By: Lymari Vélez Sepúlveda
It is no surprise that the foundation of a successful business lies in planning, in writing down short and long term goals. Well, the same goes for life. It is vital to know where you want to be to develop a map, a strategy.
This summer, I faced a personal situation that led me to reaffirm what I wish for my life. From that moment, I started to meet people who- with either actions or words- has reinforced my desire to remain faithful to my dreams. For example, during a new bloggers’ event hosted by lululemon athletica in Puerto Rico, I heard about how the company supports its employees to set their life goals. I wanted to know more about this strategy, and that is how I met Brandon Cook, lululemon’s store manager at The Mall of San Juan.
“Setting goals is very scary. What we ask everyone is to envision their lives 10 years from now. We want to be present at the moment, but we do not think about what we want to be doing 10 years from now. So, if I wish to be in this place at 42, there are things I must be doing right now to get there. I do not want to be 42 and say ‘oh, I am not where I want to be.’ I need to see what I need to do right now to be exactly where I wish to be in 10 years,” affirms Cook, who- in 10 years- aims to have a center where he can help others develop their life plans.
How to create your vision
There are several ways to create your plan. Some do it through a vision board or a treasure map expressing, through images, the life they will love to have. For example, you could cut out pictures of happy couples, people exercising, individuals performing volunteer work or you could even take a photo of the house of your dreams.
At lululemon each employee writes a short biography of how they envision their life in 10 years. “If you write it in the present tense, it becomes a declaration. It becomes a more powerful statement,” says Cook.
His biography is beautiful. He wrote it as if he is already 41. In the vision, he includes his children, in the present tense, even though he is not a parent yet. As part of his life’s plan, he also wrote his goals for the next one, five and 10 years in the areas of health, personal, and professional life. He included both his objectives and a dateline. This helps him measure his progress. Of course, every couple of months he reviews the list to make some adjustments to his life’s dreams.
To set your plans, divide your life into these three areas:
For each one, draw a circle and asks yourself:
- What’s your ideal life in each area?
- What is the meaning of each of these areas in your life?
- What words come to mind when you think of each one?
Write within each circle the answers. Then, combine and write them down in a larger circle. Outside of the big circle write all the things you DON’T want in your life. This information will help you create your vision or biography for the next 10 years.
Write your vision in the present tense. Be affirmative.
Answering these questions might also help you write your vision:
In 10 years, I am…
In 10 years, I contribute…
In 10 years, I help bring to the world…
In 10 years, my accomplishments are…
Goals bring you closer to your vision
Besides your biography, it is important that you set your goals.
Goals are the measurable steps that help you get to your vision.
Start writing those things you want to accomplish in the next 10 years in the areas of health, personal and professional life and establish a due date. Do the same exercise with your goals for the next year and the next five. Some examples of goals are: to have children, establish a savings plan, spend X amount of hours doing volunteer work, completing a Ph.D., changing jobs or working more time from home.
Also, remember to share your life goals with others. Maybe they can help you achieve them. Plus, they can also hold you accountable.
Focus on the positive
During the summer, I exchanged e-mails with Jessica Dimas, creator of the blog Pig & Dac, author of the book “Anything Can Be” and contributor to The Huffington Post. I conveyed to her my frustration about not achieving one of my most important goals even though I made some major lifestyle changes. She told me that perhaps I was still too focused on my career, instead of working harder on my aspiration to devote more time for my family and my personal growth. She suggested to me to do the following exercise:
- Write down all the beliefs you have about the aspects of your life you want to improve.
- Check if any negative beliefs might be holding you back from reaching your goals.
- Transform negative thoughts into positive affirmations. Compose a new list of your goals. Write them in the present tense. Keep the positive.
- Review every day your list of affirmations and take a moment to imagine the life you dream as if you already have it.
I will use these, and the strategies explained earlier to draft a new vision. I invite you to do the same!
Share your thoughts and what works for you in the comments’ section below!
NOTE: This article was originally published in Spanish at HuffPost Voces.