A few weeks ago, I participated in a webinar where we had to do some visualization for what we want in the future. Now, before you quit reading, give me just a minute or two more. I typically HATE exercises like this too. I don’t know why, other than I tend to feel silly closing my eyes and pretending to be somewhere I am not while in a room full of people. But this one was a little different. Maybe because no one else was around. It was a webinar, and I was participating while in my basement office. No one could see me, and I couldn’t see anyone either, even if I had left my eyes open. We were asked to visualize where we would be after achieving our long-term goals. I visualized being on a Viking Riverboat Cruise on the Danube River… It’s a Bucket list trip.
Exercise for Achieving Long Term Goals
So, let me take you through the exercise.
Close your eyes and imagine your life in detail 5 years from now. Where do you want to live? Do you want to live in one house or two? Are there any special smells in your home? What is the weather like outside? Where do you want to work, if you work at all? Will you be retired? How do you spend your time? What do you look like? What does your home look like? Is it a cabin in the woods? A house on the beach? How much money do you have in the bank? Where did it come from? Do you make charitable contributions to worthy causes? What is your relationship with your kids, your spouse, and your extended family? How do you spend time together? Where do you vacation? How long do you vacation? How do you travel? What do you do in your free time? What are your hobbies? Where do you volunteer?
Take some time alone
Spend a few minutes day dreaming about what your ideal life could look like 5 years from now if you achieved your long-term goals, then write them down. Give as much detail as possible. Even better, find some pictures on the internet or in magazines that match your vision for the future. Cut them out and put them where you can see them each and every day.
With these visuals of the future fresh in your mind, it’s time to set up your long-term goals so you can achieve them.
Start by listing five major things you’d like to accomplish in your life by this time next year. Be as specific as possible with each item you’d like to accomplish.
Here’s an example:
I want to reduce our credit card debt from $10,000 to $5,000 by February 2024. I will do this by paying double on my lowest balanced credit card while continuing to pay the minimum payments on all our other cards. When that card is paid off, I will roll those same funds into my next lowest balanced credit card. I want to accomplish this goal, so we have more disposable income to be able to send Johnny to private school the following fall for his freshman year of high school.
I was specific, said what I wanted to do, explained when I wanted to have it accomplished, and described my why.
This was just an example. Again, take a few minutes to list the five things you’d like to accomplish by this time next year. Lose weight? New job? Budget better? You decide.
Write down the tasks for achieving your long-term goals
Now that your long-term goals are written down, give some thought to the tasks it is going to take to achieve those goals. What is it that you want to get done in the next month? Is there any small piece of your long-term goal that you could do right away? Set 5 manageable tasks for the things you would like to accomplish in the next month. Then repeat them again, every 30 days until you have achieved your long-term goal. (If you need to change them up from month to month, not to worry, that’s okay too.)
To continue with my example from above:
- To reduce the chance of using my credit cards, I will remove them from my wallet.
- To save money, I will take my lunch to work 4 out of 5 days per week.
- I will take my coffee to work in my thermos to avoid purchasing coffee at the specialty coffee shop.
- I will create a weekly meal plan and grocery list, purchasing groceries on the weekends, to avoid getting fast food for dinner.
- I will wash my car by hand with the help of the family to save money from going through the car wash each week.
Again, do this for each of the 5 goals you’d like to accomplish in the next year. Set 5 reasonable tasks that will help you achieve your larger goals.
Setting goals that you want to achieve and breaking them down into smaller more manageable tasks that you can do over time will lead to greater success in achieving your long-term goals.
Here’s to accomplishing some goal setting and RESETTING your life!
Organization isn’t about perfection; it’s about efficiency, reducing stress and clutter, saving time and money, and improving your overall quality of life.” – CHRISTINA SCALISE
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