At this time of year there’s a lot of focus on setting your goals for the year ahead. Me included!
I agree wholeheartedly if we put a small amount of time in to thinking ahead and put some effort in now to plan for next year, it really can make a huge difference. Not just in how likely you are to put those plans in to action, but also as a way of minimising the feelings that come with the post holiday slump.
But what if you didn’t just set goals this year, but invested the time in defining your vision instead?
Why have a vision?
A vision is your why. It creates a direction, not a destination. A road map for the year ahead. A vision is based on not just what you believe in (your values), but also what keeps you motivated and excited (your passions). It focuses on what you are good at (your talents) and inspires you to do what you want with your future.
Limits overwhelm & procrastination. When you have a clear vision you are better placed to prioritise what is important to you. You know your overall purpose, and can more easily assess what is helpful on that journey and what might just be a distraction.
Gives you a story to communicate. Everyone needs a little help on the way. If you have already defined your vision you can begin to share it with others. They in turn will make suggestions, which you may or may not take on board, but the process will help you to further refine your ideas.
Allows for serendipity. Serendipity is a fortunate or happy coincidence. When we have a vision we are more open to allowing the journey to unfold and it’s easier to create opportunities for serendipity.
3 easy steps to create a vision:
1. Review 2017
Reflecting on the past enables us to learn from it. It prevents us from making the same mistakes over and over, and leads to quicker success. It also brings closure. Both reflection and closure provide a solid platform from which to move forward.
Coaching minute: Take 10 -15 minutes to pause and reflect on the highs and lows, and lessons learnt in 2017. What went well? What didn’t go so well? What did you accomplish?
You might find it useful to look through your diary for the year, or a journal if you keep one, to remind you what you did. Write down the key things that stand out for you in 2017, and most importantly what did you learn.
2. Take a snapshot of the present
Having completed your review of 2017 and taken from that what’s most important. Now it’s time to consider the present. This is a snapshot of where you are now. One of the ways to do this is to use the following model – The Wheel of 2017:
Coaching minute: Consider each of the 8 categories. These are just examples, feel free to change them or add in your own. Ask yourself: What do I feel about this area at the moment? What are my strengths? Where can I improve? And then mark yourself on a scale of 1 (being dissastisfied) and 10 being most satisfied). This provides a visual representation of where you are now.
After doing this exercise look at your wheel of 2017 and notice what you feel? What kept your attention?
3. Define the future
You have reflected on the past and considered the present. Now you are going to create your vision for the future. What do you want 2018 to look like?
Coaching minute: To create a picture of your future go back to the ‘Wheel of 2017’, and the 8 areas you considered. Now in a different colour pen, mark on a scale of 1-10 where you would like to be in the next year, or even in the next 3 years.
What do you notice? Anything new here for you? Devote some time to looking at the areas where there is the greatest gap from where you are now, and where you want to be in the future. Spend a 10-15 minutes brainstorming how you could ‘bridge’ any gaps.
A theme for the year
The last part of the process is to write a statement that reflects your year ahead. Some people call this their ‘theme of the year’. Essentially you’re asking yourself: What is 2018 going to be about for you?
In my case 2018 will be about change. I will be leaving Montreal with my family, starting a new phase in my business, and resettling somewhere else. It is here that I will be focusing my energies, and the goals that I will set will feed in to this vision.
Creating a vision might seem time consuming. However, as the Okinawa culture in Japan testifies knowing what inspires us and what gives us energy – your ‘reason for being’ – helps us to live a more fulfilled, longer and happier life. So it could be time well invested?
If you have a vision for 2018, I’d love to hear it in the comments below.
Think this article might be useful for someone, please feel free to share it
If you’re in Montreal and keen to explore how to create a personal vision for 2018, with a great support network, come along to a taster workshop on the 25th January
Thanks to Florence Roisin at Magellan-Transition for her input in to this post. Great, as always to have your insight.