How to develop a clear vision

The end of the month is a real danger zone. After all, it's around this time that many of us turn our back on the positive habits we've been working hard to form since the start of the year.

There's often a sense of I've proved I can do it, now let me off the hook involved, a justification I've used while trying to sabotage myself in recent days.

But why do we find it so easy to break our promises to ourselves? What is it that holds us back? It can't just be a lack of will power....

Quite often we struggle because our mission isn't clear. We're not actually sure why we're doing what we're doing.

When I started out in my professional life I had a simple purpose - to introduce people to good wine. For five years this clarity allowed me to funnel my time, effort and energies in a logical way.

I used the SMART approach (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time sensitive) to create goals that helped me move forward, and although I didn't make as much progress as I'd have liked, I always felt some comfort in staying true to my mission.

Since life is full of unpredictable circumstances though, pushed and pulled by internal and external forces, what we want out of it inevitably changes. We can find ourselves lost, directionless and in need something different.

Ultimately this state of paralyses forced me to change the way I ran my wine business.

But knowing when to stick to your mission and when to change isn't always clear and can often lead us into long periods of procrastination.

Through my work with the why studio I've realised it helps businesses (and individuals) to go back to the basics, to start with a clean sheet of paper and articulate what it is they are really trying to achieve.

Only with a clear mission, or major definite purpose as Brian Tracy put it, can we keep ourselves focussed and stand a chance of sticking to the goals we set. Sometimes these ideas help define a clear vision.

  • You must pursue something you really love. The idea of getting there, of making it happen excites you more than anything else.
  • It must be clear and specific. Can you write it down in a clear and succinct way that literally anyone could read and understand?
  • Make it measurable and quantifiable. If money is the marker, make it a real number and not just 'a lot'. When specifically will you achieve it by?
  • Is it believable and achievable? Is there a good possibility that you can be successful?
  • It must be in harmony with your other goals.

Personally I struggle most with the notion of harmony, of keeping my goals aligned with my major definite purpose. What about you?

Having the opportunity to do almost anything we want in life makes it very difficult to choose. I'd love to travel the world for example, but it's not easy to achieve alongside building a business publishing a local magazine for example.

So, try this. The next time you feel paralysed by options, unsure why you are pushing yourself hard to pursue one goal at the expense of another, take some time alone to reflect and crash test your mission before seeking distraction. Write it down again and ask yourself if it's really what you want to spend the coming months and years chasing?

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