Children are taught by their parents and teachers to think ahead by, for example, making sure that their materials are ready for a writing assignment that’s due, or getting their school bags packed and ready to go in the morning.
We start by giving them one-step directions, and then slowly increase the demands and expectations so they can eventually learn how to do more for themselves, like get themselves to and from school and complete classroom assignments.
However, some children never quite get the hang of being this self-sufficient, and don’t have the skills to anticipate, plan and execute daily living on their own.
In the educational field, we call those skills executive functions, and while not all of us have executive functioning issues, many adults stop planning for their future, in both small and big ways.
We may be able to get the grocery shopping done, but we may not be heading to a future of our own design. While the life we are living may be satisfying, it may not be what our hearts truly desire.
Can You See What’s Missing?
There is a simple and yet highly effective strategy for getting where you want to go – it’s beginning with the end in mind. Put on your future glasses and see yourself at the end point.
Let’s say you want to be financially abundant – what does that actually look like? For example, when you wake up in the morning, where are you, what’s in your room and what will you do that day? Be very specific.
Just like looking at the picture of a puzzle to see what it will look like before you put the pieces together, the same should be done for our dreams – as if we know what they’ll look like, we can start laying the foundations.
To get you started, follow these three simple steps:
1) Picture Yourself
Making vision boards or collages is a creative and fun way to imagine your future, but if you’re not physically in the collage, it tends to stay in the realm of fantasy – so the best way to make it seem more of a reality is by putting a picture of yourself in there too. And don’t forget to put your loved ones (both the two and four legged variety) in there as well.
2) Describe a Day
Start to describe what your ideal day will look like. For example, from the moment you open your eyes, describe each thing you do, such as what kind of shampoo is in your shower, what you will eat for breakfast, and what you’ll wear. This can also become an exercise in gratitude as you may already have or do some of these things – helping you realize that you’re already on the right track.
3) Start Today
If you know how it will look and feel when you’re living your dreams, you can work towards them everyday – starting with today. If your future self has fresh fruit in a silver bowl next to a steaming cup of tea every morning, create that in your home now and savor the feeling of living your dream.
If we want to model and demonstrate a life well-lived, we have to show – not tell – our children and those around us what it looks like. While defining and manifesting our goals is very important, sharing them is incredibly powerful too.
For example, tell others that you are learning to speak Italian, or that you’re entering your pastel drawings in an art show, or starting a business helping people tame the technology in their lives.
Organizing our lives is a skill that has to be practiced. We should get better as we get older, but often we slip into our comfortable habits and leave the dreaming and planning to our children. While some of our dreams will take years to manifest, others we can begin feeling and seeing immediately. Today, I’ll work on my children’s book manuscript. How about you?
I’ve found these three goal setting techniques to be the most effective in reaching my dreams. What are some of yours? Please share them below.