GO: Turning Your Dreams Into Reality
Go refers to putting your plan into action. To do that you must recognize, reality (as in reality-check), and review your progress.
Recognize – It’s critical to recognize where you are at each step intentional living process. Review your goals, the steps required and those you have taken, and evaluate your results. The time you have planned for weekly, monthly, and annual reviews supports and encourages the focus needed to accomplish each goal. During these reviews, note any additional steps needed for each goal. Have you encountered any barriers or roadblocks? What will you do to continue your progress? Now is the time to anticipate future challenges so you can prepare yourself and plan accordingly. Review the planned timelines. Are the timelines realistic and appropriate? Validate your successes to yourself. Feel how much better your life is today because of the steps you have taken in the direction you have chosen. Build additional motivation by recognizing yourself for your successes. Discuss your progress with your supporters. Ask for their feedback, both positive and constructive. Recognize their suggestions as opportunities. Visualize, feel, and hear the benefits. What happens when you do? The more real the goal is in your mind, the more real you are in achieving it.
Reality – We all sometimes need a reality-check. Now is the time to reality-check the progress you’ve made toward your goals. What events, behaviors, and outcomes have impacted you emotionally, physically, and mentally? How have these outcomes impacted your family emotionally, physically, and mentally? Make a list of the pros and cons of your results. Ask yourself, is this working? Is my current approach to reaching my goals working effectively? Am I seeing value of intentional living? Is there a need to adjust? If so, how do I want to adjust? It is okay to find your intentions have changed based on outcomes. Look at your reality and ensure it is effective for you and your family. When you see and feel results, you strengthen your motivation to live intentionally.
Review – Progress and movement, change and growth, are intoxicating. Living intentionally is about moving toward what you want. Crucial to this process is the need to review your progress, determine whether you are on the right track, and adjust accordingly. One trap might be that you are making so much happen, you forget to check whether the right things are happening and whether you are moving in the right direction. You can ensure your direction by creating benchmarks for your progress and analyzing these benchmarks regularly. Review your chosen measurements. Are you on-track? Are you meeting your short-term goals and moving towards your mid-term goals? Are your long-term goals becoming more real each day?
During this review phase, don’t forget to anticipate the possible reactions of others. We look for and expect positive reactions to positive results. Sometimes we actually receive negative or devaluing feedback because our success can be intimidating to others. Are you prepared to review the feedback, analyze it, and understand it for what it really means?
Consider re-setting your goals if appropriate. Sometimes while you review, you find yourself changing your mind about what’s important. Maybe living intentionally has given you a new perspective. Through intentional living your relationships may have changed and these changes may have an impact on your goals. Know that you can adjust both your goals and the strategies to achieve them. The key to adjusting is taking the time to dream again, define what you what, and decide to pursue these changes intentionally. Plan the changes by reassessing your assets and weaknesses, writing out an approach to action, and activating the new goals in your belief system.
Intentional living might sound like hard work. It is harder to start than to continue, and in reality, living intentionally means life gets both easier and better. You avoid wasted efforts, falling into random circumstances, or missing opportunities. Intentional living gives your life focus, purpose, and direction and results in actions that provide value.
Imagine your possibilities. Intentionally take the steps I’ve described and focus on your ready, set, go process. Begin, move forward, and advance: and in doing so you will steadily increase your level of effectiveness. As your guide on the side, I want to share the impact intentional living had in my life. At the beginning of this chapter, I outlined a time in my life when I’d hit bottom. I hit so hard, in fact, I had no choice but to begin to live intentionally. I don’t want you to have that experience. I share what I learned so the power of intentional living can be yours. As a result of intentional living, I found a place to live, a job, childcare for my children, and I began building a new life. My children never knew hunger, and they did not ever forgo participating in activities growing up because of a lack of money. Intentional living carried me from a starting job to a better job. Within seven years, I owned a home and was running a small company. Continuing to live intentionally has meant I have continued to overcome challenges, and now I see those challenges as opportunities. By following a process of intentional living, life continues to be better each day. Today is your day to join in, to live intentionally, and to know that success is waiting for you.
Imagine a conversation with a highly successful person you respect. They tell you they are just like you-human, vulnerable, capable. You might struggle to believe these words; they are true. The conversation shifts toward your dreams and a discussion of what works in your life, what doesn’t work, and how you can be more effective. The person assures you that your eventual success is a given, that achieving your dreams is a given, and that when you reach your dreams your challenge is to share your success with others, to appreciate the process, and to know the door is open for yet more.
Intentional living empowers you to encourage others to live intentionally. Plan your basics. READY: dream, define, and decide; SET: assess, approach, and activate; and GO: recognize, reality, and review. Be the person you want to be, share your success with others, and excel through living intentionally.