Every December, my husband and I schedule some time together to talk about the upcoming year. We discuss the ups and downs of the current year, sharing gratitude for what went well and musing on what we may have done better.
We give a lot of thoughtful consideration to the future, committed to being “conscious creators” of our lives. I don’t recall exactly where I first heard the term conscious creator, but I do remember that it resonated with me.
Why just let life happen to you? It makes sense to take the steps that are required to get you where you want to be. That’s what I want to share with you today.
Annually, my husband and I ask ourselves what kind of life we want in terms of several areas:
- financial security
- professional life / career / vocation
- family and friends
- community involvement
- health and well-being
- personal development (mental/emotional intellectual).
We describe specific elements of the life we want to live and the goals we want to achieve. The more specific you can be, the better your vision will be. Include when things will happen and how they will make you feel. Instead of simply stating that you’d like to save money this year, choose a realistic, specific dollar amount. Rather than only claiming you’ll take a spin class, indicate which class and how many times per week.
After my husband and I complete the initial planning phase, we outline steps we can take to help make these short- and long-term goals a reality. We illustrate our goals by creating a shared vision board with images that represent these goals, and each of us places our copy somewhere that we will see it often. We do this using Word, then print the boards, but you can also create one that’s more like a traditional bulletin board (The Reason Vision Boards Work and How to Make One).
Other people agree … vision boards do work! This year, my husband and I achieved almost everything on our shared vision board well before the end of the year. We know we were successful because we invested much more than an afternoon of copying and pasting images into a Word document. We took active steps throughout the year (and some last year) to make our individual and collective dreams happen.
By continually reminding yourself how you want to feel and what you want to achieve, you become more aware of the resources that are available to you. Talk to other people about your goals, and you’ll be surprised at how willing people are to help! Here are some examples of what you might include on your vision board:
- financial security — set up a 401K, review your insurance policies
- professional life / career / vocation — hire a coach, revise your resume, take online courses
- family and friends — plan time for meaningful interaction with the people you most enjoy; could be anything from game night to a camping trip
- community involvement — volunteer for groups/causes that interest you
- spirituality — commit to attending regular services, reading more about faith and spirituality, or meditating daily
- health and well-being — practice mindful eating and engage in outdoor recreation; sign up for yoga classes or begin walking every morning for 30 minutes or more
- personal development — take up a new hobby or register for a class (art, cooking, photography … whatever you like).
Remember that these are only examples. This life is yours. Make it what you want.
Happy New Year! 2018 will be fantastic!
Photo credits: http://www.pexels.com
Tricia Richards-Service is an adjunct faculty member of the Communication Arts Department at Marywood University and a doctoral candidate in health promotion. A 2017-2018 Fulbright-Schuman student research grantee, she is now in Europe, where she is conducting research on breast cancer in Ireland and Romania.