Are you stuck in life? Feeling smothered, like you are pinned into your job, emotional state, relationship or level of health and can't seem to find the time, method or technique to help you break through and become unstuck in life?
This is often where we suddenly see the importance of life planning and begin to contemplate setting life goals that help reset both our expectations as well as our journey to change things up.
For each of us, this moment of realization that our life is a rut comes at different times…for some, the late teenage years or early 20's is a time of "finding ourselves" where we move from one lifestyle into another.
Many people experience the feeling of being stuck in life in their 40's as they have locked into a lifestyle including a stable relationship, a career path, perhaps a mortgage and some debt…this can all come to a head suffocating some people, shocking them into a state where they want to make some changes.
The task can be a challenging one though, the enormity of having to re-design your life can be overwhelming to the point that many people avoid it altogether while others cannot truly believe in their new life goals, doubt being a critical obstacle to committing to a new direction in life.
Here are 4 steps that can hep simplify setting life goals and reinforce them with belief that it takes to realize fundamental improvements in your life.
1. Where Have You Been?
This step is tricky because we never want to limit the future by what has happened in the past, yet we do want to learn from the past and use that knowledge to help us design our future life goals. What I find most useful is to look back over your past life in 5-year increments (Ex. If you are 40, look back at 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and now for this exercise). The idea is to pull out the top 2-3 positive experiences, goals and feelings you had from each of these periods. Once you have done this, do the same for the negatives…what are the top couple of negative experiences, feelings or missed opportunities from these periods. It's not imperative that you fill this in completely, you are looking for the big experiences here.
Often taking this step alone helps tremendously because:
- You see some pretty marked trends in your life in terms of what you really felt were positive experiences that you can build on for the future
- You also release (and thus cleanse) yourself of the past missed opportunities and negatives so that we can leave these behind and not repeat similar mistakes
- It gets your mind primed for setting life goals for the future…we have to start somewhere and thinking of our past in these terms helps us to make new plans for the future
2. What Do You Aspire To Achieve, Be and Do?
From your past examination, now the first thing you want to do is suspend disbelief. In other words, don't edit your thinking for this next step by what you "believe" to be possible, we'll work on that in a subsequent step.
What you want to do next is to picture yourself 5-years from now and then 10-years from now and write down the ideal picture of what your life would look like again, suspending disbelief.
You want to include elements like:
- What would your health and fitness level be like?
- What emotional state do you aspire to achieve – example include peace, joy, forgiveness, gratitude, confidence, fulfillment
- How have you contributed to the friends and community around you?
- What is the financial situation you aspire to?
- Who do you want to be with in terms of significant other and close friends?
What you are aiming at here is to paint a clear, emotionally charged vision for your future. Have you achieved that?
3. Set Up Your Plan
Now that you are charged up by your long-term vision for your life plan, you want to break that down into a set of congruent goals that will help you stay focused and to act as "check points" on your journey toward your life vision.
The idea here is to set both short and longer term goals that help deliver you toward your life plan.
For example, if your vision is to be at a weight of 180 lbs, to have a low body fat content, to have high energy through the day and to have an immune system that prevents you from getting frequently sick you would set goals that look something like:
- I will lose 5 lbs by August 30th of this year
- I will reduce my body fat content from X to Y by September of this year
- I have eliminated soft drinks from my daily routine and will substitute water by July of this year
As you can see, these are very specific goals that take you part way toward your life vision. Not only are these goals achievable, but they are congruent with your bigger life vision and are fueled by emotional attachment to your life goals
4. Recognize And Manage Obstacles
We all have obstacles in our lives that often hold us back in life. We cannot fool ourselves into thinking that just setting life goals is enough to overcome some of these resistances in our lives.
For this step, we need to look back at the past and use some introspection to look within ourselves and recognize our challenges…perhaps they are low self confidence, shyness, insecurity, fear or health and energy related obstacles that stand in the way of us achieving our life plan.
In Attracting Greatness we highlight how life obstacles held us back for years and how many others cannot achieve their life pans due in large part to the fear, insecurity and uncertainty they feel in their lives.
Fortunately, these common life obstacles that keep us stuck in life are manageable. We need to highlight and develop a plan to no longer be victim to these obstacles in our lives in this stage. Once we are able to manage these obstacles we can be completely focused and driven toward realizing our life plan.
Are you ready to take the challenge?
What are your thoughts on setting life goals and having an emotionally charged life plan that guides you in your life? Leave us a comment.