Once you’ve defined your personal vision and life purpose, the next step is to make them live – to integrate your picture of the future with your daily behavior patterns, so that you begin making your dream a reality.
The power of your subconscious really comes into play here: by ingraining your personal purpose and vision into your inmost thought processes, you’ll start thinking about events and making decisions in light of the future picture you’ve outlined.
But how? These 2 steps will help establish your own vision within your subconscious mind. And (at least as importantly), they will provide practical and immediate tools for action.
Step 1: Establish a Behavior-Change Plan
Identify up to 3 behavior changes that will move you toward your personal vision.
At this point, your prime enemy is inertia, so the first goal is to make some defined change, even if it’s just one small shift. Does your vision involve a healthy lifestyle? One of your early behavior changes might be to incorporate produce into your diet on a daily basis.
By starting with only a handful of relatively small, do-able goals, you’ll encourage yourself and reinforce your vision, making your program real and helping the big picture feel achievable.
As you identify each behavior you want to change, break it down into manageable pieces and set a course. Let’s build on our previous example of incorporating more produce into your diet, and lay out a 3-step plan:
- Stop by the library and pick up a cookbook focused on interesting new fruit and vegetable dishes
- Purchase at least 5 produce items during your weekly trips to the grocery store this month
- Every evening of the work week, take a few minutes to prepare a salad for your next day’s lunch
Share your goals with your accountability partner and ask him or her to to check in on how you’re doing. In a short time, you’ll look back and be encouraged by the progress you’ve already made.
Step 2: Visit Your Vision
Periodically, take your purpose and vision statements with you on an “appointment with yourself.” It’s best to go away from your workplace for this—to the park, a restaurant, a coffee shop, whatever.
During this appointment, review each statement and your progress. Note any changes you’d like to make, and highlight items that seem more valid than ever before.
For the first couple years, I recommend doing these reviews monthly. Gradually, you’ll reduce your visits to quarterly and eventually down to once a year. (Although many clients find these sessions so powerful that they never go longer than a few months between visits with their visions.)
It’s often helpful—especially in the beginning—to have a partner do these reviews with you. Objective questions will help you truthfully address your progress and gauge the accuracy of your statements.
Good luck as you take action!