In my previous post, I wrote about how essential it is to create a life vision for yourself and gave you an exercise for writing your own life vision.
Often when I do this exercise with coaching clients, after they have written their vision, they begin to panic. They have just written this detailed vision for their life, but it looks very little like the life they have right now.
Their unspoken (or sometimes spoken) fear is, “How on Earth am I going to make all of this happen?”
When you create a vision that incorporates every aspect of your life and involves hundreds of actions and changes, not to mention facing some fears and self-doubt, it can be a bit daunting. How on Earth does one make all of this happen?
There is no one right method. As I mentioned in the vision post, you can just pick something at random and do it. This may not be the most elegant way to get there, but you are still moving forward.
But I like the idea of having a little structure around overhauling your life. It's sort of like the way I clean my kitchen. Rather than just moving randomly around the kitchen and cleaning willy nilly, I like to pick a section and clean it completely before I move on to the next section. (That's the “J” function in my INFJ personality I guess!)
So if you are partial to a bit of structure around your life, here are some ideas for organizing the changes and actions required for creating your life vision. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to do this. But if it all feels overwhelming to you, this might help you feel more in control of actualizing your vision.
A Monthly Life Vision Theme
I like the idea of focusing my actions with a monthly theme. A month gives you enough time to really make a dent in something, but it's not so much time that it feels like forever.
You can start anywhere with any of the life areas mentioned in your vision, but you may want to begin with the area of your life that feels the most critical to you.
The Domino Theme
These important, key areas of your life that need an overhaul can be the impetus for a boat load of change.
For example, let's say you don't feel great because you are overweight, you eat poorly, and you don't exercise. Assuming that good health and energy are part of your life vision, then beginning in this area of your life can have a tremendous impact on every other part of your life.
It's like pulling a thread which unravels the entire fabric of your current life. Or pushing a domino and watching everything else easily follow fall into place.
Changing your health habits will give you more energy, increase your self-confidence, and make you feel better about life in general. This can impact your relationships, your ability to make positive change, and your lifestyle.
Sometimes these Domino Themes are really big and might require creating monthly “sub-themes.” So if we stay with the health example mentioned above . . .
- the first month might be focused on changing eating habits;
- the next month might be themed around taking care of doctor's appointments;
- and the next might be beginning an exercise program.
This will require you to break down the one vision goal into a variety of sub-goals, and then define the actions for each sub-goal.
What you will likely notice as you work on your particular Domino Theme is that many other areas of your vision will materialize easily — not because you “attracted” it or something magical happened, but because the big life change made all of the other changes much easier to accomplish.
Do you see a Domino Theme for your life?
The Mix and Match Theme
I have had those Domino Themes in my life before — most notably when I was seeking my life passion. But sometimes you are at a point where several different areas of your life need some attention in order to get you closer to your vision.
Also, some of us enjoy a little variety in our life vision creation. We get bored or drained by focusing too much time and attention in one area. That's why I like this idea of Mix and Match monthly themes.
Maybe the first month you want to focus on your relationships. You can pick one particular relationship to work on, or you can focus on one aspect of relating with everyone in your life that might need work or attention.
You may not complete your goals in a specific life area in one month, but you will make a good dent in them. And you can always revisit this area again down the road. In fact, you probably should, as your life vision is a work in progress.
Then switch it up the next month with another area of your life where you focus your energy.
The beauty of this Mix and Match system is that you can watch progress in all areas of your life in a relatively short amount of time. If you are one of those people who tend to take a few bites of everything on your plate rather than eating all of your potatoes before consuming your peas, then this is a good system for you!
The Clean-Up Theme
Sometimes making our life vision a reality is as much about cleaning up the roadblocks as it is about taking action steps to reach a goal.
If you are stuck because of fear, self-doubt, anxiety, depression, indecision, limiting beliefs, anger, emotional pain, or any other mental or emotional barriers, these must be cleared up (at least tidied a bit) before you can make substantial progress on your life vision.
If you don't clear these barriers, you will find yourself constantly taking a step or two forward, only to be pulled back by your debilitating emotions or beliefs.
Creating a monthly theme related to cleaning up inner barriers isn't the most thrilling part of working on your vision. But you know as well as I that you can't make progress if you remain stuck in these situations. You must clear them up if you want to make your life better.
If you are depressed, anxious, angry, or in emotional pain, make your very first step to find a reputable counselor who feels like a good match for you. Visit or interview several.
If you can't afford it, speak with the counselor about payment options or ask about free counseling services that might be available in your area. Do what needs to be done to get yourself into counseling to deal with these debilitating emotions. Some holes are too deep to climb out by yourself.
If you are dealing with self-doubt, limiting beliefs, or indecision, consider working with a coach to help you clarify what you want and to challenge you to move past beliefs and negative thinking that are blocking you from positive action.
Do you really need a coach or counselor?
But when my car needs fixing, I don't hesitate to take it to a professional rather than try to diagnose and fix it myself. You may be able to self-correct your inner barriers, but I promise, you will make much more progress in a much shorter amount of time with a good professional.
If you see that you have much to clean up before you can dive in to other changes in your life, then create some monthly clean-up themes.
Only you know what those might be, but I would suggest beginning with the most debilitating first. Once you address and remove this barrier, you may find that the others fade away as well.
Some General Tips for Your Monthly Theme
- Prior to the start of each monthly theme, write down all of the actions you can think of that are involved in the particular work you are doing. Break down the actions into the smallest possible parts.
- Allot a certain amount of time daily or weekly to working on these actions. In the beginning especially, be sure you give yourself plenty of time and that the actions are easy and quick.
- Plot your action steps on your calendar, and make this sacred, non-negotiable time for working on your vision.
- If you see you have more work than one month will allow, then go into the next month if you wish. Or go the Mix and Match route and work on something else the next month, and resume the first theme another time.
- Create some accountability for yourself to further motivate you to take the actions. Discuss your monthly themes with your family or friends. Ask for their support.
- Recognize that many of the changes you will be making creating new habits or dropping old ones. Habit formation requires some specific plans and actions to ensure they become automatic and stick. You can read more about habit formation here.
There is no right way to go about creating your life vision. There is only the best way for you.
Examine your life as it is today, and look for the “low hanging fruit” — the places that are screaming for your attention. If it resonates with you, pick a method for working on this area with a monthly theme.
Organizing your life vision into manageable bites definitely makes the process of making your vision a reality much easier to chew!