I have always loved goal setting. Without a doubt it is my favourite personal development activity to do because I feel like I am taking action, and making so much change in my life.
But after spending most of 2015 setting goals every week, month and quarter I realised that I wasn’t actually getting anywhere. I was literally at exactly the same place in my life month after month except I was achieving all these goals. Did that make me successful? Sadly, no. It just made me tired from constantly working to achieve goals that weren’t leading to anything in particular.
Does that sound familiar to you too? Do you keep setting yourself goals and either don’t see any true results coming from them, or they don’t seem to be moving the needle on your life?
I was getting so frustrated with this lack of movement in my life. I thought that I had learned all I needed to about goal setting, but I was clearly missing something.
So I did a complete overhaul and looked into some different goal setting methods and even explored concepts which I thought were a bit “out there” – manifestation, law of attraction, vibrational frequency, meditation and mindset practices. One thing I realised and loved while researching this was that these methods really focus on having a clear picture of what you want to have happen and then doing very specific things that will make those things happen. The outcome is always step one. I don’t know why I had never realised this with my own goal setting! The setting of goals does not matter as much as ending up where you want to be. It’s the whole reason we set goals to begin with.
I found that my problem was that I wasn’t making any change when I was just setting goals. Setting goals continuously doesn’t lead to results. Setting goals just leads to more and more goals and we never get that feeling that we have achieved anything worthwhile. So I needed to somehow change my goal setting practices, using these new practices to focus more on the outcome first, than just the little steps. Because, strangely (or maybe not so strangely), once you know where you want to be things have a way of falling into place to get you there.
Since I am a very visual person, I have always liked to have things mapped out on paper for me, and for that reason I had been making vision boards for awhile. I loved having the goals I was setting myself on this big piece of paper to look at and motivate me. But I realised that the goals on my vision board didn’t align with the goals I was setting myself, and didn’t really bring me joy. Adding them all up, they didn’t make a life that I craved, they just had a lot of things in them that I liked.
I hadn’t yet realised that there was a science to vision boards. And I didn’t realise there was a formula to goal setting which made your goals nearly impossible not to achieve. But I finally experimented enough that I figured it out.
And I want to share my secret with you. The secret that I found turned my entire goal setting and vision boarding experience around was that I needed to focus on very specific goal outcomes with very specific emotions attached to them.
If I didn’t have an emotion attached to the image I put on my vision board it never really lit me up and motivated me enough to do the work I needed to do, I just lost focus and energy. Now I make sure that every goal and every image that I put on my vision board has been very carefully chosen to reflect an emotion that lights me up and makes me feel amazing, because I know from my research that this is the most important thing when it comes to setting goals you will actually achieve.
Now when I am setting goals throughout the year I really focus on how I can feel that feeling now, and how I can work towards more of that feeling. But this also wasn’t immediately easy for me to do. I had never before focused on emotions when goal setting. It was pretty much the opposite with me, goals were realistic and logical and didn’t need any magic to make them happen, only hard work. And I found it quite challenging to focus on my emotions so much at the start, so I used a really common manifesting and visualisation exercise to help me get started, and I want to share it with you here so that you can really find out what makes your goals tick. This goal setting exercise changed everything for me.
So if you are like me and aren’t quite sure what your “perfect life” looks like, try this goal setting exercise.
- While you are sitting or lying quietly by yourself, picture what you would be doing and where you would be if you were leading your dream life. What time would you wake up, where would you be and what clothes would you put on? Who is around you, what’s the first thing you see and do and how do you feel? Walk through your entire perfect day and let those feelings of living that day vibrate through you.
- Open your eyes and grab a pen and paper. Do the same exercise only this time in writing and go through your perfect day. Write down anything important to you.
- Identify the main points in your perfect day, as they are probably your big goals
- Make these images and feelings into a vision board that will help keep you motivated and inspired to achieve goals in alignment with your bigger picture.
- Keep using this script and vision every day to give you purpose, clarity and focus and allow you to co-create your reality with the universe around you.
This image that you now have in your mind, on that piece of paper and on your vision board is your step one. Never set a goal without first referring back to this image and critically deciding whether it is in alignment with your emotions and your big picture. Painting yourself a picture that you can visualise every day and having a script of your perfect day makes so much difference when you are stressed, depressed or unmotivated.
While even just writing and visualising your dream life is immensely helpful, this goal setting exercise is at it’s most powerful when you use it to create a vision board. I took these big goals, feelings and visions and I created a vision board that could give me focus and motivation at any time of day. Even when I don’t have time to write down my goals, seeing my vision board reminds me of them and gives me focus.
This goal setting exercise was the best thing I did all year, after a year of drowning in my own thoughts and struggling to figure out what I wanted to do, it gave me clarity and purpose like nothing else I had ever done. By creating a vision board focused on emotions and the bigger picture of my life I was able to tap into a mental strength I didn’t realise I had. And now it gives me focus on a day to day basis and I am sure it is helping me manifest this life.
I want you to experience this too, so I strongly recommend the goal setting exercise above when you are creating a vision board. Because it is also powerful on it’s own, do it every night before you go to sleep and you will co-create your own reality. You can click here to download my vision board cheat sheet on how to make a vision board here, it’s never as difficult as you expect and far more powerful. But there are some tricks to making it a success and curating something that gives you an amazing sense of purpose, so click here to download the vision board cheat sheet or check out this post.
To your success,