What comes first? Vision or Goals? Recently my personal trainer asked me what my fitness goals were for the next six months. I was suitably vague! I have this aspiration to run a sub-2 hour half marathon – so I said “I’d like to run faster”, then I said “I’d like to be really fit by this time next year”.
I’m a health coach, I know better than that! Notice that I wasn’t really committing to my health vision or goals for the next six months and I hadn’t seriously thought about it. On my way home, I decided to put myself through my own “Heroic Health Vision and Goal Setting Process”. It’s tempting to dive straight into setting goals when you have a clear idea of the result you want.
Even if you love goals and plans, they may seem daunting or hard work! When you start feeling like that, you can quickly talk yourself out of either making a start or you stop working towards the goal or target. It may seem too difficult or not worth the effort. I recommend creating your personal inspiring vision.
Dream a little, dream a lot! How is your life going to be when you’ve received your heart’s desire? How will you feel? How will you behave? How will you interact with your partner, family, friends, colleagues, new acquaintances? How will they interact with you? What will you be able to do? What is your BIG WHY for doing this? I suggest you think big and small with lots of detail. Then write it all down, in whatever way feels good to you. You may journal or write a list or write a letter to yourself about how wonderful you are going to feel and be when your health intentions are a reality.
Create a Vision Board or Vision Cards
I’d love you to do this exercise. You never know your left-brain may like a day off whilst you connect with your Inner Health Heroine.
Why do this exercise?
“You have to have a dream to make a dream come true” as the song goes! When you can visualise how you will look, feel and be, you will be clear on what it is you are aiming for and making plans and taking action will be easier. When the going gets tough, you’ll be able to bring the vision to the forefront of your mind or have a look at your vision cards, book or board to remind you of the big vision and why you want to achieve your goals and how this will change your life. I have the vision card bug now and regularly do this exercise and I can tell you it is amazing when you look back and can see that you’ve achieved everything you’ve set out to achieve.
What a typical left brainer may feel as she approaches this exercise!
You may be thinking what is the point? You may be feeling uncomfortable! I know I did the first time I did such an exercise. My advice is just ‘breathe’ and go with the flow. Trust me you will enjoy it and find it an absorbing fun exercise. You’ll feel like a child again and you’ll admire your work when it is complete.
It’s a personal thing.
If I’m honest I felt a little bit embarrassed doing this at first. It felt a bit woo hoo! It’s a bit like writing a journal – you may or may not wish to share it. That’s why I like to make vision cards – they’re small, portable, discreet if you want/need them to be (you may not want your family and friends to know your inner most desires). As I’ve become more in touch with my right brain I have created larger A3 Vision books for my business and I even have vision boards in my office. Think of yourself as an interior designer who puts together a design board to sell a concept to a client. Sell your vision to yourself. Make it so enticing and delicious that you will do whatever it takes to get your vision.
Resources you may need
- Gold, silver and coloured stickers – numbers, hearts, butterflies, flowers etc.
- Glue stick
- Pens – Gold, silver and colours
- Magazines – your favourites and maybe some new – I’d suggest subject areas such as health, travel, food, sport, fashion, women’s magazines, newspaper supplements, mail order catalogues.
- Images from Google or other internet sources.
- Favourite inspiring quote or words that will inspire and encourage.
- Additional arts and crafts materials – paper, ribbon, gift tags, foil, card, and glitter – anything you wish to decorate your vision cards/book with. Chalk, crayons, coloured pens and pencils, paints, stickers, buttons, glitter or sequins. You’ll get more creative as you go.
- An Art book if you prefer to have a vision book rather than cards.
How to do this exercise?
Step One – Set a time, date and place to do this exercise. You’ll need plenty of time – I sometimes take a whole day, but an afternoon or evening would be fine. Be somewhere comfortable with a large surface area i.e. table, desk, floor. Wear comfy clothes, put on background music, light a scented candle, have tea, snacks, maybe even a glass of wine. Choose a time when you’re not going to be disturbed or distracted – visioneering is important work!
Step Two – Start cutting out images or words/phrases from magazines or from internet which INSPIRE you and represent how you want to look, feel, live. If you can’t find the word or phrase you want, just write it on a post it note (you can write it direct onto the vision card using a pretty pen).
Step Three – Organise your images and words into groups which relate to your specific vision. Sift through them and ditch anything, which is not a perfect TEN – the visual must really, really excite you – don’t keep anything that’s just ok. Also be realistic, take out any images, which you know you can’t achieve within the timeframe you’ve set. Be in a “I CAN DO IT” frame of mind, however keep those images in an envelope, you may be wanting to use them for a future vision board.
Whilst you’re cutting and sorting start thinking about your vision card/book/board theme. What colours will you use? How will you decorate? Will you have a title page? Will you have a contents page? Are you just going to use images or just words or both? Will you have every part of your vision on one page or have a page/card for each part of your vision or goal? Will you use one side for images and one side for actions?
What I do – Anyone who knows me knows that colour coordination is a must for me, I also like detail so I tend to have several cards with one or two images (they may be photos or an arty image), I love to cut out words and phrases from magazines and often use a gold or silver pen to write the words I can’t find onto the cards, then I embellish with pretty stickers, sometimes I’ll sprinkle glitter on top of glue. I love my cards to be beautiful so I’ll like to look at them from time to time.
Step 4 – Putting your Vision in Place – Lay out the images onto the card (you may wish to choose one key image or to create a montage). When you’re happy with the layout start sticking down, writing and decorating.
Step 5 – Put your cards in a file or envelope – decorate the front or get another folder or file in a colour or pattern of your choice. Alternatively, if you’ve chosen an art book, you may wish to decorate the front cover. Take a photo of your work of art, make it into a screen saver or save it to your phone or tablet so that you can look at it whenever you need a little inspirational boost.
Step 6 – now you’re ready to Goal Set! Yes Vision before Goal Setting!