The view is spectacular from where I am standing. I can see for miles in any direction I look. The sun is warm on my skin, but the breeze I feel is a perfect compliment to the heat. After working hard and hiking to the summit of this mountain, I am basking in the moment. Letting the sweat run down my back, listening to the leaves dance in the trees and the birds call to each other. My husband and grown kids are with me and as a family we are taking in all this view has to offer, seeing God’s glory played out in the creation before us. I feel strong, alive, healthy. Not burdened by nagging aches and pains, but aware that I have just challenged myself and succeeded.
This is my vision. MY goal for MYSELF in the future. THIS is why I am taking action now. I want to be active and fit when I am older. I want to be able to take vacations with my grown boys and the love of my life, hike the rugged trails and see the beauty from the top. I want to be able to DO the fun stuff and not just hear about it from others.
Some may feel this is just a fancy term for setting a goal, but I really think it is more than that. Setting a vision is like picking out your travel destination. It is really hard to plan your steps and move forward on the path if you don’t know where you are going. It seems impossible to make short term goals or plan action steps if there is not a driving force or a big picture that gives a reason to be moving forward. If I just set a vague goal of aging well, I find it challenging to even know where to begin because that doesn’t really tell me where I want to go. And more importantly, if I hit a bump in the road the thought of “being healthy” may not be enough to keep me motivated and focused. For me, I need more. My vision gives me direction. And in the busyness of life right now, when it seems tempting to sit back and take time off to raise our boys and work on a career, I know that this vision of mine won’t happen if I don’t nurture it (and myself).
Who, what, where, when…WHY
Now it is time for you to cast a vision. Maybe you just close your eyes and sit quietly, feeling your breath move in and out.
- You are walking along a path, what does it look like?
- What do you hear, what do you smell?
- You come to a house on the path and decide to knock and go inside. It is your house, in the future. What does it look like?
- Who is there with you?
- How old are you at this point?
- Is this vision positive? Or is it negative? What things need to happen before this positive vision becomes a reality or what things need to change so that a more negative vision doesn’t become a reality?
Or maybe you would prefer to make a vision board or collage with words and pictures that speak to you about how and what your life will look like in whatever time frame you choose. Put it together and keep that board somewhere that you can easily see it when you need that motivation to keep moving forward or you forget why you started this journey in the first place.
That’s the great thing about setting your vision. It is all about you. YOU can determine where you want to go and set goals about how to get there. It can be 5 months from now or 5 years from now…it’s entirely up to you.
Does this vision exercise really matter?
There is some evidence, though admittedly not a lot, that having autonomy in goal setting and motivation can lead to better progress in meeting goals by “allowing individuals to exert more effort, experience less conflict, and feel a greater sense of readiness to change their behavior.” (1) A person that sets a goal or a vision for their own life can then implement specific ways of how to see that vision fulfilled (ie on what schedule or time frame, with whom, where, etc). In short, when you decide on the destination, you can direct the journey. There is something powerful about knowing that.