“You don’t need another resolution, you need a new vision.” The words sounded out of my speaker as I readied myself for work that day. I flew across my bathroom and paused the SoulFeed podcast I was listening to then frantically typed the words into the notes app on my phone. Yes! Why do we spend so much energy setting resolutions in the new year, when that's not really what we need? I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions. Don’t get me wrong, I love the momentum a new year provides, but - like most people - the resolutions I set tend to fizzle out.
Visions are different from resolutions in that they focus on how things will be in the future (unlike resolutions, which typically focus on behaviors or broad goals). So why aren't we focusing more on creating a vision for ourselves? Perhaps the answer is simple: maybe many of us don't know how.
While I'm no visioning expert, I do know you can't get anywhere if you don't start. In this post, I've shared a couple of methods I've found helpful in getting at my vision. Because I'm a writer and also believe an idea is more powerful if you physically put pen to paper, both of these methods involve journaling. As you consider these exercises, keep in mind that, while being clear on your vision is important, you must remain open to possibilities.
For example, if part of your vision is to manifest your dream job, focus on how you want to feel and live as a result of your job - NOT the specific job itself. Though you might think you’ll only be satisfied if you snag a job at XYZ company; there may be another, better job out there for you that gives you all the benefits and rewards you desire. Stay open to possibilities as you vision; give your vision room to grow on its own.
Below, you’ll find instruction and examples on hoe to write out your vision as both affirmations and as a story.
Your Vision in Affirmations: There are tons of resources out there about setting positive intentions and leaning on affirmations; my absolute favorite is The Power of Intention, by Dr. Wayne Dyer. Affirmations and intentions are very similar, but tend to have slightly different phrasing. For the purposes of this exercise, it’s not terribly important that you understand the difference (heck, you can use a combination of both). What is important is that you write your statements in a positive tense. For example, if you want to be debt free, write, “I am free of debt,” as opposed to, “I have no debt.” Why? The second example (“I have no debt”) comes from a lack mentality, we want to use this exercise to promote prosperity and positive thinking. If you’re having trouble coming up with affirmations, check out these examples by Louise Hay.
You’ll complete this exercise as a bulleted list. Spend about ten-minutes writing. This method tends to be less specific than the second option. Personally, I spent quite a long time writing intentions before I was able to articulate my vision as a story. This method served as a helpful stepping stone for me.
Here is a short example of writing your vision as affirmations:
- I am vibrating at a higher frequency than ever before
- I am well
- I am disciplined
- I take care of my body
- I am surrounded by love
- I attract prosperity
- I heal myself, and through my healing, I help others to heal as well
- I write frequently and share my writing with others
- I cultivate healthy relationships
- I share my talents in ways that help others
- I suspend my judgement I value stillness and take time to meditate
- I treat my body well I am able to be vulnerable with others I choose love over fear
Your Vision as a Story: Years ago, I was led through a wonderful visioning exercise by a friend and business mentor. While the context of the specific exercise was aimed at building a vision for your business, the concept can be easily applied to your personal life. With this exercise, you’ll essentially write a short story.
There are only a few of rules:
At the top of your paper (or word processing document), write the word “DRAFT” in big, bold letters. Why? It gives you permission for your vision to be imperfect.
Start writing; and don’t stop. Set a timer and take about ten minutes to write; it doesn’t matter what you put on the page or how you structure your writing. If you’re struggling to get started, begin by pretending you’re writing this on the last day of the year (So, “It’s December 31st…”).
Write not only about what you’ve accomplished, but also how you feel and what you did to get there. The best visions of this style describe how things look, smell and feel. However, remember to focus less on the minutia and more on the big picture (that you’re working at your dream job; not you work at XYZ company).
Once you’ve finished, you should have a short piece of prose that you can pin up or tuck away in your journal and revisit for inspiration.
Here is a short example of writing your vision as a story:
It’s December 31, 2017 and this year has taken me places I could never have imagined. I started the year with a 30-day sobriety experiment; which I then continued for 90-days and on to the full year...it was worth it. I’ve managed to manifest some amazing things in this last year. I finally connected with mentors who have guided me and challenged me to grow and learn. In the process, I’ve also picked up some students of my own and am privileged to mentor in my free time.
I’ve also become more disciplined which has allowed me to pursue my dreams at a higher level. Through this discipline and getting clear on what I want, I’ve finally found a practical and realistic ways to juggle my 9-5 along with my personal goals. I write frequently both on my own and through my lady's journaling group. I actively nourish my need to write and create through my blog and I am pleased to say that I feel my work serves others. I also volunteer with a non-profit where I mentor underprivileged youth in writing programs; I am so grateful to have a way to explore my passion and give back.
While I am busier than ever, my relationships have grown stronger. I feel more full and energized and am able to consciously share that love and energy with others. I have gained several new like-minded friends and am also in a healthy, exciting romantic relationship….
As you can see, both of these methods produces slightly different results. There’s truly no right or wrong way to create your vision; you might consider giving both methods a try, each is helpful in it’s own way. I hope these methods for creating a new vision serve you.