How you envision your potential can dramatically influence what you achieve in life. Take a moment to try this exercise. Imagine the amount of money that you want to earn in the next 12 months. Now quadruple it.
Are you laughing? Why?
Most of us set limits. We were taught as children that it is okay to dream as long as we don’t go overboard. “I want to win a Grammy,” we tell mom or dad. “That’s nice, dear,” is the reply. So we limit our dreams.
As a life coach, I help clients heal this lack of vision. In this article, I am going to outline a five-step method for attaining goals by starting from the inside out. To begin, get several sheets of paper and write down the answers to each question in each section. The act of writing it down makes all the difference.
1) Know what you really want. This can be extremely elusive. Ask yourself, what do you truly value? I’m not talking about things like money or a big house. What is the purest expression of you? When do you feel the most alive? Do you value adventure, beauty or spirituality? Write a list of 10 values right now on your paper. If you have trouble identifying a value, ask yourself what was important to you when you were a child. What did you want to be and why? Chances are there are many values in those dreams that are still alive in you today!
2) Set “SMARTY” goals. This is a very powerful way to make the goals attainable. SMARTY stands for Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, Timelined and Yours. First, make the goal you set as specific as possible, down to as many details as you can. Second, make the goal measurable. Know where you are with the goal and what still needs to be done. That way you can chart your progress and see movement. Third, what actions can you take? Fourth, make sure the goal is realistic. If you can’t play the piano, perhaps a first goal should be to learn to play it, not to accompany an orchestra. Fifth, set the goal with a time limit. “I will be able to play a specific Chopin piece from memory by January.” Remember that you can always change the time frame later. Finally, make sure that the goal is yours, not someone else’s. Make it yours from your soul.
Now that you have the goal, go back to the value list you in wrote section one. What value is represented? If the value isn’t strong enough, rework the goal!
3) Focus your energy and remove the blocks. Plug the “energy drains” in your life. What are you are putting up with in your life? What do you tolerate in your home, job or in the people around you? Do you need to set boundaries with people in your life? Are you avoiding financial issues? Are there therapeutic issues from your past that are calling to be dealt with? Deal with them! When we realize just how much energy is being wasted on those things, how could we possibly have the clarity to focus that vital energy on what we want and deserve? Make a list of everything that you tolerate, and deal with each item one by one.
Now saturate your imagination with your goal. Put up pictures that represent what you want. Visualize your goal when you wake up and before you go to sleep. Write an affirmation and keep it by your bed or on a mirror or in your wallet so that you will see it every day, like “I am a successful musician making X dollars a year playing with the orchestra of my choice.” Be confident that you will meet your goal – or even surpass it!
4) Create an action plan. Very often we can get overwhelmed by the size of the goal or feel like we are too far away from where we want to be. The solution is to slice the goal into manageable and bite-sized chunks. What is the next step? What are things that I can do right now to move me toward where I want to be? Remember the fable of the tortoise and the hare: slow and steady wins the race!
5) Surround yourself with support. Avoid those who don’t support your goal. Set up weekly phone sessions with a friend, family member or coach to support you, keep you accountable, celebrate your triumphs, challenge you when you need it, and be constructive at all times.
Know yourself and expand your vision. No one can guarantee that you will get exactly what you want. These five steps will, however, start a journey of self exploration and action that will lead you forward. Anything can happen. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or not, you are right!”
Roger DeWitt is a singer and life coach in New York City. He is founder of Life Artistry Coaching and can be reached at (212) 560-7408. Details of his coaching practice can be found at www.lifeartistrycoaching.com.
© 2002 Roger E. DeWitt, Life Artistry Coaching.