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Five steps to knowing what you want out of life and how to get there

Making sense of it all

Does thinking of what you want out of life feel a tad overwhelming? Do you feel a bit like a pinball being buffeted around by the flippers and springs of life with no sense of direction? You’re not the only one.

Setting goals – it can seem a big concept can’t it? When someone asks what your goals are for the future, or maybe the next 12 months, perhaps five years ahead, it can sometimes feel like making it through the day with your sanity intact is a goal in itself! So, how do you work out what it is you really want out of life and how do you go about achieving it?

Let’s face it, the possibilities are endless, so it’s about identifying for you what floats your boat, what will get you out of bed in the morning and motivated to keep going towards the achievement of your ambition.

This will depend hugely on your desire for said achievement. As last week’s blog explained, the amount of energy at our disposal is in direct proportion to our desire to do what’s coming next. The success equation is: desire + goal + belief. When you know what you want, and the desire to attain it is there, plus utter self-belief that you can make it happen, your subconscious mind will start to seek ways to make it possible; you’ll adopt a 100% focused ‘let’s do this’ mindset.

The holy grail to goal setting

To combat the procrastination, the inertia and the overwhelm to goal-setting, follow these simple but highly effective five steps:

👉 Find out what’s important to you in life

To set yourself a juicy goal, you need to know what will be so important to you – and exciting - that you’ll focus all your energies on achieving it. What motivates you, what will you find fulfilling? It all comes down to your values – who and what you place importance in in life. Values exist, even if you’re unaware of them consciously and life can be much simpler when you acknowledge that all your plans and decisions honour them whether it feels like it or not. If you’re not aware of your values, you are unwittingly being driven by your subconscious mind and sleepwalking through life, without realising why you’re making decisions that have important medium and long-term effects.

So, let’s remedy that! To identify what your core values are, ask yourself the following questions:

  • When are you truly happy and fulfilled? Where are you during these times and with whom? If anyone! What are you doing?
  • What are the achievements of which you are particularly proud? And why? Was it the hard work and dedication it took to reach the goal? Was it your ability to influence people? Was it your resilience in face of adversity?
  • When have you felt truly at one with yourself – in a state of ‘flow’ as it’s sometimes called? Why was that? What were you doing?
  • When time flies, what are you doing?
  • What is important to you?
  • When do you feel most excited?

Knowing your values will enable you to set your goals. For instance, if one of your values is having fun, you can then set goals around achieving that. If another value is curiosity, you can set goals to explore more of life, the universe and everything!

👉 Break it down to bitesize chunks

We all have dreams and flights of fancy but it’s pinning them down and deciding Yes! I’m going to do that! Someday Isle is the place we while away our dreams, whilst never actually getting around to them. So, put a date on it. To enable you to do this, get a plan together to plot out how you can achieve your big fat juicy goal. It’s important to not just see the final goal being achieved but also the process by which you will get there. Break your goal down into bitesize chunks so you know you can stick to it and make it possible. For example, if you want to learn to play the piano to Grade 3 standard, put a plan together where you plot out the process to achieving that ambition. The date by which you’ll have bought a piano or keyboard, a deadline for finding a piano teacher, scheduling in times you’ll dedicate to piano practice, the date by which you’ll have achieved Grade 1 and so forth. Your brain will then be busy spotting opportunities to make it happen. You'll consciously need to play a part too though! So, start making a plan...

👉 Be aware of your self-talk

Your self-talk can either support your aspirations or be hugely detrimental to them. If you are telling yourself and others that you’re rubbish at sticking to things, that you’ve no self-discipline, are terrible at organising yourself etc, you’re setting yourself up for a self-fulfilling prophecy. What you tell yourself, your brain will believe. Retrain your brain to have self-belief and self-worth. Assumptive affirmations will support your self-talk and help to build your confidence. Assumptive affirmations could be: ‘I am motivated and excited to be working towards achieving my goal’, ‘I am committed to achieving xyz’, ‘I am confident in my abilities and find it easy to spot the opportunities to help me reach my goal’. Repeat them at least twice daily. Succinct affirmations will help you to focus on what you want to achieve and that you're worth it.

👉 Visualise achieving your dreams. 

Vision boards are a wonderful visual aid to start picturing your goal. Decide what it is you want and find images of it to start your vision board – it could be something you print out and place next to where you work – a constant reminder of what you’re you want out of life and thus working towards. Or maybe, it’s the screensaver on your laptop, or the wallpaper on your mobile. I like to have mine in a number of places – one is inside one of the kitchen cupboard doors so every time I reach for a mug, there is that reminder, even during the day-to-day routine.
Visualisation is a powerful way to picture your goal being achieved. It’s building that mental movie, using all five senses to make it as real as possible. The subconscious mind can't tell the difference between a real or a vividly imagined event so achieving your dream will seem the most natural thing in the world when you play that mental movie to yourself daily. Exciting stuff eh?!

👉 Use a Victory Log.

Write down every ‘win’ on the way to achieving your goal. Imagining the goal and seeing it as achieved is crucial but there’s hard work on the way to that happening, so write down and keep a record of everything you do on that journey. For instance, if you’re training for a marathon, write down each time you complete a training run. If ever you feel you’re not making progress, read what you've achieved so far – sometimes we forget the baby steps and expect giant leaps. Remember how far you’ve come and how awesome you are! (And please do excuse the puns!)

Ultimately, it’s believing it’s possible and that you’re worthy of happiness and great success, whatever that may mean to you.

When these five steps are actioned, you are going to be well on your way to realising your dreams and ambitions! Remember, self-improvement is a work in progress so repeat those affirmations and daily visualisations to increase your confidence and belief in yourself. Please do share your progress in our Winning Edge Facebook Group – you’ll get added support there and we’d love to hear how you’re getting on! Over to you…

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