The Everything Life Coaching Podcast, featuring JRNI Coaching founders John Kim and Noelle Cordeaux, is a deep dive into the experience and business of being a life coach. In this episode, our Holiday Series continues with an exploration of the practical tools and action steps that can help turn dreams and resolutions into reality. Earlier episodes in the series include: Reflections on 2020 and Hope for the New Year and Using Goal Setting Theory to Create Resolutions that Last.
We ate, we drank, we were merry. We’ve released what we’re ready to let go of from 2020, set our New Year's resolutions, and now it’s Go Time.
If you’re ready to move beyond “wanting and wishing” and into action, you’re in the right place! We’re about to walk you through how to set the foundation to make your ahead an expansive one. And remember… we can use this process at any time of year. No need to wait for a calendar shift to set your dreams in motion.
STEP 1: CLARIFY
To craft a powerful future vision, you’ll need to start with a specific goal in mind. “Goals” are subjective, and can take many forms. The important thing here is that it’s something that inspires you.
What does your “goal” look like?
- A bullet list
- Vision board
- Narrative description in your journal of the future you want to create
- Knowing how you want to feel in the future
If you haven’t gotten clear about what you’d like to create in your life, take time to do that first. For inspiration, check out the previous episode in this series: Using Goal Setting Theory to Create Resolutions that Last.
STEP 2: FEED YOUR DREAM
Actively living with your future vision allows you to source what’s truly meaningful to you every day. Holding your big goals front and center will help you to set priorities as you tackle resolutions, or simply want to move with intention towards your best life.
So how do we nourish that vision?
It starts with our language. Instead of goals, think dreams.
The word “goal” can send us into an analytical mindset, which narrows our capacity for finding potential solutions. It’s also not nearly as much fun. To prompt creative, innovative thinking undergirded by hope, ask yourself, “What is my dream?”
Think big. What are you longing for? It might be something like “spending a month in New Zealand” or “launch my business”. And yes, you can definitely have more than one!
Next, you’ll need to create space and capacity for dreaming.
Modern life was already killing our brains. 2020 just pushed things into overdrive.
Most people don’t realize how much information we take in over the course of a single day, how many mental resources this consumes, and the further tax on our system that the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought. If we don’t take time to stop being busy and responding to all that life throws at us, we can’t ever get out from underneath the mental weight that prevents clear thinking.
Cognitive Load Theory reminds us that we have a limited amount of working memory and brain resources available to us each day. Bringing your dreams and plans into focus may require a redistribution of those resources!
So how do we reboot?
- Set aside time to just be. Start with a half-day if that’s what you can do. Find ways to be alone without technology so that your brain can prepare itself to work in optimal ways on your behalf this year.
- Try to build up to a full week where you can quietly read, listen, and observe content that pertains to where you want to go in life.
- Intentionally feed yourself only the content (learning and images or other media) that fuels your soul and brings your dream to life.
- Get Innovative! Jolt your brain with new ideas and new voices.
- Then flesh it out with details, dates, people, and any other information that will bring those dreams to life. Instead of vague intentions, try embracing SMART goals. You’ll know it’s SMART when your dream includes action steps that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.
STEP 3: BUILD A DREAM TEAM
Once you have clarity and a data set around who and what can help you create the best year ever…. pick up the phone! Speaking our intentions out loud gives them life and power. It also fuels your momentum by creating exponential energy around the things you’re hoping to create or accomplish.
Truth is, going it alone is exhausting. It also takes some of the fun out of it. If people in your life don’t know where you want to go and the role that they could play, they can’t help you. So find those you trust to share your dreams with, and ask them to support you in making them happen.
Accountability buddies are magic. This is why life coaching is so effective. Having someone who helps hold your dream, and who’s there beside you as you strategize, set intentions, and figure out how to overcome roadblocks is often the difference between achieving a goal or abandoning it.
Don’t forget yourself either! As the dreamer, you are your most important source of support. Continue reminding yourself of the dreams you hold and why they matter to you. Keep them top of mind. Consider working with this powerful question for journaling:
“What is the dream I want to bring into reality in the next year (or two, or five, or ten – fill in the range that works best for you right now)?”
STEP 4: FOCUS
Hold your dreams close, and beware Shiny Object Syndrome!
Prepare for distractions
It’s easy to get off track when we don’t keep our priorities front and center. There will always be distractions. Some of them might even seem aligned with the dream. But when we add in too many “extras”, we risk getting bogged down. Be clear about your action steps, and the costs of veering even slightly off course.
A huge part of making our dreams come true is preparing for obstacles. Think about all the ways you might get thrown off track.
Some potential roadblocks might include:
- A person whose habits trigger you into behavior you want to avoid
- Making a quick buck instead of staying the course to a larger payoff
- Going down the rabbit hole of options and possibilities that are interesting, but not essential
If you get stuck or find yourself drifting from your goals, call in your accountability buddy!
Prime your mind
Why do vision boards work? It’s not just fluff - there’s actually a science to it! When we regularly feed ourselves images of a desired future state, we’re creating a line of communication between our conscious and unconscious mind. We’re making the dream tangible and real inside our head… and body.
There’s even a name for this: the science of priming.
Anyone can prime, so give it a try! When you inhabit your future vision in such a way that your brain reflexively orients toward the things you want most, results are more likely to follow.
Ways to prime your brain to focus on your dream:
- Visual representation of some sort
- Vision boards
- Pictures on your fridge
- Computer passwords (change them all to reflect your dream, such as “NewZealand2022” or “BizLaunchSept2021!”)
- Daydreaming - regularly imagining your desired future state with specificity and detail
Most of all, have fun! The work of living your best possible life should ultimately be joyful.
Want to help others turn their dreams into reality?
If you’d like to put future visioning into practice as a life coach, come check out JRNI Life Coach Training. Grounded in science, our ICF accredited program features authentic instructors, a robust curriculum, and fellow students dedicated to becoming a force for good in the world.
JRNI Coaching: Vibrant community. Evidence-based life coach training. Lifetime support.