Now I want to make it clear right upfront that I don’t do new years resolutions! New year’s resolutions for me tend to be more like ‘rules’. Rules which are simply unrealistic, all come into effect on one day, and, break them just once and they get completely thrown out of the window! But what I have learnt since leaving the corporate world is just how important it is to set personal and family goals each year, to have long term and short term goals that give me focus and ensure I don’t get to the end of the year and wonder why my life’s not where I want it to be.
Personal goals are so often forgotten
In my corporate days I would set work goals for the year, all beautifully aligned with our corporate goals to ensure the company achieved what it needed to, and then leave the rest of my life to chance, luck, karma or whatever else I thought I would shape my life in those days. Looking back I am a little stunned that someone as organised as me, and such a control freak, was happy with that. I think the reality is that most of us are bought up to accept that we’ll live our lives within a box. On the surface, it’s our income that dictates this box, and so the type of life we lead, but I now believe that it’s actually our mindset that determines the size and shape of our box.
Goals start with dreams
Firstly, let yourself dream…….do you remember when you were a child and life seemed like an endless possibility? Tap into that again, allow yourself to dream……where do you live? What car do you drive? What do you do each day? Which school do your kids go to? What holidays do you take? Allow your mind to be free, to wander and see where it takes you! Get your family involved too, it’s good to have family goals as well as personal goals.
Turning your dreams into goals
Dreaming is fun, but to achieve we have to turn our dreams into goals. Those of us with a corporate background will be used to setting SMART goals at work (see left) but how do we apply this to our personal goals?
So lets say you dream about the type of car you want to drive. Firstly, to make it specific, you need to get into some serious detail about that car. What’s the exact make and model? What colour is the exterior? What colour is the interior? What options are on it? What type of wheels does it have? Many manufacturers today have an online ‘build your own car’ so why not jump online and create your dream car? Or even pop to your local showroom to grab a brochure and take it for a test drive?
To make it meaningful picture yourself driving it, picture it outside your house, picture your kids/dogs in it, picture the surfboards/boat/canoes on it, picture the sunglasses you’ll wear driving it. Whatever it is that’s driving you towards that car, get a clear picture in your head and really feel what it will be like to own that car.
For the action orientated part, work out what you need to do to get this car. Do you need to top up your income? Do you need to get your licence clean? Whatever it is, identify what it is you need to get your hands on this fab car. Please do not put ‘win the lottery’ down at this point or we’re straight back into the realms of dreams, not goals!
Be careful with the realistic section. There is an element of realism that we need when setting goals, but, ensure realism isn’t being tainted by your mindset/life box. So if you currently have a minimum wage job and have a goal of driving a top of the range Porsche next week, and have no expected windfall due, then this goal is unrealistic. But it’s not the goal of driving the Porsche that’s unrealistic, it’s the timing. Redefine the goal to driving a top of the range Porsche in two years time and it becomes realistic. And if that seems ridiculous to you, get out of the 98% mindset and get into the 2% mindset, this is your life after all, you do have control over it! Yes it’ll be uncomfortable being out of your comfort zone but nowhere near as uncomfortable as giving up on your dreams.
Finally, add a timeline to all of your goals, this is really important as it gives your mind real focus. Make sure you have smaller short term goals as well as bigger long term goals too. The sense of achievement when you achieve those short term goals will spur you on to achieving those bigger, long term goals.
Make your goals visible
You know when you created your lovely new car online? Print it out and pin it to a goal board and add the date you intend to order it. Then add pictures of all your other goals. Now this next part may feel uncomfortable but is really important, put the board up somewhere easily visible where you can see it daily. You see the subconscious mind is in incredible thing, show it pictures of your goals everyday and it will work consistently in the background to enable you to achieve them. Even if you’re not consciously aware that you’re doing it! I am aware that having it visible for you makes it visible to everyone else, but this actually works in your favour. Yes friends and family will ask what it is, and yes you will have to openly declare your goals, but this should inspire you to achieve them even more.
I always find it’s good to identify blockers to achieving your goals upfront, that way you can add ways to deal with them to your plan! And if it really does just come down to needing extra income to achieve your goals, why not take a look at the wealth of opportunities that are out there that can provide an additional income? They’re your goals, it’s down to you to achieve them – or not.
If you want to know more about how I took control of my income and my life and how this could enable you to achieve your goals too, drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org