After reflecting on the past we need to look forward. But wait. Hold off your goal setting eager soul for just a bit. We are going to write our goals next time. Today, we are looking forward, way forward. We are dreaming about our future. We are doing that because we need more clues to know what really matters to us. Matters enough to transform into goals that we can write in detail next time.
In her PowerSheets, Lara Casey encourages us to think about our future in the big picture. If we determine what matters most to us in the big picture we will work harder to achieve it, we will get back up from setbacks faster and keep going.
You can uncover your most important life mission by asking:
Where do you want to be at the age of 80?
Make 2 lists.
What will matter to you most at the age of 80?
What will not matter to you at the age of 80?
Some of my personal answers when I did this exercise were:
What will matter most to me: strong loving relationships, good health, work legacy, exploring the beauty of the world, abundance, wisdom.
What will not matter: complaining, FOMO (fear of missing out on online lives of other), owning the latest gadgets, kids’ tantrums, how I look in photos, comments and likes received on my posts, number of followers.
This question adds a sense of purpose to your goals and what you do every day. Does your to-do list today or this week serve your big picture vision of yourself? Do they match at all?
We need to be also be super clear on why we want to make this big picture happen. If our how does not work our why will help us find another how.
Add a few points stating why it is important for your big picture to become a reality for you. This would be aligned with your values and creating feelings of joy and satisfaction that you lived the life you wanted.
For example: my why for strong relationships is that powerful connections make feel alive and my heart full.
Have you noticed how your goals are getting clearer now? Your evaluation of the past and your big picture dreams are helping your heart know what it is your need to get started on.
Now for a very inspiring part.
What themes did you discover?
Spend some time reviewing all your answers from part 1 and the big picture answers. You will notice recurring themes of areas that make you your heart sing and areas that need serious work to be back on track. Use a marker or a highlighter to circle or star those areas and then summarize them in few sentences.
This step took me around 30 minutes to do when I first did it. Some themes that popped up were:
Meaningful connections with family and friends. Slowing down. Self-Care. Spiritual practice commitment. Moving my body. Seeking new experiences. More fun. Go back to writing. Keep teaching.
Transform themes into goal ideas.
It’s time to transform those themes into goal ideas that you can start working on now. They emerged as themes for a reason. They are probably those dreams that felt most important to you in the big picture and maybe those that had the lowest ratings in your life audit. Notice that maybe there is a lot to work on and that might feel a little overwhelming. This is why we worked on selecting what matters most to you. Goal ideas are easier to define after going all through the previous exercises. We’re only writing ideas and we will get into structured goal setting next post.
Some of my goal ideas:
Theme: teach moreà Goal idea: launch a podcast, revive my blog.
Theme: Spiritual practice commitmentà Goal idea: commit to the habit of meditation.
What are you saying No to?
What are you saying Yes to?
Lists are fun to do so now we are going to make 2 new lists of things we will say no to that hold us back from being our best selves and say yes to things that expand our happiness and joy. These things could be inner thoughts/beliefs, habits/behaviors, things/possessions and type of people/relationships that we need to release and say no to in the next year/season or keep and embrace and say yes to more often.
No to: eating after 7pm, buying without replacing, sleeping less than 6 hours, meaningless outings
Yes to: planning family meals, finishing what I start, power naps.
Choose your word of the year
This word will inspire you when you are down, sharpen your focus, and will remind you of what is important.
How to come up with your word of the year?
Your answers to all the previous exercises will guide you, it could be a verb, an adjective or even a small phrase. What do you want to do/be/have MORE of this year?
You can google “word of the year ideas” and see what comes up and other people’s choices, it is so much fun.
Reminder: You can change your word of the year whenever you want, it does not have to be perfect and it is not final!
Write your word of the year on card and place it somewhere prominent that you will see every day.
My word of the year 2019 was Teach
My word of the year 2020 is Clarity.
Ready to learn how to set your goals in detail?
Share photos of your goal setting notebooks with me in the comments or on my social media accounts. It is especially important to write down your goals in pen and paper, and I will tell you why in the next post.
You can listen to this blog post in Arabic through episode 8 of my podcast: