Each morning I wake up at least an hour before my son – more is better but hey I also need sleep – sigh. This is my quiet time, it’s my productive time. It’s my thinking time, my being time. Oh right, and it’s my get everything cleaned up that I didn’t do last night time, workout time, meditation time. My make lunch, get ready for school time. My pick up dog poop time, prepare for my client’s sessions, write a blog or work on my memoir time. Oh let’s not forget it’s my read the news, catch up on social media, reply to texts and emails time. As we all know there’s not enough time.
Mom posts are some of my favorites. There’s humor and heart, harsh fact and futile fantasy all rolled up into one. Regularly I come across one that addresses the phenomenon of what to do with our child-free time. The list is long yet often instead mom sits reading or watching something on their phone drinking a glass of wine. To me and those that need it, that’s satisfying and nourishing in its own way, until we come away feeling like we wasted the time we had to be more productive or to feel more fulfilled.
My pre-parent self had some great habits and practices. Including but not limited to morning meditation followed by a run, stretching after followed by an actual bath, sitting down to eat my breakfast – food I prepared for and served to myself on MY OWN PLATE. That’s just the start. Remember when we were in control of our entire day?!
Well, this morning I woke to a dirty kitchen…and we ordered out for Chinese…and we ate a friend’s house. What?! I drank wine last night which makes me feel tired, puffy, foggy, and guilty. So I’m not at my best, but i want to make use of this time. Do I clean the kitchen, sit on my porch and be quiet with my coffee, run on the treadmill and sweat it out – might be the only chance for a workout, blog, work on marketing, get ready for the garage sale, or snuggle with my boy who’s still asleep in my bed and leaves in 4 days to be with his dad for 10 days?
Since it’s now 4:00 pm as I write this, I can tell you that miraculously several of those things happened and we still got to the pool by 1:15 to meet friends. I 100% believe this happened because I created a vision years ago and have set goals and intentions for the things I want to accomplish or become. Not recently. I wrote my vision about 10 years ago and my goals and intentions are sporadic and loosely in my mind. I need to review my vision, and with that I plan to set some new goals. I feel a bit lost and undirected right now. I turned 50 last month and while every year is a great time to check yourself to be sure you’re on track in your life, I pick now for a reset. I have the basics covered but it feels a bit like groundhog day, a time when I start to pick up bad habits to fill the void. The void create by the simple lack of intention, direction and subsequent blah.
I can’t deny, while I wholeheartedly believe in having a vision and a plan, knowing where you’re starting, where you want to be and creating a plan to get there, I resist. I tell myself I’m on everyone else’s schedule, I don’t want more should’s and have to be here or there’s. I did that for many years while living in a spiritual community and racing competitively at the ultramarathon and I’m doing it now as a mom. That’s what I did, that’s what we do!
The pendulum has swung my friends. I’m not entirely happy with how my days turn out as of late. I don’t have the calm centeredness and the big picture perspective to take the high road when my 7 year old tells me I’m mean and not the boss of him for the 100th time today or when he steals the last piece of watermelon after I tell him I saved it for me since he and his friend ate the WHOLE thing. But he took a bite of mine…right in my face. When my 12 year old self comes out, it’s likely I need a reset.
Here’s what I’m going to do and maybe you can follow along. This is a brief description of the steps to follow. How you go about the process of purposeful living is unique to you but I believe structure leads to freedom. I’ve been fighting my own words and beliefs lately due to feeling imprisoned somewhat by the structure in my life. Well, how am I going to get out of prison? With a plan. El Chapo had a plan no doubt!
Vision is the ability to see, an image in your mind, a thought concept or object formed by the imagination; mode of seeing or conceiving.
I have a vision from my pre-parenting days so I’ll start there. A vision, as I use and describe it, is how you see yourself as your true and essential self (sounds cliché but I’m not sure how else to put it). A vision is BIG. This part of the process is qualitative not quantitative. It’s qualities you want to develop or have and want to manifest more in your life. Often times it addresses the areas of your life or your being that have plagued you, that you struggle with or feel stuck or the qualities you have that you wonder ‘why aren’t I doing more with that or being more that way?’ Think about it, vision. How do I see myself and my purpose manifesting in the world in this lifetime. It can evolve over time, you may change it as you go deeper and further along in this process but it’s really the model, what you aspire to, something to refer to on a regular basis and ask yourself if your actions, your mindset are in accord with getting you there. Here’s a line from my old vision to give you an idea:
Here’s how to start. Identify the different areas of your life: relationships/family; professional/work; activities/hobbies like music, sports, racing; finances; spirituality/religion/relationship. Make a list of qualities you want more of in your life and those you have that you would like to experience more. These may overlap with the different areas of your life, they also may not. You may be super confident in your profession but terrified of intimate relationships. Think about how you would like people to describe their experience of you.
State things in the present tense and in the positive. If you want to start a business but you’re procrastinating due to lack of confidence or fear of failure, you may address the fear of failure or lack of self-confidence and say something like “I am confident and move forward with my ideas to completion.” Your subconscious mind doesn’t know time and it doesn’t understand negatives. If it hears over and over ‘procrastinate’ even if you’re saying “I won’t procrastinate”, that’s what it will do. It won’t discern the ‘I am not’ part.
Don’t hold back. This is as big as it gets for you. Dream big! If you dream small, small things will happen. Remember, you’re simply trying to manifest more of who and what you already are, doing away with the layers of patterning and protection that keep the world from experiencing the truth and fullness of you. Don’t rely on luck or circumstance. If you’re not living the way you want to be living, chances are you haven’t taken charge, you haven’t looked honestly at where you are now, what gifts, talents and skills you have, you haven’t stepped back and taken in how simply amazing you are already. Share those gifts with yourself and the world! Or maybe you do know how awesome you are but find yourself falling repeatedly into the same old pattern. That’s where the next 2 steps come in.
A goal is the end toward which effort is directed. Once you’ve identified how you want to be in the different areas of your life you stated in your vision, you may choose a goal for one or several of those areas. If you’re single you may have the goal of being in a relationship. Or vice versa – you may want to get out of an unhealthy one. You may have a professional goal to learn something new to improve your income potential, be promoted, quit your job and freelance, change careers altogether, etc.
A goal will send you in the direction of your vision, it’s the blueprint, a roadmap. If I go from point a) to point b) it will require I call upon qualities/talents/skills I want to develop that are in my vision. It’s also a place to check if it works at cross purposes with your vision or pulls you off track. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to train for a triathlon which would help you develop more follow through, a quality you state in your vision, but you also want to improve on your family time. They aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive but you want to be aware of what challenges you may encounter, it will take some strategic planning.
A goal is where you get quantitative – when, how much, for how long, etc. Perhaps you’re starting your own business so you’ll work from home which is aligned with your vision of being more available to your family. Your goal could be some aspect of the business, like creating a business plan, developing the product/service, coming up with a name for your business, getting registered with the state, building a website, etc. Set a goal for when you will do this thing. Remember, be specific, make it achievable and quantifiable such as, I will have the first 2 sections of my business plan completed in 2 weeks or I will have a website up by the end of July.
I like this part the most because I’m always amazed at how taking small simple steps over time makes changes happen. There’s power in following through on an intention. These are the promises we make to ourselves everyday that we get to keep. Now this is the action plan, the things you will do daily or weekly that if you do, you WILL reach your goal. I’m not going to lie to you, stuff will come up if this is an area of your life where you’ve struggled. Some of you are here because you want to be more fit, maybe lose some weight and have been frustrated by your inability to do so in the past. Trickery is an option here, tricking your pattern and your mind. You know yourself best so you know what will and will not work for you. A food plan, preparing food ahead of time, drinking water before each meal, saying a prayer of gratitude and sitting quietly for a moment before each meal. Things like that can help. But you need to do it every time you intended.
You can also go less direct. Perhaps your eating patterns are due to being in a hurry all the time and not present. Perhaps developing more presence will help you make better food choices so an intention may be around meditating, pausing before you go in or out of doors, bring in a bit more mindfulness into your day and you just may see your eating habits start to change.
In this process you will be led where you are meant to go and will learn the lessons you need to learn so I can not say there is one best way for any one person or any one intention or action step. Things will arise as they will. One way may take you down the road of a little introspection, another may not. For example, if in the above example you don’t move on this business because you procrastinate and you likely procrastinate because you’re afraid of failing, then in order to get somewhere with your business you may have to look at your fears. Maybe not right now, and maybe not ever. That depends on you. Ah geez, you thought I was going to give you the magic pill huh? You don’t need to dwell in the issue. Chances are you’ve done that and know it inside and out. Look at it objectively, don’t let judgement get in your way at this point. We all have flaws and weaknesses, things that keep us from being all that we are and accomplishing what we can. It was programmed into us long ago and now we get to unravel and undo patterns in order to manifest. It’s really as simple as learning the ABCs or anything else you learned before you were 7 – repetition. Do it differently than you always have again and again, and there will be a different result.
Sometimes taking something head on isn’t the right or most effective route. Pick an area other than your business perhaps to work on procrastination or fear of failure. Qualities we develop can and do transfer into other aspects of our lives. I have clients do this all the time. They may be working with me to find their physical strength and lose weight. I watch them lift weights or move their body in a way they never thought possible, and later find that same strength and capacity internally to deal with situations they had avoided in the past in their relationships, parenting, or at their jobs. If you address the origin of the problem rather than the symptom, you have a much better chance of changing it forever.
You can have more than one intention, in fact you may have several going for different areas of your vision, but don’t overwhelm yourself so nothing gets done. If you do this bit by bit in bite sized steps you WILL see changes over time.
“You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.” ~ Warren Buffett
Three steps forward, 1 step back – you’re still moving forward. It’s a balancing act. Priorities shift as circumstances change. You striving to be your best self as stated in your vision, let’s not push that out of the equation EVER. Look honestly at where you are, at what’s not working in your life, and what’s going great? We’re all on a journey. If we don’t want to end up in some dried up no man’s land or like me you can’t take on more groundhog day, we better make some choices and take some action so we’re headed in the right direction. We have that choice. Take action with your intention.
Create the vision, where are you headed? Make some goals – what will be your experiences and stops along the way? How will you get there? What route, vehicle, with whom and for how long? Share your experience with creating a vision, goals, intentions – whether you’ve done it before or are taking it on now, how it’s worked for you, where you get bogged down. Feel free to share or ask questions in the comments below, on my Facebook, Instagram or Twitter page or for a little help at any stage of the process of visioning and goal setting click here. Enjoy the Process – it’s all we’ve got!