January 1 is the most important day of the year for me. That day I set aside to reflect on what I’ve accomplished the previous year and decide what I want to do in the coming year. It’s a day of contemplation and reflection, but it’s more than that. It’s also a day of commitment to action for what I decide to do on January 1 determines my path for the next twelve months. I’d like to share with you the goal setting process that I’ve developed over the past 20 years in the hope that you too will find value in it.
Setting the Stage:
First after either fasting or eating a light breakfast sit quietly with your journal near you. I usually begin a new journal on this day. For folks that don’t have journals have some special paper or a nice pen. All this is to signal your subconscious that an important event is to take place.
Close your eyes or keep them open, whatever works for you, but wait until you reach a calm, detached place before proceeding. In this calm state ask your higher self, “What are 10 things I’d like to do before I die.” When the answers start coming pick up the journal and write them down.
When no more items come easily to your mind, regardless of the number, stop writing. Force nothing. Now look at what you have written. Are there any patterns? Is anything or anyone conspicuously absent. Decide which items are your top 5 priorities for the year. Maybe you will be able to do all 10 but prioritizing is good practice so that we learn to focus and not spread ourselves too thin.
Examining your 5 priorities make a list of what pushes you forward to get them, the driving forces, and what holds you back, the restraining forces. The greater our driving forces and the lesser our restraining forces, the better our chance of getting our goal. Determine how much energy you will put into increasing your driving forces and decreasing your restraining forces. If your restraining forces are the greater, you may wish to consider dropping that goal and focusing on another one. Having unrealistic goals is one of the ways we sabotage ourselves in life.
Examine your goals to make sure they are within your power to make happen and that they are concrete and specific. This step will help you to eliminate goals like “I want to win the million dollar lottery” and “I want my family to be happy.” The first goal is not within your power and the second goal is not concrete and specific. Instead of saying, “I want my family to be happy”, you could say, “I will devote one hour daily to do whatever my son would like to do.”
Develop action plans consisting of several steps that will move you from where you are now to your goal. Give yourself a date to start and a date to accomplish your goal. This step is your commitment to action. Lists will not get your goal only action will do that. Starting is the hard part. Once you have accomplished a few steps you will gain momentum and it’s easier to reach your goal than not to reach it.
Close your eyes and visualize yourself getting your goals. Practice this visualization every day. A study was done at an American University with basketball players. They were measured to see how many baskets they could shoot and then divided into 2 groups. One group who was told to practice for an hour a day improved 24% in a month. The second group just visualized getting baskets and improved 23%. Let’s hedge our bets and do both the visualization and the practical steps of our action plan. Who knows maybe we’ll improve 47% that way.
Save your goal list and after you have written your goals next year, look back at this year’s list and see how many goals you accomplished. You will be incredibly and pleasantly surprised.
For more assistance on how to manifest your goals, we recommend that you read Pages 41 to 56 in Tanis’ book, Manifest Your Soul’s Purpose.