By Lori Schlotzhauer, Conscious Transformation Certified Trainer
"The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision" ~ Helen Keller
Many people create New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of the year. Many of these goals and resolutions will not come to fruition simply because people often lack the internal aspects that contribute to successful changes. Each December, I create a vision for myself. In July, I check in and verify my progress and refine my goals as needed. I have put together 3 easy steps that I use when creating goals and vision for myself. I hope that the following three C’s will help you transform your vision into the outcome that you choose for this year and beyond.
Create the life that you choose in your mind first by visualizing what you desire in every aspect, including finances, romance, health, family and career. Then set goals and identify the benchmarks that will help you move toward those goals and, ultimately, create the life you envision. It’s okay to dream big! For me, my dream of owning my own business began well before I opened my doors 11 years ago. As a Physical Therapist, I envisioned what my studio would look like, the type of clients I would attract and the overall feeling of health and wellness that people would experience as a result of my business. From that clear image, I was able to define steps and set benchmarks that would take me toward that vision as I continued to enjoy my current place of employment.
Keep in mind the lyrics from a country song where Neal McCoy compares a man without a dream to a car without gasoline. Without gas, a car won’t go anywhere. This applies to humans, as well. If you have trouble picturing what you desire in life, surround yourself with people who exemplify what you aspire to. Remember that anything is possible — once you have envisioned what you want, take the steps that are necessary to create it.
Choose the emotions, thoughts and beliefs that align with your vision. A positive emotional state is crucial to accomplishing your goals. While it is necessary to think in order to plan, it is even more important to feel in order to take consistent action. The key to successfully achieving your vision is to align your emotions and beliefs so that you act as if you have already accomplished your goals. As I mentioned before, when creating my business, I could imagine how I wanted to feel waking up in the morning knowing that I was going to my business and all that I would accomplish. I even imagined how my clients would feel driving to my office to see me and how they felt once they were finally there. Often, clients will walk through the doorway, close the door behind them and say,"Oh, I’m so glad to be here!" with a big a sigh of relief. That was part of my vision!
If you feel frustrated with the process or doubt that you will realize your dreams, you will impede your progress with these fear-based emotions. On the other hand, if you feel hope, excitement and passion about where you are heading, you will continue to take the necessary actions that lead to small successes. These small successes are what will eventually fulfill your vision.
In their book, The One Thing, Gary Keller and Jay Papasan discuss the Domino Effect, the notion that "a single domino is capable of bringing down another domino that is actually 50% larger." You can use this concept to get extraordinary results in your own life. Determine what you must do first to bring about your desired change in one aspect of your life. This doesn’t need to be a big effort; remember, your first domino can be small, because success is sequential, not simultaneous. Keep working at achieving this one goal until you succeed. This achievement will lead to a second, with each accomplishment building on the previous one and moving you toward the greatest success possible. Keep in mind that someone who is knowledgeable and has accomplished a lot has done it over time. Making significant changes in your life is not instantaneous; it is a gradual process.
It is important to celebrate your accomplishments along the way. What have you accomplished toward your goal so far? If weight loss is a goal of yours, what actions have you taken toward that goal? Did you begin a movement routine that was new for you? If you want to be kinder, did you show up kinder 50% more of the time? Offering positive reinforcement and encouragement are the best ways to support success. You can use these tools for your own goals, as well. Focus on what you have accomplished rather than on a long, overwhelming list of what you still have to do. This allows you to reflect on what has worked well and why you succeeded.
Celebrating your accomplishments also helps you cultivate a "success" mindset. There is a chemical reaction responsible for this. When we achieve a goal, or even simply anticipate success, a neurotransmitter called dopamine is released into our brain. This leads to feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment. We enjoy these feelings, so we will do the activities, such as experiencing success, that release dopamine more often. Before I opened my business, I celebrated the success that I experienced working as an employee, as well as every action I took toward my vision as a business owner. Breaking down your goals to specific, smaller benchmarks allows you to experience success frequently, thus developing a mental approach that builds on the momentum of your past achievements.
While keeping the three C’s in mind, it is also beneficial to have a daily mindfulness practice to train your mind and emotions to align with your goals and vision. To begin your practice simply sit for 10-20 minutes a day. Close your eyes and become aware of your breath. Focus on your center – a point about two inches below the bellybutton and about an inch back toward the spine. While focusing on this point, inhale for a count of four, take a gentle pause (1-2 seconds), exhale for a count of four, and then take another gentle pause. Continue with this focused breath. If distractions come to mind, gently refocus on your breath and center. Then, connect with your vision. See it in as much detail as possible. What are the things you are doing? Who are you doing them with? Notice the emotions these images bring up in you. Doing this practice consistently, ideally on a daily basis, will strengthen your vision in your mind and charge your emotional connection with those intended outcomes.
Using the three C’s and beginning a mindfulness practice will help you train your brain to consciously create the life you want. Work toward aligning your thoughts, beliefs and emotions with your vision and take actions one at a time to create an extraordinary life.
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Lori Schlotzhauer is a trainer in Denver, Colorado. The teachings of Conscious Transformation are important to her as she believes it to be the answer to true, long lasting transformation.