READY: Open Yourself to Endless Possibilities
Ready means allowing yourself to dream, define, and decide to live intentionally.
Dream – Do you remember as a child how excited you were about possibilities? Did you ever tell someone what you were going to do and where you were going to go when you grew up? What happened to those dreams? When was the last time you truly daydreamed? We let go of our daydreaming as we grow older because we “learn to be realistic.” Life gets in the way. When we start letting go of our daydreams, we start closing doors to our own opportunities. Open those doors back up. Daydream again. Be that child. What is it you really want? Imagine the possibilities. Picture your dreams. Visualize what your family and home look like. Tour your new work space. See your favorite vacation locations. Think about the conversations you have with your family, colleagues, friends, and yourself. Hear their words. Feel the success.
Sometimes our own human nature gets in the way. The natural tendency is to hold ourselves back, to say “I can’t” or “I shouldn’t.” Our brains simply follow the instructions we give them and thus we limit ourselves. Imagine what will happen in your life when you tell yourself “I can” and “I am.” Believe in yourself, your dreams, and the outcome. The key to believing is living; : start within your own mind, then go to reality. Start visualizing the expressions on the faces of your family as you demonstrate through daily action your progress toward your goals. See your family living in the home you love. Hear your colleagues congratulate you and ask for advice on how they too can achieve. Feel the respect you have earned.
Define – Outline your dream, define your goals. Write them out, and discuss them. Consider goals in all areas of your life.
Spiritual goals: What type of a spiritual life or relationship do you want? How much time do you want to spend in prayer or mediation? What level of participation do you want in a spiritual or religious community?
Family and relationships: Are your relationships as positive and supportive as you want them to be? If you could wave a magic wand, what would the relationships be?
Health and wellness: Are your eating habits what you believe they should be? Do you exercise as much as you want or need to?
Personal growth: Are there specific skills you want to develop? Do you want to improve your communication skills? Are you interested in increasing your own self-discipline? Are time management and organizational skills areas you want to improve?
Community involvement: Do you participate in community events? Are you volunteering with a nonprofit organization you believe in?
Leadership: Do others look to you to set an example? Do people come to you for insight or perspective?
Financial goals: How much do you earn? What level or income would be comfortable?
Professional achievements: Do you have a career goal you want to pursue? Do you want to develop your own business?
Personally significant dreams: Have you always wanted to do something you haven’t done yet? Maybe parachute, write a book, or go on a mission trip?
Travel: Where do you want to vacation?
The more specific the information attached to each goal, the more intentional you will be pursuing it. Define goals for each area, and then determine what measurement you will use to know you have achieved each goal. Focus on three to six goals to start; what specific, measurable steps you will take to achieve them? Intentionally plan what you want in each area of your life.
Decide – Now is the best opportunity you will ever have to choose intentional living. It’s as simple as deciding to achieve. What is holding you back from making the decision? How much has it cost not to decide? What happens if you don’t get it done? Do you give up on project too easily or refocus and adjust? An awareness of the cost of inaction can motivate follow-through. What is the potential once you move forward? Feel the value in your life and in the lives of those around you, so that you buy-in and own your goals. When will you start? Just saying you will do something is easy. Actually making it happen is where you get the results. How many times have you told yourself, “I’ll do it tomorrow?” If the time to start is anything other than now, is it possible something interferes? Is there a reason for waiting? What does it take to start taking small steps toward your goals now?
Writing down your goals is a first step in committing to them. You can see the big picture if you start by laying out a broad range of goals in each area. Choose three to six of your broad goals to start with. By focusing on three to six, you work with a manageable number of action steps. This kind of focus empowers you to be intentional when you plan.
Write out your goals, and then post your written goals where you can see them. When you see your written goals on a daily basis, they are more real and become a core part of who you are as a person. This leads to a focus and intention that drives your success.
Discuss your goals with people who support your success. Choose carefully. Many of our family and friends want to prevent pain and minimize risk, so they may caution you against a certain goal. Sometimes those we see as supporters in reality hold us back. Look for individuals who have achieved above and beyond the norm. Share with people who will not possibly see your success as a threat to their own feelings of self-worth because they themselves are confident in their own successes. Incorporate your goals into your daily conversations. Keep them present in your mind. Request your supporters to ask you about your progress if you fail to share your successes. Discussing your goals with others will increase your commitment to the goals. Verbalize what you want in order to strengthen your commitment to yourself, and set-up accountability with those who know your goals. Be positive and share with those you trust.