Deciding what you want is an important step towards a great year, but unless you know how to execute on the vision, your desires will stay in dreamland forever. When hopes and good intentions never actually come to reality, we end up frustrated with the resolution process and heartsick over the future that never seems to arrive.
Start With Your Milestone
In the previous step you learned about crafting a big vision that reaches 10 to 30 years into the future. Now you need to to bring it down to where you see yourself at the end of the next calendar year.
This year vision becomes a short-term milestone in your long-term life journey.
For example, if your year theme is Financial Freedom, then your milestone vision might include statements like this:
On December 31st…
- I have twelve new clients
- My credit card is completely paid off
- I have launched my first online product
- I have saved $2,500
You want to challenge and stretch yourself, but you also need to be realistic. There’s little value in getting excited now, only to be disappointed at the end of the year when none of what you want has become a reality.
Get Clear On Your Needs
1) Do a Resource Check
Reaching your year vision is going to require resources. Some of those things are already in your possession, while others need to be learned, acquired or achieved.
Let’s start by identifying what is currently at your disposal.
Your resource list should include everything that will help you; even simple everyday things that you might consider inconsequential.
Here are just a few examples to get you thinking.
Your INNER Resources:
Your insights and understanding that will contribute to your success.
The abilities you have developed and strengthened over time.
How your unique makeup makes you the perfect person for this plan.
Integrity, resourcefulness or resilience that are required for the road ahead.
The things you already do every day.
How your background gives you the right perspective and has shaped you into the kind of person who can do what it takes.
The way your life theme, dreams and desires connect to the vision.
Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing matters.
The way you feel makes a big difference in pushing onward.
Your OUTER Resources:
Your spouse, friends, staff, family or acquaintances that can support and contribute to the vision.
- Money / Income
It’s a powerful tool to get things done.
- Land / Property
This can include things like office space, or a rental unit that generates additional income.
An important everyday tool.
As a means to learn and grow.
To meet the travel demands of your vision.
Your blog, career or ministry as a place to influence others.
To generate income or meet your other objectives.
To develop skills, make connections or generate income.
As you develop your list, make sure you’re thorough. Think through all of the inner and outer resources that can make a difference in reaching your milestone.
2) Identify Your Limits
Now that you have an idea of your resources, write a similar list that identifies your areas of need. These are your limiting factors that, if left unaddressed, will hold you back.
For example, you may not know where to invest your savings, how to get published or who can introduce you to the right people. You may struggle with procrastination, low energy levels or limited finances.
All of these deficiencies can hold you back and keep your vision in dreamland. However, if you can clearly identify your problem areas, you can make a plan to either fix or minimize them.
3) Answer 3 Key Questions
To help gain even greater clarity into your limiting factors, and to identify the right solutions for each one, consider these three questions.
Question #1: “What Must I LEARN?”
Learning is a powerful way to advance your life. When you grow yourself, you become far more effective, because success is rooted in principles. Although life can be unpredictable and full of unique circumstances, when you discover the right way to think and act, your likelihood of success goes way up.
Learning makes you more resourceful by gaining new understanding, beliefs, skills and habits.
Growing your understanding
Do you know how to accomplish each piece of your vision?
For example, if you want to launch a product, you need to know how to identify your target audience, offer the right features and benefits, tell a compelling story and create an effective launch.
If you have been trying to pay off your credit card without success, then you likely need to learn a better way to get it done.
In the pursuit of your vision, knowledge and understanding is a big deal.
Growing your beliefs
It’s been said that behaviours are beliefs turned into action. When you believe the wrong things, you’re at risk of behaving poorly or disqualifying yourself before you even begin.
I like to frame beliefs with The Four Story Formula.
1. Identity: Who you think you are
2. Values: What matters most to you
3. Worldview: How you see the world
4. Pathways: The best way you’ve found to live
All four stories need to support your vision. If any one story is pointing in the wrong direction, it can sabotage you.
For example, in order to improve a relationship, you need to believe that you’re worthy of love, that your deepest values are being satisfied, that the other person is worth the effort, and that connecting deeply doesn’t mean you’re heading for rejection.
Growing your skills
Are you good at the right things?
You may need to improve your skills in writing, speaking, presenting, cooking, reading an income statement or working with a specific piece of software.
Whatever it is, your vision requires that you become more effective at something. Unless you make a serious effort at getting better, you might miss the mark.
Growing your habits
Habits are a huge part of our daily choices. Life is far too complicated to consciously decide on every action we take. Instead, our brains become efficient with automated behaviours that can either get in the way of success or make it effortless.
Rather than focusing on the habits you want to break, set your sights on those you want to build. For instance, instead of breaking the procrastination habit, develop the action habit.
Other habits include waking up early, reading, writing, setting aside $100 per week or going for a daily walk. If it’s something you should be doing every day or week, then it’s a habit you need to build.
What habits would make your vision easier?
Question #2: “What Must I ACQUIRE?”
Some of your missing resources need to be acquired. You might think “learning” and “acquiring” are interchangeable, but I prefer to keep them separate. While you may be able to acquire (rather than learn) a new skill, you can’t learn a new vehicle into your driveway; you need to acquire it.
Let’s look at some examples.
In order to save money, you may need to find the right financial advisor. To gain new clients, you might require a mentor to instruct you or new machinery to increase your capacity. Launching a new product could mean you need a better computer or the assistance of a designer.
In short, acquiring is about getting the outer resources you need to reach your vision.
Question #3: “What Must I ACHIEVE?”
To achieve is to accomplish an outcome through effort.
This question helps to identify the smaller milestones that will lead to your vision.
If you want to run a half marathon, for example, you need to be able to run 21km (13 miles) in total. A smaller achievement milestone is to run 1km, then 3km, 5km and so on.
In order to launch a new product, you need to create the lessons, write the workbooks, build the website and so on. To gain new clients, you may have to improve customer service, order processing or your sales tools. Increasing your savings could require that you achieve higher sales in your day job, which likely means that you need to achieve higher call rates.
What are the mini-achievements that build the path to your year-end milestone?
It’s All About Systems
I’m sure you’re now getting the idea that you need to look at each vision statement as a whole, made up of smaller parts.
When you see it as a living system, full of things to learn, acquire and achieve, it becomes a lot more practical.
You no longer have to live each day as it comes, hoping for the right circumstances that will make your dreams come true. Now that you clearly see what’s required, you can approach your life with the kind of purpose and persistence that makes your big dreams possible.