, and what if I make a mistake, and what if I make the wrong decision, what if … what if … what if?’  If there is conflict between your imagination and your desired goal, I learned, then your imagination always wins hands down.  If you imagine you may fail, then that’s what you’re setting yourself up to do.  This is why injecting feeling into your visualisation is so key – feel like you’ve won!  Don’t visualise your goal and think to yourself ‘I hope this works’ – BELIEVE that it’s already working!  I have a little quote in my bedroom that says ‘if you can dream it, you can do it.’  It’s true!  If so many people have imagined and created great lives for themselves, what’s the difference between them and you?  The difference is that you need to direct and control your imagination – and not let it control you!

Everything started with a thought

Everything you see started as a thought, as a vision, before it became a reality.  Someone thought of and designed the chair you’re sitting on.  Someone thought of, visualised and made the clothes you’re wearing.  The movies you watch started with a thought and a vision as the story took shape.  The art hanging on your wall started with a vision of the end result.  The aeroplanes that fly today started as a thought, someone dared to think ‘what if we could fly?’ and imagined it would happen. 

So the important question to ask yourself is – what are you visualising that will become your reality in the future?  Make sure it’s a grand, positive vision!

3 reasons why you’re not achieving your goals (and how to fix it)

3 reasons why you’re not achieving your goals (and how to fix it)

Is this like the gazillionth time you’re attempting to set goals?  Have you resorted to simply crossing off the year from your goals list and replacing it with this year (you’re not alone!)?  I’ve been in exactly the same boat!  The new year rolls round, I’m all excited for the year ahead – ‘after all, this year is my year!’  😉  I write down all my goals determined to make them happen this year …

… then life happens.  And before I know it, it’s August and I haven’t looked at my goals since I wrote them down!  Yes, I had them in my head, but they were at the back of my head, and therefore, at the bottom of my to do list.  That was the old me.

Don’t let that happen to you!

Over the years I’ve found that there are 3 key things that tend to hold us back when it comes to setting and, most of all, achieving our goals.  If you’re ready to do things differently this time, read on!

1 |  Your Why is not big enough

What’s fuelling your desire to achieve your dreams and goals?  Is it just a nice little idea in your head that would be ‘lovely to achieve one day’?  Or is there a burning WHY behind your goals that makes failure not an option?   I remember once being asked if I would cross a plank placed between two high buildings.  ‘No way José!’ I said.  Just the thought of it gave me the shivers!  Ok, they said, how about if your daughter was trapped on top of the other building that was going up in flames?  Would you cross the plank then, to save her?  Kind of changes your perspective, doesn’t it?  If that were the case, my focus wouldn’t be on the plank, it would be on saving her life and, yes, I would most definitely cross that plant to do so!  See how a strong enough ‘why’ takes away the difficulty of what needs to be done to achieve your goals and instead makes you focus on your why?  

What’s your why?  In my Born to Flourish planner journal I have a section on goal setting, as part of the ‘Dream’ section (there are 3 key sections – Dream, Do and Learn).  In here you get to create goals for each area of your life and for each goal you are asked WHY this goal is important to you, what it would cost you if you didn’t achieve this goal.  This is what keeps you going when the going gets tough.  It allows you shift your focus from the hard graft to the underlying reason behind it, which then make the hard graft not look so hard after all!  Or at least, make it worth it.

Write down each of your goals on a sheet of paper.  Underneath each goal, write down ‘What’s my WHY?  Why is this important to me?’  Fill in your why, and beneath that, write ‘what will it cost me if I don’t achieve this goal?’  See, us humans tend to do more to avoid pain than we do to seek pleasure.  It’s one thing to think fondly of your goal with a smile on your face but quite another picturing the outcome if you fail to achieve your goal.  Which moves you more?  I’m definitely not saying you should focus on failure, but sometimes a reminder of what the cost will be if we do fail is the kick in the butt we need to get us moving again!

 

2 | You don’t have a system to support you in achieving your goals

Nine times out of ten it’s the action where we all fall over.  It’s easy to write down that we want to lose 20kg in weight.  Not so easy to say no to those yummy cupcakes being passed around at the office!  Why are elite athletes so accomplished, so successful, where do they get the discipline and drive to keep training year in and year out?  Firstly, they have crystal clear goals.  To be on that podium holding the gold medal.  They can feel the weight of the gold in their hands, they can feel the tears of joy running down their face, they hear the crowd cheering, they see the proud looks on their families faces, they have that vision with them every day.  Not only that, they have systems in place to support them.  Lots of systems I’m sure!  One of them is a coach, one that’s waiting for them at 5am to train, and there to remind them of their why.  Every day they have a clear cut schedule to follow that is in alignment with their goal of winning the gold. 

What systems do you have in place?  When there’s no one to crack the whip, we get complacent, after all no one’s really going to know if we don’t do anything today.  Take a few minutes to write down what systems you can put in place to keep you on the straight and narrow.  I used my planner journal to keep me accountable to myself and to keep checking in daily, weekly and monthly on my progress towards my goals.  And speaking of accountability, usually counting on ourselves as accountability partners isn’t the best idea (for obvious reasons!) and is just one element to use.  Try and get an accountability partner or join a mastermind or similar group where you can declare your goals and provide updates regularly.  When you’ve declared your goals to other people you’re more likely to follow through, right?  

What other systems could you put in place?  Environment is another biggie in my opinion.  Prime your environment for success.  If you’re planning to go the gym every morning, pack your bag the evening before and have it by the door ready for you to get up and go!  If you plan to read a chapter of a book every night before you sleep, put the book on your pillow after you’ve made your bed that morning so it’s there waiting for you when you’re ready to hit the sack.  If you want to journal every morning, put your journal out on your desk before you leave your office or wherever you journal from.  This is all part and parcel of creating good habits to support you in making your goals a reality!

3 | Your goals are not SMART

Yes, I can see you rolling your eyes at this one and I did too to begin with.  After a long, long time in corporate, there is no one more sick of the reference to SMART goals than me!  However, love ’em or hate ’em, our goals really do need to be SMART!  You probably already know what these mean, but just to jog your memory, our goals must be:

Specific – like I said in my Vision blog post, you need to have a crystal clear vision, you need to know exactly what you plan to achieve before you can attempt to take steps towards its attainment.  

Measureable – having measurable goals allows you to track your progress and see how well (or not) you’re doing.  So a goal of losing 10kg is far better than a goal of losing weight. 

Achievable – I am the first one to say DREAM BIG, we can achieve far more than we can ever have imagined – but do keep it achievable too so you don’t set yourself up for failure.  Aim high, but a goal of creating another planet Earth, for example, is, well, not really achievable 😉  Another thing we tend to do a lot is over estimate how much we can achieve in a certain timeframe, so lots of people set goals to achieve in the next year for no other reason than that’s what most people do.  What makes you think your goal will take exactly 12 months to achieve?  Is that really achievable?  Or are you setting yourself up for failure?  I read somewhere that we often over estimate what we can achieve in one year, but under estimate what we can achieve in five.

Relevant – are your goals relevant to your values, beliefs and who you are as a person?  This is tied in some ways to your ‘why’.  The more relevant your goals are to you, the more reason you will have to make them happen.

Timebound – although obvious, this is a biggie.  When we don’t set the timer, it doesn’t happen, it keeps getting pushed back.  My planner-journal took aaaages to see the light of day simply because I didn’t have a definite solid deadline for it to be out there, and so I kept tweaking it and tweaking it, until I set an actual deadline for it to be done and dusted!

 

Do any of these three things resonate with you? 

Is why so strong it makes you cry?  Do you have systems in place to support you every day when you’re out in the trenches trying to make things happen?  Are your goals SMART?  And most of all, are you crystal clear on what your goals are (if you’re not, go back to my Vision post and fill in the free worksheet!)?