Where do you want to be in a year?
It’s not a question that many of us stop to think about because it’s hard enough to get through the week or even the day without worrying about a year out.
But if we never stop to think about where we want to be, we wake up one day and wonder, what have I accomplished? Is it what I actually want to accomplish? Why haven’t I accomplished more?
Nurses and hospice workers say that one of the biggest regrets that people have on their deathbeds is not living the life they wanted to.
But it doesn’t need to be this way if you choose to live life intentionally and authentically.
Where do you want to go?
Think about your last vacation. How much time did you spend planning it? My guess is you spent a total of at least 10-20 hours deciding where to go, how to get there, where to stay, what to eat, where to sightsee, and what activities to do.
Why? Because you only get so much time off per year and want to make the most of it. And with at least a little planning and research, you’re more likely to have an amazing vacation.
If you can benefit so much from spending a little extra time planning two weeks of your life, imagine how much more you could benefit by planning the other 50 weeks of your life. You can go from living a life that feels like a hamster wheel to living a life filled with intention and purpose. Whether you think about it often or not, you only have so much time to live on this earth. Why not give yourself the best chance at living a life you’ll love?
The role of your subconscious mind
Even if you have a plan for where you’d like to be, you still might not be living that way. It’s not because you’re lazy or not good enough, and it’s also not because it’s too hard or you don’t have enough time. It’s because it isn’t ingrained in your subconscious mind yet.
Your subconscious mind is responsible for the automated part of your life: habits, automatic processes like breathing, reactions like the fight or flight response, forming memories, interpreting what’s happening around you, and creating beliefs about how we should live and how the world works. Up to 95% of what your brain processes happens in the subconscious mind so you don’t spend huge amounts of energy processing all the minute details of your day.
So any time you introduce new behaviors or beliefs into your life, it’s going to feel strange. Not only does it take significantly more energy to integrate these into your life, but they also might conflict with previous behaviors or beliefs already ingrained in your subconscious mind. And when that happens, your subconscious mind is actively going to fight against you.
So when you’re planning out where you want to be in a year, you need to figure out what you want to achieve and change and you need to get your subconscious mind to embrace that plan.
The personal vision statement
That’s where a personal vision statement comes in handy. It acts as your guiding force for who you want to be and what you want to achieve, plus it makes it easier for your subconscious mind to accept your new plan as the status quo.
So how do you create and use a personal vision statement in your life?
1. What do you want to accomplish in the next year?
Often when we think about what we want to do in our life, we think about something broad that might get done in the next 5 to 10 years. At first, that feels less stressful because we have so much time to get what we want done. But it also makes it harder to make concrete plans because it’s harder to wrap our brains around where to start and what steps we need to take.
By narrowing your focus to a year, you’re more likely to be specific about what you want to accomplish (i.e. I want to write and publish two books this year vs I want to be an author), making it easier to break your plans into manageable steps that can be performed over the course of the year. And with specifics, you’ll probably find you can get a lot more done than you thought you could.
So start by making a list of what you’d like to do in all areas of your life, including work, family, other relationships, health, and spirituality. Don’t be afraid if the list looks too challenging right now. We’ll come to that.
2. Write your vision statement
When you’re writing your vision statement, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind:
- Write it in the present tense: When you write in the present tense, you’re telling your subconscious mind that you’re already doing these things, even if you’re not. The funny thing is, your subconscious mind believes you because it can’t tell the difference between real life and an imaginary visualization that it's told is true. This is what concepts like the Law of Attraction and mantras are built off of, and amazingly they work as long as we pair them with action.
- Be descriptive: The more descriptive you are, the easier it will be to see yourself as the person you want to be. Visual descriptions especially make it easier to solidify what you’re working to become.
- Write them by hand: This isn’t absolutely necessary, but when you write your vision statement by hand, you use parts of your brain that don’t get activated when you type. This helps you ingrain the visualization even deeper into your mind.
So what does it look like when it’s finished? Let me show you with an example.
I am a multi-dimensional mom. I work a full-time job in a field I’m passionate about. Every day I come home at 5pm and put my electronics away so I can focus on my kids until they go to bed. Three days a week I wake up early to fit a workout in so I am on top of my game. Every night I write about my day in my journal to process and release everything that happened so I get the best sleep possible. Twice a month, my husband and I go out by ourselves to deepen our relationship. I model balance, love, and joy for my kids every day so they can grow up and know how to create those attributes in their own lives.
Some of this might be true right now, and some or all of it might not. What's most important is that this statement uniquely represents your desires for where you want to be in all areas of your life a year from now.
3. Read your vision statement every day
Writing your vision statement down once doesn’t make it magically come true. Just like a new habit, your vision gets integrated into your subconscious over time, which means you need to make sure that you’re using it every day.
Reading it out loud uses different parts of your brain (like writing by hand) and helps integrate it further into your subconscious. But if it’s difficult to read it out loud, just reading it every day and visualizing it as true is a great start.
Visualization can also be incorporated at the beginning or end of your daily meditation practice because it’s a lot easier to form a new habit by tacking it onto an existing habit. Or you can write your vision statement out again every morning to get those extra motor skills involved. The more you do any of these and visualize your statement as true, the more your subconscious will believe it and the easier it will be to actually become this person.
4. Find your action steps
It’s not uncommon to write a vision statement and then ask yourself, how in the world am I going to do this? If you’re challenging yourself, it probably feels difficult to plan all of this out and get it all done. It might even feel terrifying.
That’s why you need to list out what you need to do accomplish this year and then integrate those action steps into your days.
Start with a list of all the action steps you think you'll need to do to make your vision a reality. Things like:
- Going to the gym 3 times a week
- Writing 1 blog post a week
- Putting away work after 7pm
- Getting 8 hours of sleep
- Attending 1 professional conference every quarter
Break down any tasks that require multiple steps so your list reflects how tasks will actually need to be accomplished (i.e. If you’re writing a blog post, you’ll need to create tasks to research, write, edit, and publish).
Then, schedule all recurring tasks into your calendar. For tasks that don’t need to be done at a specific time, schedule them as early in the day as possible to ensure they’ll actually get done. The later you schedule tasks, the more likely something will come up to prevent you from doing them. So you want to make sure that the most important tasks for your vision get done first to ensure they get done the day they’re supposed to be done.
Finally, you’ll take everything else from your list and prioritize them from most important to least important. You’ll probably want to keep this list on a program that’s easily updated so you can continue to add to this list or rearrange it as necessary.
5. Integrate your vision statement into your daily life
As you read your personal vision statement each morning (or at night if you plan your days the night before), choose the 3 most important action steps you’re going to take for the day. For instance:
- Get a 30 minute pilates session in at 5:30am before the kids wake up
- Write out a proposal for a new project at work
- Play soccer with the kids for 30 minutes while they take a break from homework
This includes any recurring tasks you already have scheduled for the day that support your vision.
Three doesn’t seem like much, but when we have more than that it becomes difficult to prioritize and finish everything. When you limit yourself, you ensure you’ll be making progress on your most important goals and have a much better chance at completing your most important goals every day.
Once you have those three items, schedule them into your calendar, giving them the appropriate amount of time to complete them. Again, make sure they’re scheduled as early in the day as possible.
Only when those are scheduled do you look at the rest of your day and schedule anything else that you want to get done. But remember, the only three things you’re absolutely committing to are the three items on your to do list. Everything else is just icing on the cake.
6. Re-evaluate on a regular basis
The beauty of your vision statement is that it’s yours, and just like you it can change. You should re-evaluate your statement every 6-12 months to make sure it still aligns with who you are and what you want to accomplish. If not, then feel free to tweak it until it feels right again and use that to guide the next 6-12 months.
I like to re-evaluate my vision every year on my birthday, but you can use any date that will act as marker to remind you it’s time for a re-evaluation.
You deserve to live a fulfilling life that you love, but you’re the only one that can make it happen. Even though setting up a vision can take some time, and maybe even create a big shift in how you structure your day, I promise it’s worth it.
One of the best ways to support your vision is to keep yourself at the top of your game. We’d love to help you do that with our nutrition-packed meals. Our culinary team hand crafts every meal with attention and care to make sure you’ll receive meals that keep you feeling energetic and taste delicious.