The essential 7’s guide to creating your most wonderful life. Stefanos S. Sifandos.
A new year has now dawned upon us… Where to go? What to do? Business as usual? Mmmmmm… What do you think? As each new (culturally relative) year passes it becomes symbolic of change. Let us be real for a moment, every opportunity, experience or timely moment is available to us for ‘change’ or observation of ourselves. We simply utilise the turning of a new year to examine ourselves. The reality self examination should be constant, regular and evolving. The new year becomes a catalyst for us to reflect on the past year and observe improvements upon our actions, thoughts, behaviours, relationships, financial circumstances and whatever inputs feed in to who we are directly in relation to the way in which the world works…
The turning of a new year is a wonderful tool of reflection and often allows us to be quite real with ourselves and who we are and where we are heading. It assists in defining our dreams and aspirations, our goals and greatest desires, what we truly like and dislike and who we want the world to see… What have we done the year passed that was not worthy of our own humanity? What type of character do we want to portray in this year? Do we value our contribution to the world, to our community? Are we satisfied with who we are? Could we be different and if so, why so – what difference would this make to who we are now?
Below are a number of steps and considerations that will assist you in being the you, you want to be; but more importantly will assist you in knowing who you are now. Below will be some tasks that one may undertake in order to set goals, both long term and short term. What will also be included in addition are steps towards realising a personal process of transformation is necessary in order to shift and move energy. This may begin to take place with simple, congruent and continuously regular action steps to assist in defining who you are for yourself and others with a focus on present moment awareness…
1. Find a quiet place/space. Have a pen and several pieces of paper ready, either paper or an exercise book/journal devoted specifically to goal setting. You may even execute all of this electronically. The choice, is of course yours. Just something to be aware of, please be conscious of environmental influences and make the most sustainable & suitable choices possible when selecting paper or a book 🙂
*Mind Maps are also a great tool to utilise! So depending on your learning style, contemplate carefully what method of goal setting you choose to implement…
2. Select your categories regarding your goal setting. Here are some to get you started and thinking: Education, employment/career, health, nutrition, lifestyle changes, relationships (erotic, friendships, familial), extra curricular activities/hobbies, travel, personal development, self analysis (personality, behaviours, expectations, actions, the reactive self, emotions), spiritual development, personal evolution, finances and acquisition (this may mean that you place some focus on material acquisition – More on the implications of this later).
3. Select your time frames. Here are some suggestions.
SHORT TERM – MID TERM:
LONG TERM – CREATIVE:
*Generally avoid anything longer than 5 years. For example, 10 years is a substantial amount of time in to the future for most to conceptualise… If this may be the case for you, then avoid this length of conceptualisation for you may just lose sight and interest of what you have set yourself.
The Creative longterm category is something that you can play and have fun with and really be just, well – creative with it… This has many uses and is multi purposed. By imagining where you may be in a thousand years time may just place you in present space of greater gratitude. It may just change and alter your current behaviours to a set of values that encompass increased present moment awareness and a set of values that idolise the intrinsic value of nature and your relationships. This thought process also places in to perspective the infinite nature of reality and existence… It assists us in understanding the cultural construct of ‘time’ whilst simultaneously understanding the illusion of this concept…
4. Begin writing; this is your starting point. Write down where you want to be, who you want to be, where you want to go and your expectations of self (careful not to be ‘unrealistic’ here. Be real and avoid being hard on yourself. Evolution and change require time, be patient). Write all this in present moment language. It will aid in turning your goals and aspirations from a thought to a tangible reality. It will allow them to feel real and within reach.
5. Begin to segregate and break down your goals, begin to categorise, separate and divide your goals. Remember though, what appears to be division is only present to simplify your goals when observing them. Keeping your goals ‘easy on the eye’ is crucial for you to keep your focus. In reality your goals are fully interconnected and rely on each other for their success. You are a holistic being. You are a being, which works in whole.
6. Review & Specificity: Time to get detailed!!! Once you have all of your goals written down, please go over them applying this simple and well known principle. The SMART principle with great attention.
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Realistic
T = Timely
Specific: A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the six “W” questions:
*Who: Who is involved?
*What: What do I want to accomplish?
*Where: Identify a location.
*When: Establish a time frame.
*Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
*Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
EXAMPLE: A general goal would be, “Get in shape.” But a specific goal would say, “Join a health club and workout 3 days a week.”
Measurable – Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set.
When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goal.
To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as……
How much? How many?
How will I know when it is accomplished?
Attainable – When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.
You can attain almost any goal you set, when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.
Realistic – To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress.
A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you ever accomplished actually seem easy simply because they were a labor of love.
Timely – A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 10kgs, when do you want to lose it by? “Someday” won’t work. But if you anchor it within a timeframe, “by May 1st, 2013”, then you’ve set your unconscious and conscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.
Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past or ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal. Familiarity breeds greater understanding, which ultimately places you psychologically in superior position to achieving your goals.
T can also stand for Tangible – A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of the senses, that is, taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing.
When your goal is tangible you have a better chance of making it specific and measurable and thus attainable.
7. Constantly reevaluate your goals. Every 3 months go over what you have written and make adjustments where necessary. Your life is in perpetual motion, your goals will evolve with you as you grow and become different. Keep an eye on them in order to keep the real and up to date with your desires, and the changing world around you.
Ok, now that you have your goals all in order, it is time to make yourself some realistic promises… These promises revolve around regular activities that will enhance your well being, expand your consciousness and are of course some way related to your goal setting. The purpose of this is to allow you to feel comfortable with life and understand the processes of life at deeper levels. This is crucial in order for you to function at your most optimal levels and allow yourself a real opportunity in achieving your goals. Ultimately this is creating an intrinsic, inner balance that will allow clarity to shine through in your thoughts and your entire being…
1. Engage in meaningful meditative practice… DAILY! The possibilities here are endless. With advancements in technology, guided meditations (alongside virtually any other strand of meditations) are available on your MP3 player, anywhere from 5 minutes up to an hour. CD’s are available on line, books on how to meditate and in nearly every suburb you will find a group meditation being held at someone’s private residence or a community locale. Seek, search and enjoy this process in finding which form of meditation suits you best. Finding a balance between meditating on your own and in a group is advisable, especially in the early stages.
Start slow if you need to and commit to 3 x per week meditations, then build up. THis is integral to your growth as an individual. Take the time to do this.
2. Spend time with nature. This means, spend meaningful time with nature. If you live in the city, get out of the city, at least once per month and simply be with nature, it is that simple… This will ground you, place life in to perspective and allow you to have a break from monotonous routine… CIty’s are highly dense and populated, the majority of the worlds population resides in dense city living. The reasons for this are multifaceted, but with this comes tremendous physical and psychological pressures upon the individual. Relate back to where you cam from, simplify life where you can.
3. Immerse yourself in the ocean whenever you can. The negative ion charge the ocean provides the human body with is crucial to achieving internal homeostasis and increasing an individuals energy and zest for life. Mountain ranges or mountains will also produce a similar affect for the human person. Please do this with intention for betterment…
4. Create, build and nourish a vegetable garden… If you do not have the space to do so, perhaps look in to being part of a community garden or cooperative… This will be highly beneficial for your health. You will also connect with others in your community and get to know your fellow neighbour. Who knows, you may just need them one day… 🙂
5. Read! Commit to reading one book of your choice. It is too difficult to say how often, perhaps for some it may be one book per week, for others you may only manage one chapter per day, or per week. But commit to reading. In terms of subject matter, choose something that interests you, or perhaps refer to The Labyrinth’s Disclaimer for more details and ideas… This is important, for it will assist you in questioning your surroundings and increase your capacity to query. This will ultimately lead to greater self efficacy, self awareness and an increase in knowledge.
6. Commit to expressing yourself. What does this tangibly translate to? If you feel love or care for someone, express it to them, if you feel uncomfortable in doing so, then write it down. This process assists in increasing and expanding your emotional intelligence. Knowing yourself is crucial to your evolution.
7. Keep and maintain a gratitude journal. Every evening before you sleep, write down 1-3 things you are grateful for in life. This will lead to a greater appreciation of life and assist you in developing your empathy and will expand your reality. What this translates to is focus. Your focus will shift to what is perhaps to not great in your life to what is great. This will then snowball and you will reshape and redefine a new reality for yourself.
The above 7 points for goal setting and for your task orientation all tie in together and in fact the last 7 points may even be incorporated as part of your overall goals.
What a marvellous opportunity we all have as a humanity living in this day and age, that by bettering ourselves, increasing our own awareness and being at one with the natural world we have the opportunity to engage in meaningful change that may benefit us all… It all begins with you… SS.