More and more, people are doing away with New Year’s resolutions and instead setting intentions for what they would like to achieve over the next 12 months. Resolutions, intentions, goals—whatever label you prefer to use—are only possible if you take consistent action toward them. Whatever it is that you want to achieve should become your primary focus, and you should maintain an unshakable level of momentum and focus.
The thing people get tripped up on is the notion that goal-setting is primarily done at the beginning of the year. On the contrary; deciding to achieve something new can (and should) be a point of focus throughout the entire year.
The way to make your dreams turn into reality is by revealing your vision for how you would like to be living your life, to associate into that reality as if it is happening NOW, and then to identify action steps that you can take every single day to get yourself there. We’ve all heard the phrase “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and neither will your new life be created overnight. The biggest mistake people make is trying to do everything all at once, which only leads to overwhelm and, subsequently, giving up.
Your best bet for making it happen is to see the vision, set a few bigger goals, and then break them down into smaller, more manageable chunks that you can tackle one thing at a time.
A gentle and inspiring approach to identifying where you could place some focused energy and attention is through meditation, or guided visualization. There are a couple ways you can begin. If you know what area of life you are wanting to transform (e.g., health and fitness, career, relationship), you can do the following guided meditation with that area of life in mind. If you aren’t sure what direction to go in, you can follow this process by doing it several times, each time with a different area of life in mind. That will ultimately give you several visions to work with that you can combine into one “big picture” vision for your life.
Guided Meditation for Intention-Setting
- Minimize distractions by silencing your cell phone and letting others know you need silence and privacy for a period of time.
- Find a comfortable, upright seat with your feet placed firmly on the floor (or a meditation cushion).
- Begin to breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose, exhaling with equal depth also through your nose.
- When you feel as though you’ve settled into a calm, centered, and relaxed state, bring into your awareness the area of life you would like to transform.
- Imagine your highest vision for this area of your life as if it has already happened, and you are presently living in this energy. For example:
- How do you look?
- How do you feel?
- What are you doing?
- Who is there with you?
- What is happening around you?
- What are your daily practices to keep you anchored in this ideal vision?
- Make the vision as compelling and as real as possible. Your vision isn’t something that needs to be created–it already exists within you. You just need to access it.
- When you have spent some time breathing into the being-ness of living in your vision, next ask your Higher Self, God, the Universe, or your intuition (whichever feels most appropriate for you) to show you a goal–or a few goals–that you will need to achieve in order to fully step into this vision of your life. Think of your goals as milestones along your path. What do you need to produce or gain in order to actualize your goal? Make a mental note of these things.
- Now, knowing that this goal must be attained for you to move closer to living in your vision, it’s time to identify action steps to be taken each day or each week; perhaps there is a practice or some other support structures you may need to put in place to assist you in getting to where you’re going. Ask yourself, “What do I need to do this week to move me powerfully forward in my life toward (your goal)?” Is there a daily practice you can be doing (e.g., meditation, exercise, clean eating, conscious communication, writing) to anchor you to your vision? Are there support structures you can put into place (e.g., join a mastermind group, hire a coach, ask a friend for support, or enroll in a course) to help fortify your resolve and maintain your focus?
- With your action steps, support structures ,and practices now in your awareness, it’s now time to energize them–to set them in motion on your trajectory toward that which you desire. Visualize yourself inside a picture or movie in your mind where you are seeing yourself take action; you are feeling inspired and empowered because of the momentum you have gained and the progress you are making. As you look around, notice how your life has changed as a result of achieving your goal. As it all merges together, you realize that you are now living your highest vision for your life in this area.
- Now, step out of the picture or movie in your mind and imagine you are holding it in your hands. You no longer see yourself inside the picture or the movie – you are looking in on it. Take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale the breath out your mouth, sending it straight into the image of you living in your highest vision. Do this four times to energize your intention with prana—life-giving energy.
- Next, imagine that you float up above where you are now. Taking the picture of your highest vision with you, float out into your future and let it go—watch your picture float right down into your future-based timeline on or before the date you would like to actualize it. It’s important to trust that it will land exactly where it’s meant to. Notice how all the events between then and now reevaluate themselves to support you in bringing about your goals and vision.
- Float back down into now and spend a few moments following your breath in and out, settling back into your body, back into this moment in time. When you feel ready, slowly open your eyes and sit quietly for a few minutes reviewing your vision, the goals, and any action steps or practices you need to take or cultivate.
- Last, take out your journal and make some notes. What was the area of life you focused on? Write in detail about your vision and what you saw as being possible. Make some notes about the goals or milestones you will need to hit to make your vision a reality. Prioritize the goals, if there are more than one, and set start and end dates for them. Next, jot down the action steps, support structures, and practices that will aid you in achieving your goals.
Now that you have put your vision, goals, and practices out into your future, and you’ve written them down where you can see them every day, it’s time to act. As soon as you’ve gotten 90 percent of the way to achieving your goal, begin acting on the next one. This year, you have 365 new days to take a new action. With momentum like that, there is wild success in your future.
Ready to start flowing with the Universe, instead of against it? Learn a natural, effortless style of meditation that helps make every day feel easy, fresh, and fulfilling with Basics of Meditation, a self-paced online course guided by Deepak Chopra. Learn More.