It’s the time of the year again, when some of us start planning for or getting invited to vision board parties just in time to set intentions for the new year.

My first vision board party was in college, and I must say the vision was very materialistic. I had plans to move to Atlanta and the board consisted of home décor, a new dog, and other short-term, surface goals. Our lifestyle goals are typically what make it onto our yearly vision boards and that is important because it reminds us of what we’re shooting for. However, what our vision boards do not consist of is a schedule to plan out exactly how we will meditate more, or a to-do list to launch the business, and overall it lacks a concrete commitment to ourselves. The vision board is cool, but what is the action plan to achieve our goals?

In my field, we use a model called SMART Goal Setting, when working with clients. Over the past couple of years, I’ve shared this method with a few friends, and have seen it work outside of therapy. SMART is an acronym for — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Sensitive.

Specific goals are well-defined and typically include details. With specific goals, it’s best to replace a vague or general statement like “I want to move” with your exact aspiration “I want to purchase a condo.” The next step is to check that your goal is measurable. This can include the frequency at which you plan to work on your goal, or a deadline to achieve it. In our example to buy a condo, adding a measurement would be ” want to purchase a condo by December 2019.” The importance of having a measurement is to track progress and plan strategically with an understanding of what it will take to buy the condo by the end of the year. As you start to create a plan for your goal, ask yourself ‘How much do I need to earn? What does my credit score need to be?” You will be able to identify whether or not your plan is attainable in that timeframe. It’s not that you won’t be able to buy a condo at all, but it may take you 18 months opposed to 12; and you can adjust your goal, accordingly.

Creating relevant goals is really where your vision board comes in. Now that you’ve have laid out the imagery for the lifestyle you want to live, does the goal align with that lifestyle? Lastly, a time-sensitive goal creates urgency, and is typically the catalyst for a start date for your to-do list so you don’t procrastinate as many of us do with our New Year’s Resolutions.

I’m hoping you all will create your vision board with your SMART goals in mind. Follow me and let me know how it goes!

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