LIFE IS A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT: MAKING PERSONAL GOALS IN LIFE
By Tresa Leftenant CFP®
I was a complete and total victim earlier in my life. In my 40’s, I’d been through three marriages and was considering a fourth with another wrong man. I was thousands of dollars in debt, and my children were suffering from my poor parenting. I was drinking too much, blaming too much and feeling like my life was out of control with no personal goals in life.
One day I had an epiphany. I realized when I looked at all the messes in my life, there was one common denominator. It was me. It was a lightning bolt from heaven! If I was the reason for the messes in my life, I had the power to change things. At that moment, I made a new choice. If I was going to change my life I needed to start with changing me. I didn’t know anything about how to do that at the time, so I asked the Universe for help. I committed then and there that if the mysterious higher power helped me, I would make some personal goals in life. I would do anything that my life was guiding me to do.
Soon after that, a brochure arrived in the mail advertising a self-esteem workshop for teens. I didn’t know much about self-esteem at the time, but I remembered my commitment and enrolled my daughter. A short time later I was in a communication workshop for work. The instructor had books for sale at lunch. She pointed out a cassette tape series by Jack Canfield called How to Build High Self Esteem. Again, I remembered my commitment and purchased the tapes.
Asking for help, keeping my commitment and taking two simple steps led me to a new life journey from living my life as a victim to embracing my role as The Decider!
Setting a Course for Change
To realize our dreams, we can imagine a better life in the future. We can think with the end in mind, holding a Vision of a different life firmly in our imagination. Our Vision must be strong and detailed. This is so we feel a strong motivation to make different choices and take new action in our life.
When we create that new life Vision, we can brainstorm and write down ideas and thoughts about what we might need or what we might do to build our Vision. Some of these new thoughts can turn into our personal goals in life. Other goals are long-term, and others are quick to achieve. Some goals will make us uncomfortable, while others will be easy to meet. Once we begin to set goals to achieve our Vision, then it’s time to create an Action Plan. Then, we need to focus on what steps to take first and what steps to make later.
There will never be enough time to work on everything that we want all at once. We can learn to prioritize. What changes can we make immediately? And what action steps can we take next on goals that will take longer to achieve?
For instance, your Vision may be to hike all the mountain ranges in Europe. Your first priority might be a trip to Italy next spring. Your first goal, which you can take immediately, could be searching for affordable flights. Next, you might plan a series of personal goals in life. These might include an exercise schedule for getting in shape, researching and setting up your route, and reserving hotels along the way. A longer-term goal might be learning conversational Italian, which requires researching language apps and setting up a practice schedule. This process is how you set personal goals in life and take empowered action. Step by step you can get closer and closer to achieving your goals and living your Vision!
Exercise – Setting Your New Course for Change
1. Write down a Vision of a New Life
• I want to leave my corporate job and open a home business.
2. Write down three personal goals in life that will take you in the direction of your Vision
• I am clearing out the clutter from the spare bedroom
• I am researching small business opportunities
• I am attending a small business accounting class at the college
Phrase these three goals in the present tense as if you have already achieved them.
“I am bicycling through Tuscany sipping wine and eating fabulous food” instead of “my goal is to bicycle through Tuscany.”
To stay motivated and focused, expand your VISION as you pursue and achieve your personal goals in life. Your imagination is there to help you visualize a new life with just a little bit of encouragement. When you have a goal and take action to achieve it, your motivation will increase! Write your Vision and goals on an index card and carry it with you for constant review and inspiration. Post your goals around your environment to keep them at the top of your mind. Be creative and have fun with it. Don’t forget to celebrate when you achieve your goals!
We have to declare to the world, and to ourselves, our clear intention of living our dreams. When we state our personal goals in life in the present tense, we create something called cognitive dissonance. Our mind hears our intentions and realizes that this condition isn’t present in our life. That’s when our mind does its job. It comes up with new ideas on how to make our personal goals in life a reality.
“I accept the guidance and help from the same force that created me. I let go of my ego. And I trust in this wisdom to move at its own peaceful pace and I make no demands on it.”
Wayne Dyer, The Power of Intention
Pursuing a Vision of a better life isn’t just about taking empowered action steps. We can also listen to guidance from our higher power and pay attention to our intuition. Life is a marathon, with the finish line way off in the distance. We need to keep moving along, step by step, and enjoying the scenery along the way.
Have you ever considered hiring a coach? Tresa Leftenant, author of Reinventing HER, Helping Women Plan, Pursue and Capitalize On Their Next Chapter works with women frustrated with their current life circumstances and want a co-pilot to help reinvent their lives. Send an email to [email protected] to see if she is the Life Coach who can help you create a life of meaning and purpose.