The academic year is soon coming to an end. We are still in lockdown. Some things are allowed, some aren’t. These times might be a great time for some reflection.
You can do this in two ways: either by looking back or by looking forward and questioning yourself: what do I want? What is important to me? What will be the next steps? Marie inspired me to write this blog.
Thinking won’t help you
We are so incredibly good at thinking a lot about what we want. And then talk about it, and again discuss it with somebody else. Laying awake mulling over it, thinking a little bit more about it. Having so many circling thoughts in your head. Exclaiming deep sighs. Not knowing and then sleep on it again.
In the meantime, we haven’t progressed at all. Thinking won’t help. The only way that will help is taking steps.
This sounds easier than it is. You can only take steps once you know what you want. So how to make clear what you want?
To decide what you want is the first step on the road towards your goal.
In case you don’t know what you want, or you can’t say it out loud, chances are you will encounter other problems.
- Chances are you feel a bit lost and you ask yourself: is this it? Do I actually dedicate my time or maybe my life to the things I consider important?
- Maybe you struggle with priorities: what is more important, what to do first?
- You are so extremely busy but without noticeable results.
- You are fantasising to leave everything behind, to switch off. Maybe you are close to a burnout.
The funny thing is that we don’t learn how to figure out what we want to do with our lives. Or how to come back on track once we lose track.
It can be quite a challenge to find out what you want
The less you know what you want, the more important it is to find out. As soon as you know what you want, you can figure out how to get there, which will increase the likelihood of taking the necessary steps.
Your goal can be figuring out the first destination
Determining the first destination is sufficient and you don’t need to know yet how to get there. That will come automatically. First, figure out what you want.
Which steps can you take?
Step 1: prepare a list of what you want to do in the coming year.
Set a timer for 15 minutes. Write down in 15 minutes what you would like to figure out in the coming year and how to do this. Which goals do you want to achieve, what are your dreams?
Some questions to help you clarify:
- Imagine you had a magic wand: what is the one thing you would change in your life or maybe in the world?
- What is it that upsets you in your life, your work, the world?
- Imagine you have an extra 2 hours every day: how would you fill them in?
- Finish the following sentence: wouldn’t it be cool/crazy/fantastic if……
Don’t censure yourself, don’t write things down you consider appropriate, only write down what you want.
You probably won’t have clarity after one session of writing. So, continue doing this for a week, every day for 15 minutes. I promise you it will give you many insights.
Step 2: choose a goal
From your list, choose the goal, the dream you are most attracted to. Why is this goal so important to you? Do you know other people with the same goal and perhaps you might learn from them? Have you ever tried to achieve this dream? What went well, what didn’t go so well, and what did you learn from it?
Step 3: make your goal SMART
Make sure your goal, your dream is SMART: specific, measurable, acceptable, realistic, and time-bound. Take the steps. Don’t keep thinking, go for it. You can only make adjustments after you made steps.
What will help you?
Dr. Gail Matthews’s research has been quoted a lot. His research shows that writing down your goals will increase your chances of achieving them with 42%! Yes, you read it correctly: 42%. Much more chance than winning the lottery!
Write it down and go for it. Preferably every day. A bit of focus always helps.
Take your time
Plan some time every day, preferably a fixed moment, to achieve your dream, your goal. It won’t always be easy, but by taking steps, even small steps, you will activate something that is unstoppable.