How To Make 2017 The Best Year of Your Life
It’s time to turn those dreams into a reality.
Start Setting Life Goals
Some life coaches talk about setting “SMART” goals, goals that are “specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.” That doesn’t really inspire me. In order to attain your goals and dreams, you’ll eventually need to translate them into actionable steps. However, I prefer to start with your heart and soul before we get “practical”.
Here’s how to create soul-stirring life goals with the power to move you into action:
1. Dream Big
I love this quote from motivational speaker Les Brown: "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." Imagine that anything you dream of could be possible. Even if you don't make it all the way, you'll have a fabulous time trying.
2. Make Sure You're Doing What You Really Want
I became depressed in my 20s because I had spent my life trying to please others, fulfilling their expectations and heeding their well-meaning advice. Once I figured out what meant most to me and what I really wanted to do, my depression lifted and life became fun and fulfilling.
3. Imagine A Day In Your Ideal Life
I ask coaching clients to write a no-holds-barred description of an ideal day from the moment they wake up to the moment they lay their heads on the pillow at night. Where would you be? How would you spend your time? Who would you be with? How would you earn your income? This exercise helps you identify what's missing from your life, and where you'd like it to go. It provides clues about next steps you could take in the life you're living today. One day, you might wake up and realize you're living what you wrote! That happened to me less than ten years after describing it.
4. Write A Bucket List
Make a list of a hundred things you would like to experience, do or have before you "kick the bucket." Coming up with a long list like this makes you dig deep and reflect on what moves you most. From that list, select which things you'd be able to complete in 2017.
5. Identify What Causes You The Most Pain In Life
What do you complain about most? Your weight? A relationship that drives you crazy? Being up to your ears in debt? Identifying your greatest areas of pain helps you set goals that resolve these difficult situations, moving you out of frustration and dysfunction and into a more satisfying life.
6. Decide On Your Key Categories
Having a well-balanced set of life goals will help you live your way into better-balanced life. I divide my goals into career, finances, relationships, travel/fun, dance, spiritual life and health/beauty. My friend Jenny Blake, a coach, blogger and career development manager at Google, created a life checklist with these categories: travel, skills and knowledge, experiences, career, finances, relationships, and physical. What are the seven most important areas for you, based on the ideas, dreams, and goals you've unearthed so far?
7. Set Long-Term and Short-Term Goals
Some experts recommend setting one-month, one-year, five-year and ten-year goals, and I do that every now and then. I've found it more practical to keep my ultimate end-point goals in mind (e.g. being financially independent), and continually ask myself what the next right step is to keep moving along the path to each goal. It helps for small steps to be "SMART" goals as described above.
Keep the above exercises, lists and goals in a special notebook, date your entries, and update and rewrite as you go. You'll enjoy looking back and checking off goals or dreams you've accomplished-I put gold stars next to mine!
Dr. Susan Biali, is a life coach, medical doctor, international speaker, professional flamenco dancer and the author of "Live A Life You Love: 7 Steps to a Healthier, Happier, More Passionate You"