Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Creating a Vision of Success and a Gratitude Journal

Do you have any goals in your life that scare you?  Do you have anything that you want in your life so badly but it seems like such an impossibility, that you won't really even spend time thinking about it?

It's great to have goals.  It's an amazing feeling to know that at some point in your life, you decided you wanted something, and you got it.  Not by luck, not by some good fortune, but by digging in your heals and not giving up until you got there.  Setting goals should absolutely be part of your life.  The bigger the goal, the harder it is to achieve, the sweeter the victory you will feel when it's yours.  I'm not saying if you ever reach it.  I'm saying when it's yours.  In this article, I'm going to help you get it.

Goals can be scary.  Goals should be scary.  Have you ever set a goal for yourself, reached that goal, and knew you could've aimed higher or that you could've done better?  Somehow reaching the goal that was really in your reach doesn't feel as gratifying when you get there as the goal that you really need to work for.  I'm constantly setting goals and then re-evaluating them to make them a little more realistic in a particular time frame.  Do you have any goals for greatness?  Something that will push you for days, week, months, or even years?  Maybe it's a health or fitness goal.  Maybe it's a goal for success.  I'm going to share a secret with you that I've been doing recently that REALLY works.  I've heard about it from so many super successful people and always thought it was some quacked out version of reality that only the rich and famous could sign up for but I've been seeing more and more that it is actually reality.  The secret I'm about to tell you about is called Visualization.

Do you ever day dream about winning the lottery?  I do that all the time.  I know who I would give money to, what I would do with it, where I would live, what I would do, where I would work, the list goes on and on.  I know a lot of people day dream about this.  They have an aggravating day at work and they run out and buy a Mega Millions ticket and begin to dream.  The thing about this dream, is you can't work towards winning the lottery.  You can keep buying tickets, and you can see yourself winning the lottery but you can also be unfortunate and get hit by lightning on the way to buying your next ticket (I think I read once that the chance of getting struck by lightning was higher then winning Mega Millions).  I'm not saying that you should stop buying tickets.  By all means, you know I have my tickets too.  What I am saying is spend time day dreaming about something that you can work towards. 

Lots of people say that they'd like to be successful.  I assure you that my success looks very different than your success.  Have you ever taken a moment to write down what it is that you want in your life?  It might be hard at first but once you lose yourself in this action, it feels amazing to see what you want down on paper.  It makes it feel somehow more real and now that it's been committed to paper and you can go back to it over time to see if you've gotten what you wanted or if you're still working towards it. 

I'd like you to do a Visualization activity now.  Grab a piece of paper and a pen.  Start by writing down these 5 things on a piece of paper; Life, Family, Health, Career, Future.  Now look at these words for a minute, and just start writing.  Allow yourself to dream for a moment.  Visualize the way you feel, the way your relationships are, the things you say to each other, the things you do, make it so vivid that you can literally smell the coffee.  Write it all down.  Don't worry about punctuation, or spelling, or grammar.  Just write.  When you're done, read what you wrote.  Does it surprise you?  Did you even know you had such a clear vision of what you wanted?  Now for the dose of reality...  are you on the path towards what you want in life?  I want you to really take the time and write down what you need to do to get there.  This is the tricky part.  This is the part that will take some creative thinking and thinking outside of the box sometimes but there are steps you know you can take to get there.  There's something you can start doing today and every day from now on that will help you reach your goals.  These things that you start doing today will lead you to the life that you want.  So write them down and start doing them every single day.

Your life is not just a free-for-all.  You are in control of your life.  You have free will and the ability to make you life better, or worse for that matter.  It may  not feel like you have free will all the time.  If you're in a dead end job that regularly sucks the life out of you, you're not going home and lining up job interviews to make it better because you're probably exhausted but you do have the ability to make it better.  Sometimes, all you need is an attitude adjustment and a realization that your situation could be worse.  Sometimes, we get so stuck in a series of complaints about our current situation that we don't take a moment and realize the opportunity that we have been presented with in what we already have.  Don't just complain or feel stuck.  You may be able to do something differently in your life, your career, or in your family and it could completely change the course that you're on.  I have found throughout my life that when I get down and out and think I'm stuck, I give myself a moment to dream about what I'd like to happen next, and that thing almost always happens.  This happens very often in my professional life.  Here's an example. 

When I wanted so badly to stay home with my daughter, my husband and I made the choice that we would sacrifice my income and I would stay home.  It was such a blessing, but money was tight.  We sacrificed a lot of the luxuries that we were used to.  I loved staying home with my daughter and knew that there was no way I wanted to start commuting back into the city, or anywhere for that matter.  I started visualizing working from home and how perfect it would be to be able to hang out with my daughter and still have an income.  I did this without even knowing that visualization was a thing.  Do you know what happened?  I got a great job bookkeeping from home.  When that job didn't seem like enough, another opportunity presented itself where I could continue working at home for twice the pay.  When I wasn't feeling fulfilled by that job anymore, another opportunity presented itself.   The list goes on and on, a constant series of doors opening before the last one closed.

When you keep your mind and heart open to opportunities, they will present themselves to you but if you see those opportunities with a big flashing no in your head, they will go away as quickly as they came.  I never say no to an opportunity.  Even if I feel content where I am, I never know what I'd be missing if I said I wasn't interested before hearing the details so I always at least take the meeting and hear what they have to say.  I can make an informed decision once I have all of the information.  I'm also proactive in seeking out opportunities.  I always say "If you don't ask, the answer is no." So if there's something in front of me that I think would be a great opportunity for me, I ask for it.  Let them tell me no instead of me doing it for them.

I want you to keep that paper that has your vision for your life in a safe spot.  Don't hide it away because I guarantee, if you find it again in month, or sign months, or a year, you'll read it again and see how you measure up.  Put it in a place that you will come across now and again.  If you ever pick it up, make adjustments towards where you want to be.  Another thing to keep in mind is opportunities will present themselves but you need to be willing to roll up your sleeves and work.  Don't just think that the most successful people just had things handed to them.  They may have, but you probably won't.  If you have a dream, you need to make it a reality.  It won't just happen on it's own.

When setting enormous goals for yourself, it can be extremely discouraging if you don't meet them when you wanted to.  You can be tempted to feel like a failure when in reality, you're just in need of a course correction.  I recently started keeping a gratitude journal to remind myself of all the things I've already accomplished and am grateful for.  Again, when I first heard about a gratitude journal, I thought it was some quacky version of reality but you know what, energy in the universe is very real.  We're all made of energy and I'm sure you've heard of karma or prayer or the Big Snooze if you've read "You are a Bad Ass" By Jen Sincero (great book by the way).  If you spend your time upset that you didn't reach a goal or complaining about your situation I promise, it won't get better.  Instead, I take some time every single day thinking of 3 things I'm grateful for.  I often post them on Facebook or Instagram with #3ThingsImGratefulFor.  Feel free to start this and use that hashtag so I can find yours.  Some days are obviously easier than others to come up with these things (today I was grateful for pizza delivery) but what I find happening is every day, I spend a lot of the day thinking of what I should write down that night.  So I may only write 3 things but I'm thinking of at least 5 if not 10 every day.  It makes you grateful for the things you already have in your life instead of focusing on those things that you don't.

I'd love to hear your goals for your life and see the 3 things you're grateful for today.  Feel free to comment below or find me on Facebook.  I'm a coach and I love checking in to see if you've reached your goal or are still working towards it.  Sometimes it's nice to know that someone is in your corner and ready to check in, I'd love to be that person for you. 

If nothing else, remember to face the day with a smile because life is all about your attitude.

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