When you know what is your purpose and passion, and you are grounded in a clear understanding of where you are today on your journey to become your ideal self, it is easy to stall when it comes to setting goals and designing a plan to move forward. Some people are hard on themselves and use the “P” word…. procrastinator. Others set goals that are vague, unrealistic, or out of reach. I know some who claim that every detail of a life plan needs to be set down on paper and every goal must be laid out as a “SMART” goal. I think that is a good way to sabotage your efforts! There is a simpler, clearer, and better way forward. A way that helps you make progress and lets you start living the life you envision while you are still creating the plan.
First it is important to continue to visualize where you want to be as a person. Think about the reflection exercises you have done to develop an understanding of your values, and of the life you want to be living. Never lose sight of what you want in life. Some people will use images and photographs for each segment of the wheel, or each category they want to improve, grow and develop. I know one woman who is hoping to have a fitter and slimmer physical appearance in order to help her become healthier. She keeps a photograph on her refrigerator of herself at a time she was healthier and more active. Others might use visual graphs and images of role models they respect. The key is to know where you want to go and why it is important to you.
Next think of all the growth opportunities, options, and possibilities you could take advantage of to move toward becoming the person you want to be. Remember it is less about setting a measurable goal and more about becoming the person you want to be. Some people say “fake it until you make it” however, a better mantra might be “do it until you become it.” If you know what type of person you want to be, the best way to achieve this is to live every day as the person you want to be would live. Easy to say, yet difficult to do unless you know what is most important to you and have a clear vision of where you want to be.
Finally, after exploring all the possibilities and options, it is important to narrow things down to what is manageable right now. For example, there may be several areas of your life you want to improve. However, it is best to narrow that down to no more than three areas at a time (even one at a time is okay). Once you know which areas you are going to focus on, select just one step you can take right now to move toward achieving what you want, and becoming the person you want to be.
Just one step from all the possibilities and options is all you will work on for 3 months. But it is important to work on that one step every day for the full 3 months. During this time, that one step will become a habit. It will become part of you. You will become the kind of person who does this one thing. After each step has become a habit, then it is time to brainstorm more options and possibilities and plan the next step. Someone once asked me if they did not have a SMART goal written down with a measurable end results, how would they know when they had become a leader. My answer is that leadership is a journey not a destination. Becoming a leader is a journey as well.