I have always enjoyed dreaming, setting goals and putting in place action plans for myself. Now, as a coach I get to experience this by helping my clients get their dreams and plans out of their heads and into a clear vision, with goals and actions; to make their wants and dreams a reality.
My favourite tool to bring a dream to life is a ‘Vision Reflection Letter’ to yourself. That’s a name I made up! I was first introduced to this way of approaching goals by the gorgeous Sophie Trpcevski back in 2010. It’s a letter you write to yourself from the future, when you’ve achieved your goals.
Steps for ‘Vision Reflection Letter’:
1. Pick a date in the future - let’s say it’s 1 year away; 15th December 2019.
2. Write a letter to yourself, from this point in time (as though you’re writing it on 15th December 2019). Start by writing ‘It’s 15th December 2019 and I’m reflecting on…..’
3. Add in all the details about what’s changed for you that year. It’s critical to add as much detail as you can imagine about what’s different and how the transformation has come about. It’s also really useful to include sensory experiences at the time you’re reflecting (ie 15th December). You might like to do this before you begin to write – visualise yourself in one year’s time – what you’re wearing, how your hair is, the size and shape of your body, where and how you are sitting as you write the reflection and how you feel physically, mentally and emotionally; what your self-talk dialogue is. The mind doesn’t know the difference between imagined and real so when you imagine this detail the mind believes it to be true. Imagine how you’ve spent the last week – who you’ve interacted with and what these interactions look like, feel like and sound like; what exercise you’ve done and the food you’ve eaten and how this looks, feels, sounds. The more you can bring your senses into what you’ve been doing the better.
4. Continue to flesh your letter out with details of all the good things that have occurred in the last year, including what you’ve achieved, particularly in relation to the goals and dreams you have for your life.
5. There’s no word limit so write as much as you like.
It’s all about taking action. This letter is an example of taking the first step towards making a change. You can now either choose to take action and do this activity; and I mean actually do it, not just imagine it as you read this. Grab a pen and paper (or your laptop, tablet or phone) and start writing your letter from your future self now, without the critical mind (you don’t need it to be perfect, you just need to start), then you’ll get the momentum rolling on making your change. Remember change starts from the moment you take the first step. You might not start knowing exactly what you want but do start; and the process will evolve until you become very clear on what it is you want. It won’t happen over night but it will happen!
So go on, set aside some time to write your letter. You might like to spend 5 minutes meditating before you start; turning your awareness inwards for a little so you can listen to what your inner guide is telling you. Then write it down! Make a start. Embellish with as much detail as you can manage. There’s no word limit so go for it.
When you’ve finished there’s a couple of options you can take:
1. You can either keep this more front of mind by rereading it and refining it as you move through the year; or
2. file it and watch the magic happen! Take a photo of it (or save the file if soft copy) and pop it in a folder on your computer or in your mailbox entitled ‘My vision for 2019’. I’d recommend writing this by hand as there’s something about the action of physically writing which is beneficial as you form the letters, with your hand, from the messages your brain is sending. Then, schedule a time in your diary to pull it out and have a look at this vision. Set an alarm and include where you’ve saved the photo or file.
Note – include on the reflection letter the date it was written. In the above example, write somewhere ‘written on 30 November 2018.
A useful variation of this exercise, if you’re needing some motivation to get some work or home activity completed is to write this ‘future reflection’ one week or one month out.
Eg It’s Sunday 18thDecember and I’m reflecting on what a productive week I’ve had and how much I’ve enjoyed the social connections I’ve had after being so busy this last few months. I caught up with Sarah and we had such a fun time sharing our plans for next year. I completed our financial budget that I had been procrastinating on for the last 6 months. I was up before 6:30am most days and went for a walk 2 mornings and to the gym circuit class each Thursday morning at 6:45am.
If you think you need a support crew to get you started:
You can get in contact or come along to one of our workshops. Our next goals workshop is scheduled for 7th January - here’s the link for more details ‘2019 Goals’ workshop on 7th January 2019 from 5:30-7pm.
Join us for some dedicated time to get clear on your vision for 2019, and accountable to make the changes you want. You can share your ‘Vision Reflection Letter’ with me and I’ll do the work to send it back to you at the end of the year to see how much you’ve transformed.
In the workshop we’ll reflect on 2018 to acknowledge what went well, what was challenging and what needs to change in 2019. The focus will be on leveraging your strengths while being sure to recognise the obstacles and challenges, and make a plan to mitigate these.
You’ll come away with 3 actions to take this week, next week, this month and this quarter, to get you well and truly started in setting the wheels in motion. I’ll be in touch to keep you accountable to these action steps for the first month.
You could do much of this work on your own. The benefit of the workshop is to commit the time to reflect and plan; to be guided through the process by a facilitator and to use the opportunity to share with others what you want to achieve if that’s helpful for you to stay accountable. I’ll also follow you up on your actions to support you to stay accountable to yourself.
This workshop is for you if:
· You’re so busy you don’t think more than a day ahead, let alone take time to consider what it is you want from your life.
· You need someone to guide you along to get your ideas out of your head and onto paper.
· You need to be kept accountable so it happens
· You enjoy the group aspect of doing this with others, not just on your own, in isolation.
All participants receive $40 (cost of workshop) off any coaching packages booked before 14th January 2019.
Visit https://www.flourishmindfully.com.au/class/jan-goal-setting-workshop if you’d like to join us.