“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins
In this day and age, we probably all understand the importance of setting goals and working towards them. Realizing and achieving a goal -- or a set of goals -- not only gives us a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction but also momentum to continue on and achieve more of what we want.
However, no matter how many goals we accomplish, some of us never feel truly happy. It seems that there’s a void that can’t be filled simply by achieving more. It’s almost as if further goal achievements only exacerbate that problem.
This calls for a change in mindset.
It’s true that we all should have a set of goals for ourselves. But having a vision is ever more so important that just specific goals. “A vision provides clear ongoing direction—it is clear what you should do next,” writes Jesse Lyn Stoner. “As you take each step, the next one becomes clear. A vision continues to act as a beacon, guiding you in setting new goals once current ones have been achieved.”
A vision is something that we all should have in mind. It’s the dream life that we want. Instead of specific goals like losing 20 pounds, getting the promotion, or having a 6 figure income by this age, see yourself living a life with those results.
Although this may sound like semantics on the surface, having an actual vision is more complete than just a goal.
A vision is called a vision because it is something we see -- something that we can visualize. If we have trouble forming a vision, we could simply combine the various goals we have and see the fruition of those goals. See these achievements and accomplishments and what accompanies them.
For example, a vision would include where we want to live, the type of home (whether it’s a house, condo, etc.), type of work, specific extracurricular activities we do for fun, and so on.
“Vision is your why,” writes Natalie Bacon. “Vision gives something direction. It’s your desired future. Your vision includes what you believe in (your core values) and what you want in your future (what you want to be). It’s the powerful reason why you want to do something; your overarching purpose. Your vision is your passion and keeps you excited and motivated. It’s what inspires you to do whatever it is you want to do.”
This consolidates everything that we want instead of having spread our goals out everywhere.
Also, our visions naturally align our goals toward what we truly want. Goals, whether short or long term, would naturally manifest themselves. This is all due to us striving to realize our vision and making that into a reality.
“Goals are specific and quantifiable,” according to Brett & Kate McKay. “They have an endpoint. Once you’ve achieved a goal, you’re done with it. Goals tell us what we need to do in order to get to a desired outcome.”
“Visions should be broad enough to apply to a wide range of pursuits or activities but narrow enough to define an organization and distinguish it from others,” writes Devra Gartenstein.
Having a vision is a huge step towards motivating us to achieve our goals, which are the stepping stones in transforming our vision into reality.
The reason behind this is that each individual goal brings its own individual benefit. We see that losing those extra pounds will make us look better, improve our self-image, and help us to feel more confident around other people.
That might not be enough incentive to get some people all the way through, especially when the going gets tough. But if we have a vision that includes losing those few extra pounds, we have that much more going for us to help us stay on track. That synergistic effect that we’ve mentioned before in previous articles? Yes, it plays a role here when we have a complete vision with our different goals.
Before we jump to the conclusion that having a vision is all that we’d need, take note on a couple cautions:
1. Having visions does not mean that you shouldn’t have goals.
2. Your vision will and should change over time.
Goals serve as mini-victories, they provide us with feedback to keep us on track in realizing our vision. So do not abandon our goals or stop having goals in mind. But always, always, always have a vision to strive for.
“A goal is a specific target to achieve something,” says Natalie Bacon. “It includes the strategies and tactics you use to move toward your vision. You should set and achieve goals only that promote and are in line with your vision.”
No matter what goals we have now and what kind of vision we have for ourselves, they should change over time. As we accomplish our current goals, new ones will come up. Our vision will be closer to completion, but at the same time stretch out evermore. Our goals and visions continue to grow and evolve in our thinking as we age.
Life is never a straight line, and our goals and visions never will be either. Sometimes, eliminating certain goals from our vision may be necessary in order to make room for more important ones.
Remember to always have a vision in the back of your mind, and take the time to think and visualize it from time to time.
I’ve had people tell me that doing so actually puts them in a miserable mood because it’s a constant reminder that they don’t have what they want yet. The reason for this feeling is because their attitude is one of wanting to have things now.
Always having your vision in mind is the thing that is going to drive you to do your best in realizing everything you want to have.
See yourself in your vision, do it often, and literally watch your progress jump to new heights.