How often do you wish you could stop the clock, slow things down, get more time for yourself, reorganize, restart your life?
Time flies, yes, time sure flies
You work long hours each day eagerly looking forward to the weekend. Ah, the weekend, your time, your pace, your space. But when the weekend does comes along, so do forgotten tasks, unexpected errands, uninvited guests and unwanted interruptions. Before you know it, whoosh, the weekend is over and you are far from relaxed.
The Deadline Factor
You get back to your workplace on a Monday morning feeling shortchanged, the work challenges there suck you in and demand your complete attention. You are your role and you live up to it. Meetings, more meetings, conference calls, things to do, reports to submit, analysis, market share data, crazy deadlines, conflicts, confrontations and the week has just begun.
By Wednesday morning you are already aching for a peaceful weekend again. But then, another busy, unplanned weekend whizzes by leaving you with that same sinking feeling of helplessness and lack of control . You really wish you could stop the clock, get off the ride, reorganize your life and restart.
Your Precious Life
Because you believe there is more to life than working long hours
Because you believe there is more to you than just your work role
Because you believe your family needs more time with you
Because you believe you deserve to have more fun
The Simple Truth
Well, the truth is you can. Yes, you can restart your life right now. You can have more fun, pursue your hobbies, do stuff you love and also enjoy greater work life balance. Neither do you need to stop the clock nor take time off because let us be real, thats just not possible. You have bills to pay, commitments to meet, you live in a hectic world moving at a hectic pace.
So what do you do?
Set Life Goals
You start by making a simple plan. To help you become clear, become happier, to get you closer to things you want to do and be in life, to maintain balance, to keep important things important you need to have a plan. A plan is what professional leaders the world over use to communicate and achieve the vision for their company, their teams, their workers and shareholders.
Military commanders, CEOs, leaders, coaches, trainers, mentors, everyone believes in and practices the concept of a plan. The same process can help you achieve your desires. Your life plan will be a strong foundation and the blueprint of your success.
A plan is what brings awe inspiring things from the drawing board into the real world, be it magnificent tall structures, super fast trains, massive bridges, deep space satellite probes, life changing technology or cool gadgets that get sold in the millions… all of them come to life thanks to a clear plan.
Your life is more valuable than all of the awe inspiring things mentioned above, isn’t it?
If so, why is it that you do not have clear life goals yet?
If you are like most people, you will say it’s because you have been meaning to set them but have been too busy at work. If you are like most people, you will also admit that in the meantime days have turned into weeks, which have turned into months and those months have become a few years now.
I am a life coach and trust me I hear this from clients all the time. However, it does not have to be this way.
Here are 7 simple steps to making a plan and setting life goals that really matter
You continue to complain about the lack of work life balance, about not being able to pursue your hobbies, passions, not having time to focus on what really matters, about not being able to achieve what you truly are capable of. Yet you do nothing to fix it. Complaining sucks away your energy and creativity. Stop this today and learn to redirect your attention on how you can live a better life despite the demanding workplace.
2. Become Aware
Like with any plan, begin your life plan too with a situational analysis. Reflect on key areas of your life like health, finance, relationships, career or business, leisure time and spiritual growth/inner peace. Next, for each of them answer the below three questions:
1. Where are you?
2. Where do you wish to be?
3. How can you get there?
As you work to answer these you must set clear milestones to check progress and achievements. Using a rating scale can help.Rate key areas of your life on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being poor, 3 being good and 5 for excellent. Give the rating for current and desired status. e.g. Current rating for leisure/hobbies could be 1 and your desired rating maybe a 4.
Like everyone else you too have just 24 hours in a day and your work plus commitments at home are bound to take up a substantial portion of your time. Your desires will always be more than the time on hand to make them come true. So get real, learn to prioritize and ask yourself which ones are important, which life goals will have the greatest impact on your life in the short, medium and long term.Which ones if pursued will bring you joy, fulfillment and greater meaning in your life. ( hint : it’s not money)
4. Get clear on your desires
It’s only when you know what you really want that you can start working towards achieving it. If your current rating for leisure/hobbies is a 1 and your desired rating is a 4, you can gain further clarity by asking yourself “ What must happen in my leisure time/hobby life area for me to give it a rating of 4”? An answer then might be “It will be a 4 when I fulfill my desire to learn to play a musical instrument“
5. Make it specific
Vague targets get vague results. By being specific you eliminate trivia and lesser important desires to focus on what really matters. Going with the previous example you may restate your desire as “ It will be a 4 when I fulfill my long held desire to learn to play a piano”
6. Be realistic
Your life goals should stretch you however not be completely out of reach. If it takes about 12 weekly sessions to learn the basics of playing the piano, you must give yourself 3 to 4 months to achieve it, not lesser. Else you are setting yourself up for failure by being unrealistic. So your desire statement would now be something like “ It will be a 4 when I fulfill my long held desire to learn to play a piano in 3 to 4 months from now ( or specific date and month of the year)”
Dreams and goals widen your horizon, help you imagine what could be, however, you need to take action to makes them come true.Every action you take must a have direct impact, it should be relevant, timely, move you forward and get you closer to living as per your life plan. Continuing with the previous example If you wish to learn basics of playing a piano in 3 to 4 months from now, actions would involve looking for piano teachers, signing up, buying a keyboard or a piano for practice and start attending the classes.
As much as you start taking action towards your life goals, you must also stop spending time, acting on things that are not aligned to your life goals. That is the only way you can have more time pursuing activities that really matter.
Notice how you began with shifting your attention from complaining to contemplating, then became aware on key areas, then expressed desires, worked to gain clarity, made it specific and identified key actions that would help you achieve it.
You can use the same seven steps to define and work to achieve rest of your life goals too.
In his insightful book ‘Do the work’ Steven Pressfield writes about resistance and how it comes in the way of holding people back from fulfilling their dreams and desires. As you begin on your new life plan, you are bound to face resistance from within, a voice in your head that tells you why you can’t do this, how you will fail, be laughed at, made fun of…. If you let the voices dictate your decisions, you will start finding excuses, skip action and fall back into old patterns of thinking, acting.
Ignore the voice and continue to take action. Keep your eye on the prize, on the benefits of sticking to and achieving everything in your life plan. Commit to it with your supportive friends and family members, ask them to hold you accountable, work with a life coach, keep a calendar and track you progress, wake up each morning and visualize yourself taking action, moving forward, moving closer, imagine how it will feel when you have achieved everything in your life plan effortlessly and joyfully. Do everything you can to stick to the life goals.
Choices, choices, choices
Remember everything you experience today is because of the choices you have made in the past. By simply choosing to set life goals, you are taking the first and most important step in living a happier and more fulfilling life. Give your plan the importance it deserves. Stick to it, choose to take consistent and persistent action and you will see positive changes across key areas of your life.
Your life is invaluable, set and work on life goals that really matter !
‘It is never too late to be who you might have been’. ~George Eliot
Points to ponder
1. What are some things you have been wanting to do but have not begun yet?
2. How would you feel if you did these things, experienced them?
3. What must happen to make them come true ( please be as specific as possible)?
4. What resources do you need to get started? Who can help you?
5. When will you begin on your life goals?