Image thanks to hillary
We are often told not to ‘get ahead of ourselves’.
Today I ask: why not?
I don’t advocate rushing through life, blinkered to a goal, and missing out on the life that is happening around you all the time. However, I also think that setting your mind ahead is a powerful visual tool for bringing what you want for the future into the consciousness of your present.
When we commit to the possibility of the future, we equip ourselves to recognise the opportunities that may arise to make that future a reality. We make goals that will attract us with gravitational force.
Each of us has anchors: in our belief systems, in the people close to us, in our professions – things that keep us, “grounded.” But what if we threw our anchors ahead, and let a focused future anchor us? Too often, present anchors slip from being positive points of groundedness, to be the very fences holding us back. With an anchor as an ally in the future, we put a weight of faith in ourselves, and allow our belief system to include a belief and a confidence in that self. This confidence then focuses us forward, even when current circumstances may not be fulfilling us. It is a kind of trust.
Of course, if we are going to do this, these anchored goals need to be realistic, authentic, truthful, and achievable. What’s more, we must be sure that our attitude is not that a change in external circumstances will fix emotional issues, i.e. if you’re not happy with your physical appearance, consider that it might not be losing weight/ having a make-over that will remedy that, rather, it might be a positive appreciation of who you are inside and out, coupled with a diet and physical lifestyle that rewards you.
Goals give us a particular type of freedom
“If a sailor looses the tiller, let the sails flap in the wind and the boat drift wherever the currents take it, it is not called freedom – it is called drifting. Freedom, here, means taking the helm and sailing toward the chosen destination.” - Matthieu Ricard
Once we know where we are going – we know how to get there, and it is in knowing how to get there that we give ourselves the freedom to do so. Projecting your thoughts forward doesn’t devalue your present, on the contrary, it opens your mind to how best you can revel in and wring out every last positive drop from your current circumstances, content in the knowledge that your next steps will be, not necessarily better (because that kind of attitude would devalue the life you have now), but bigger and brighter and certainly different.
So what does ‘ahead’ look like to you? And how will you get there?
Nobody has a crystal ball, but we can all see into our own futures if we like, and the magic in that is that we can see it by creating exactly how we want it to look.
Meditative visualisations, I feel, are the best way to bring future goals to life, though I realise this can be extremely difficult for some people to do. Don’t take it too seriously; just think of it as a more focused and conscious daydream. Grab a warm drink, wrap a cosy scarf round your shoulders, and sit in a quiet place. Put yourself “on pause” with a few deep breaths, perhaps wiggling your shoulders to loosen any tension.
Close your eyes, and let your mind explore all the potential and possibility you can envisage along a chosen path. Let your mind follow whatever arises that feels most exciting. Use all your senses: what are the sounds, tastes, smells and feelings of your future? Not just the sights. When you reach some solid points of aspiration, e.g. swinging in a hammock in the Mediterranean, translate those into goals and write them down.
Put it on paper.
“I realized that this vision... was the missing ingredient in my previous attempts at goal setting. Having a personal, present tense paragraph about my life in 10 years at the top of my goal sheet was the extra spark of inspiration and motivation that got me hooked on goal setting.”
If visualisation isn’t a strong point for you, and you prefer getting crafty, make a vision board like this one. Build on this with a goal sheet that incorporates a present-tense paragraph of your future anchor.
Think of goal visualisation not only as a faithful anchor, but as a lasso thrown out into the starry plain of the universe to grab the future you deserve. Then: start pulling.