Creating Your Best Year Yet with Big, Achievable Goals
You have already taken time out of your busy schedule to create space in your mind for your goals to form. In the previous article you learned how walking meditations can help lay the groundwork for goal-setting. Now, it is time for your big 1-hour date with yourself. You have found the perfect place, whether it is your favorite coffee shop, your favorite spot in the house, a nice park bench with a view or wherever you feel comfortable. Now, step-by-step, you can visualize and create your goals.
Find a comfortable seat where you aren’t going to be bothered.
Read through this visualization exercise.
Think about everything you imagine for yourself in the coming year…
- What time do you wake up? Do you rise naturally or to an alarm clock?
- What does the room feel like when you wake up? Is there anyone sleeping with you—partner/pets/kids?
- What is the temperature like each day?
- How many hours a day do you work?
- Do you enjoy your work?
- Are you excited about the day to start?
- Do you have morning rituals? Nighttime rituals? (Reading, meditation, gratitude practice, prayer, etc)
- What are you eating each day (breakfast, lunch, dinner)? How much do you make your food a priority? Where does your food come from?
- What clothes are you wearing on a regular basis?
- What running shoes do you run in? How many miles do you wear them?
- What casual shoes do you wear? Do you even wear shoes?
- What kind of bike are you riding?
- How do you feel when you go to bed at night? (Exhausted, accomplished, energized, fulfilled)
- How often do you drive your car? Ride your bike? Run? Swim? Lift? Do yoga? Meditate? Spend time building relationships with others? Socializing?
- How do you spend your downtime? Do you take naps?
Essentially, think about your everyday. If there is contrast between your weekdays and weekends, capture that in your mind. If you travel here and there, capture that too. What’s regularly on your schedule versus special occasions? What do you say yes to? What do you say no to? What lights you up?
Set a timer for 15 minutes. Close your eyes (it’s okay if you look like a weirdo sitting on a bench with your eyes closed) and visualize where you are 1 year from now, using the visualization exercise above.
After the 15 minutes is up, get out a journal, pad of paper or computer and write down everything you can remember from the visualization exercise.
Write the following bold titles. For each section, set a timer for 5 minutes.
1 year from now I will….
(Start the timer and fill in everything that excites you to complete in the next 1 year)
6 months from now I will….
(Start the timer and fill in everything that excites you to complete in the next 6 months)
3 months from now I will….
(Start the timer and fill in everything that excites you to complete in the next 3 months)
1 month from now I will…
(Start the timer and fill in everything that excites you to complete in the next 1 month)
1 week from now I will…..
(Start the timer and fill in everything that excites you to complete in the next 1 week)
Review what you have written down and notice what you can control and what you cannot control. For example, getting 1st place at a race is not something you can necessarily control. You can only control how you have prepared for the race, not the outcome. Instead, set an objective goal based on where you are now.
Here is an example of achievable goals for a person who wants to get started training (everyone’s goals are different):
- 1 year from now I will have completed my first Ironman
- 6 months from now I will swim a 35 minute half Ironman in a wetsuit, I will have biked my personal best 56 miles at a half Ironman (compare times versus last year), and I will have negative split the half marathon of the complete half Ironman.
- 1 month from now I will have biked, swum and ran 3 times each week adding up to no more than 20 total training hours each week and then I’ll reassess if I want to hire a coach or if how I am progressing is good enough to keep me excited about racing.
- 1 week from now I will have gotten in the water to swim for at least 30 minutes 3 times this week.
After meditating, you should have created enough space in your mind to forget about what everyone else is doing and think about what you truly want, what will make you happy and what will allow you to be the best version of yourself. By visualizing yourself and where you want to be in the coming year, you have taken the first step to making it happen. Maybe where you visualize yourself being is different from what others are up to, and that is totally okay. You could be on your way to achieving big things because of it!
Now start to put into action your goals for this week! It might be hiring a coach or finding a training plan you can download from the internet. Maybe you realized you really need a new bike or new shoes because that’s what you need to get excited and achieve your big, awesome goals. Whatever it is, start to move in that direction!
Sticking to your goals requires constantly reassessing how you are feeling. Check back in with your visualization exercise quarterly to make sure you are on track. You might find you have a new zest for life and training!
Need help to stay on track with your goals? Check out our next article for tips on how to stick to your plan!