As another new year wends its way in, finding yourself at a reflective crossroads is natural. Many people find looking back at the year that was helpful. You can see lessons and gifts and use the feedback to create new ways and habits for the year to come. And some prefer to let go and leave whatever the year was behind.
If you use a wheel of life or some other tool to manage your monthly journey, then you will have already been reflecting on how each month went.
New year always seems a mad rush of new year, new me and a flurry of offers to find yourself and having your best year yet. Then, after about a week, possibly 3, if you are lucky, that newness dies down and the reality of life and where you are kicks in.
I do like this as a time to reflect and renew my vision and redefine what I want and want to achieve. Start with the End in Mind is a powerful principle that can guide you through any transition. I have been doing a lot of playing with my self-coaching tools, and it’s helped me get over the end-of-year lurgy.
I came down with a bug at the beginning of December and found my end-of-year slowly drawing to a halt. My body called for rest, and that was all I could do. I haven’t been alone. Many people have joined me in ending last year unwell. I felt at a crossroads, and my mindset was not great. However, I am back and feeling inspired.
I have read that illness is the Western man’s meditation. This statement, stark in its implications, sheds light on how modern lifestyles often neglect the mind-body connection until enforced stillness through illness occurs. And so it was.
So, with enforced rest and somewhat grateful for the stop. This time has allowed me to envision my desired future and consider how to work backwards to make it a reality. Who doesn’t like a bit of backward planning?
Before I continue, for me, January is still a period of reflection; my new year starts with the astrological year on March 20th. I also reflect on the lunar new year of 10th February, which this year is the Wood Dragon. As a side note I attended a workshop by the fabulous Nick Haines about this last night. All of these things are moments for reflection, and you need to choose a way of working that fits with you, your beliefs and energy.
Understanding the Concept
Starting with the end in mind is a principle popularised by Stephen Covey in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It’s about envisioning what you ultimately want and then planning your life to achieve that vision. This concept is more than goal-setting; it’s a pathway to living with intention and purpose. It’s about redefining success on our terms and realising we can create an impact.
Starting with the end in mind is a powerful principle that supports the journey forward in several significant ways:
- Having a clear vision of your desired outcome sets a definite destination. This clarity guides decision-making and actions. It’s like having a compass; no matter where you are on your journey, you know which direction to head.
- Knowing what you’re working towards can be a huge motivational boost. When the end goal is something you’re passionate about and gives you a sense of purpose, it fuels persistence and enthusiasm, even when the path gets a bit rocky.
- When you start with the end in mind, it becomes easier to identify which activities are essential and which aren’t. This prioritisation ensures that your efforts and resources are invested in actions that directly contribute to achieving your goal.
- By envisioning the end result, you can set more realistic and meaningful goals. These goals act as milestones, providing a structured pathway towards your vision, making the journey more manageable and less overwhelming. When I set goals with the wheel of life, I use the concept of start with the end in mind to envision success.
- It’s easier to adapt and change with a clear end vision. You can assess progress and shift strategies as needed while staying aligned with your ultimate objective.
- A well-defined end goal can help you navigate setbacks and challenges. The vision of the end result acts as a guiding light, keeping you focused and resilient in the face of obstacles.
- As you make progress towards your envisioned end, each step brings a sense of achievement, and who doesn’t love a bit of celebration? This sense of progress is crucial for maintaining momentum and enthusiasm throughout the journey.
- Starting with the end in mind often involves deep reflection on what truly matters to you. This ensures that your journey forward is not just about reaching a destination but doing so in a way that aligns with your core values and beliefs.
- The process of working towards a well-defined end goal is inherently educational. You learn about yourself, acquire new skills, have new experiences and grow, making the journey just as valuable as the destination.
- For many, particularly in the later stages of life, starting with the end in mind is about creating a legacy. This perspective ensures that actions taken are not just for immediate gain but contribute to a longer-term impact, whether it’s for family, community, or a cause.
Starting The Process
I started this process with four tools:
- Letting go
- Letter to future me
- Oracle of the year
- Canva – vision video
I’ll review these again around March 20th. You can get access to these self-coaching tools here.
Also, take a moment to reflect on the past year if that feels meaningful. What were your successes and learning experiences? What have you achieved so far that feels good for your soul? What dreams did you put on hold? This is our time to look inward and rediscover what is meaningful.
Ask yourself, What brings me joy? What have I always wanted to do but never had the chance? Whether it’s a career change, travel, learning a new skill, starting a passion project or understanding your heart’s desires, this could be the first step to achieving them.
When you write down your thoughts and feelings about the past year. Identify patterns or themes that emerged. What does that tell you? The Wood Dragon session shared that many people are currently feeling lost, and this new Chinese year will be a year of rediscovery.
Reflection and Self-Discovery
Currently, I am doing a life audit, poco a poco, as the Spanish would say. I am using January to do all of the exercises and reflection. I would recommend a life audit, it’s a way to draw a line in the sand and get some clarity. Here are the areas that are covered.
- Kickstart questions to assess where you are
- Wheel of life to know which areas to focus on
- Perfect day for envisioning
- Hearts desires to make sense of what you really want – a bigger goal
- Goal integration (Wheel of life, heart’s desires, and vision)
- Action plan – getting things done your way
- Overcoming your fears
Setting Goals and Objectives
Now, think about what you want. The way I work is that I do my wheel of life each month. Which gives me a monthly focus and integrates with my heart’s desires and vision goals.
- From the wheel of life (I have two areas that I am focusing on for January– health and professional development).
- Heart’s desires – This is a big goal close to my heart – I have written many journals, but I want to write a legacy book. This is in the melting pot – I’ll know when I know.
- Vision – This is the vision for my life and business. I want to create a safe, sacred space and community for women to come and be and grow.
As you know, goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Not forgetting the ER evaluation and revision. When I set goals, I also look at how my values integrate with them.
I do understand that many people find setting goals and following through somewhat turgid. I used to. However, I thought about how I like to get things done. I energy test them and consider mind-body awareness to each, and I have designed journals and worksheets that I enjoy using to help me stay on track. Plus, I flow with my energy, moon cycles and the seasons.
I think it’s important to understand how each of us gets things done. There are so many systems that don’t work for me. I used to beat myself up for not being able to make things that other people found useful. When I model my behaviour, it makes more sense to me. Think about why goals fail for you and think about areas of success. What did you do? How can you repeat that behaviour?
Creating a Roadmap
Break down your goals into actionable steps. Create a timeline for each step. Draft a plan for the first quarter. Be detailed about what actions you will take each week. Remember what I said: think about how you get things done. Make this stuff work for you.
Staying Motivated and Overcoming Challenges
Motivation can wane, and obstacles will arise. Prepare for these moments, if possible. I came down with the lurgy on the 9th of December, and it wasn’t until early in the new year that I felt ok. It wiped me and my motivation out. I was angry, but I had to move into acceptance, surrender and let it go. I needed to heal and rest.
Identifying what motivates you is essential. There are so many theories of motivation. Choose whatever works for you. I like to keep it simple: intrinsic motivation (internal factors like personal growth) or extrinsic motivation (external rewards). One of my values is fair play, so I am also motivated by fairness. If I perceive an imbalance in the reward system, I become demotivated and have to give myself a kick up the bum.
One strategy could be identifying potential challenges and writing down strategies to overcome them. Use the If-Then planning model. For example, If I miss a workout, I will do a 15-minute home exercise routine instead. My example: One of my dogs is getting old, and she’s become a plodder, so we are not getting all our lovely long walks done, and I am not getting my steps done. If I don’t get four walks in daily, then I can use my rebounder to create the rest of what I need.
Celebrating Milestones and Successes
Celebrating progress is so important for maintaining momentum. We all have to-do lists of some sort. Well, what about a done list? Also, set milestones within your goals and plan how you will celebrate achieving them. Keep a success journal. Regularly jot down even the smallest victories and review them when you need a motivational boost.
Something To Try
Envisioning Your Future
Reflect on the following prompts and write your thoughts.
- Describe where you see yourself in five years (or choose another timeframe). What are you doing? Who are you with? How do you feel?
- Reflect on why this vision is important. What values, dreams, heart’s desires or goals does this vision represent?
- Identify potential obstacles to achieving this vision. What strategies can you employ to overcome them?
3. Creating a Roadmap from the Future to the Present
Charting Your Path. I like to draw this out on a big sheet first.
- Based on your future vision, list down the major goals you need to achieve to make that vision a reality.
- Start from your end goal and work backwards to the present. What steps do you need to take at each stage? Perhaps only create ten big steps – keep it simple.
- Establish clear milestones for tracking your progress.
Staying on Track
Maintaining Focus and Momentum
- Set aside time regularly (e.g., monthly or quarterly) to review your progress towards your goals. The wheel of life is great for this.
- Be prepared to adjust your plans as circumstances change or new opportunities arise.
- Regularly seek feedback from peers, or coaches/mentors to gain different perspectives on your progress.
- Remind yourself of your end goal, celebrate small wins, and maintain a positive mindset.
Play and enjoy the envisioning process. I decide on a time and place (usually the lounge), get everything ready, watch the clock until the allotted time (I know…) and then I get into it. Then it’s chill time. When I go to bed I scribble some closing thoughts and in the morning write down any inspiration that comes to me.
Join me for either a life audit review or 12 months wheel of life coaching. Book a call so that we can meet and find out if we’d like to work together.