Where Are We Going? (We need a plan!)
What if you could visit a place this summer that you’ve never been before? Our Summer Road Trip destination is -- your future! How do you imagine it? What would you like to see there? Most of us have goals, dreams, and even plans for what we want to create in our lives. The trick is getting from where we are now to where we want to be. But this isn’t magic. It involves creating a road map, starting with the destination first. What will your destination be? Here are some suggestions of how to begin.
1. Imagine it. When you close your eyes and picture what you want for your life, what do you see? Reserve some quiet time to envision the future you would like to create. You are the director of this movie, so you can edit and rearrange it to suit you. Follow your intuition, and go with the ideas and images that excite you. If you need a little help, check out the book Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain. Visualization is one of the most effective tools we can use, because it allows the information to access a deeper level of the brain.
2. Start writing. Creating a written list is a great place to begin! If that’s a challenge, just start writing about what you’d like to do, have, or develop within yourself. This is not being graded, and it’s just for you, so you can’t get it wrong! As you write, see if you can identify a few ideas that light you up inside. That electricity tells you you’re on the right track. (I’ve created a list of questions to get you started, but feel free to add your own!)
When we actually write things out on paper, with a pen or pencil, our brains are organizing and prioritizing information in a way that is more productive than when we type. And taking the time to write about what you want to create or manifest in your life is important. Studies have found that we are over 40% more likely to achieve goals when we write them down.
3. Create a Vision Board. This topic has become very popular! (Just Google it and you’ll find an abundance of information!) This is basically a focusing tool, made up of a collage of images that feel good to you, and that represent what you’d like to create for your life. Don’t overthink it, but do be choosy about the images you select, and pay attention to how they make you feel. For example, you might have an image of a beautiful cup of coffee that makes you imagine relaxation, or an image of a textbook that represents your dream of going back to school. This is personal, so it’s all about what the images mean to you, and how they make you feel. Use your intuition and arrange them in a way that feels right to you. (There’s more information on this in the attachment.)
4. Feel it! As you describe and envision what you want, let yourself get the feeling of being in that future, where what you want to create has already manifested. This might take a little practice, but this is a very important detail. The feeling of already standing in that future flips the ON switch, and the emotional connection between here and there allows this to become more and more real for you.
5. Keep it front and center. Put reminders where you’ll see them! Place your list, vision board, pictures, sticky notes (or whatever gives you a lift!) someplace where you can see them many times every day. This “billboard psychology” has to do with how we learn new information, connect ideas, and store information in the brain. Each time you see your reminders, stop – even for just seconds – and breathe in the feeling. This makes a huge difference! As motivational writer William Arthur Ward said, “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.”
Enjoy the process! In July, we’ll continue our Summer Road Trip by looking at how we change, how to create momentum, and how to measure our progress.
Dianne Frances, MFA, MS, LPC, NCC Psychotherapist Integrative Mental Health Specialist