When was the last time you asked yourself what YOU really wanted? Not what your boss or spouse or parents wanted, but you? Not what you thought you wanted when you were 25 or what you are “supposed” to want, but YOUR desires, right now, at this point in your life?
I’m guessing it’s been a long time for many of you. Even those of you that spend a lot of time reflecting and setting goals can get caught up in the “supposed-to’s” instead designing the life you desire.
It’s time for you to reconnect to you.
To hear the whisper inside your heart that’s been waiting patiently for you to listen.
To feel where you’re being called this year.
I have 3 journaling prompts to help you do just that.
I recommend setting a timer for 5 minutes, putting your pen to paper to answer the first prompt, and then writing continuously until the timer goes off. Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation or even if you’re making sense. Just write. Repeat with the other two prompts. Here they are:
If you had a magic wand, what would be different one year from today?
My heart is telling me to…
At the end of the year, I’ll regret if I don’t…
After you finish writing, go back and read through what you wrote. What jumps out at you? What messages is your true inner voice telling you about where you’re being called this year?
It’s that time of year. Resolutions promised. Vision boards created. Business plans crafted. Performance and development goals set at work.
Do you want to make changes in 2018? Become a better version of yourself? Take a step (or leap!) towards achieving a dream? Instead of just thinking about change, make a plan to achieve it.
As most of you know, I am launching a business in coaching and facilitation while I write a book on getting the most out of development experiences at work. I am also writing a children’s book around mindfulness and emotional awareness – with ideas for more that I want to explore. I had general goals for my business and writing, but I knew that I needed to be much more specific so that it wouldn’t take years to get there – and so I would even know where “there” was! It is hard to hold yourself accountable to ambiguity.
In November I spent a few hours on the floor of my condo surrounded by index cards and Sharpies to make this happen. I followed a simple process to articulate my vision and then work backwards to goals and tasks that were easy to achieve. The only required materials are index cards and a pen – but feel free to add color and creativity as desired! Here you go!
Brainstorm your vision for 2018. Do you want to run a half marathon? Write a book? Start a side business? Write each idea on a separate note card.
If you are unsure of your vision, ask yourself:
What would a successful 2018 look like?
What could you change that would improve the quality of your life in 2018?
If you own a business, what targets will you achieve? What impact will you create for your clients?
Line up your goals. If you have more than 5, I recommend pairing them down. The fewer goals you have, the more likely you are to accomplish them. One goal complete is better than 10 goals left unfinished.
For each goal, ask yourself: What do I need to do by the end of June to accomplish this goal in 2018? Perhaps you run a 10K in preparation for the half marathon. Write 50,000 words of the novel you’re going to complete. Create a page on Etsy. Write each action on a notecard.
Now take it three months out – to the end of March 2018.
Repeat for the end of January 2018.
Finally, what do you need to do each week in January to reach your first set of milestones by the end of the month?
I had goals around writing my books, networking, building coaching clients and speaking engagements, and the logistics of running a business. I also included goal setting as a task to complete each weekend to make sure that I’m staying on track and adjusting my actions as needed throughout the year (or change my goals – that is also allowed!).
Finally, I got out masking tape and put them up on the wall – a visible reminder of my goals and what it will take to get there.
This process was a fantastic kick for me to get moving. It created structure, clarity, and process for goals that were too high-level and future focused to be attainable in the short-term. It motivated me to get moving TODAY. I hope it does the same for you! Cheers to achieving your dreams in 2018!
Heather Whelpley is a coach working with people that want to have a meaningful career and live up to their own potential, but feel stuck in their job. See her home page to learn more. She is also the host of Destination Soul Shine, a community dedicated to nourishing your soul and making your spirit shine. Like Destination Soul Shine on Facebook or follow us on Instagram @destinationsoulshine for resources to inspire you to live a meaningful, healthy, creative life.
On my last day in Slovenia I decided to do what I enjoy most: walk. I had walked all over Slovenia during my 10-day trip – on mountain paths to waterfalls, down country lanes past herds of sheep and cows, on boardwalks through gorges. This last trek was along the coast from Piran, where I was staying. I planned to follow a designated walking route north, do a short loop at the end of the trail, and walk back to Piran.
I missed the turn back. I saw it. I paused to consider whether I should turn there, but the trail markers I had been following for two and a half hours kept going down the coast. So I also kept going.
After a while I realized my mistake. I wasn’t lost. I knew I could turn around, but at that point turning around would mean walking for at least six hours. I could do it, but it didn’t sound fun.
So I kept walking forward. I could soon see a town in the distance on the coast. I was pretty sure it was Izola. We had stopped in Izola on my bus from Ljubljana to Piran, which meant if I could get there, then I would eventually be able to find my way back to Piran without having to walk for hours on end.
I continued to follow the path along the ridge over the sea. Eventually the trail ended at a road. I kept walking down and forward. The road led to a park (with a much needed bathroom!). From the park there was a promenade along the ocean to a marina. From the marina I walked to the first road I saw and followed the signs pointing to the center of town (it was now clear that I was actually in Izola – yeah!). I walked a few blocks along the road and ran directly into the bus stop. I checked the schedule and the next bus for Piran was coming in 10 minutes.
I’ve thought a lot about this walk. What amazes me most is that I felt no fear. Here I was, walking alone in a foreign country where I didn’t speak the language, not entirely sure where I was or where I was going and yet I had complete confidence that it would work out.
We could use a fancy corporate term, like managing ambiguity, to describe my attitude that day, but it really comes down to one thing: faith.
How many times do we need to be reminded of keeping the faith? When the final job interview yet again doesn’t lead to an offer. When you want to be in a relationship and put yourself out there only to be rejected. When the pregnancy test comes back negative. When you’re launching a business, but haven’t landed your first client.
And yet I am reminded of the walk to Izola. Not only did faith lead me to the end I wanted, but it was a beautiful journey. The Adriatic Sea sparkled into infinity. Soft pale green olive trees twisted their branches creating artistic shadows in the grass. The sun shone brilliantly above me. I felt like I was walking in a Van Gogh painting.
I know the journey doesn’t always feel beautiful. Sometimes it’s heart wrenching. It is vulnerable being out there on a ridge, knowing what you want, but unsure when and how it’s going to happen.
But keep the faith. One foot in front of the other. You (and I) will get there eventually.
Heather Whelpley is a coach and speaker that works with women to master doubt and imposter syndrome and own their brilliance. Learn more about her coaching services here.