How much time have you spent considering what you what you would like for your life? I mean really considering your ideal life?
Most people have their dreams, but that’s where they stay, in dreamland. Most people don’t actually expect that they will ever achieve these dreams and don’t do anything to take action towards them either. This is because they don’t believe in them.
As we continue through the Mind TRACK process I want you to start to entertain the possibilities of how your life could unfold. We have learnt a lot about how your mind follows the direction it is sent in. If you don’t actually believe in your dreams, then you will not invest any attention on achieving them.
In this lesson, you are going to contemplate and set all of the goals that you wish to obtain in this life. This is quite important because when you are experiencing a tough or challenging situation, you want to expand your attention out to looking at the bigger picture.
Knowing what your goals are for your life will stop you from being so consumed by this moment, because you have bigger goals that you are aiming.
The trouble however, is that not many people actually stop to consider what they would like to experience for their lives. Often, if asked what you want for your life, most people might say ‘to be happy’, ‘to be healthy’, ‘to bring up healthy and happy kids’. But what does this mean? What would you need to do in order to achieve these things?
One of the things that you ned to do when setting your aims is to be specific. In this lesson you are going to get specific about what you want for your life.
There are two aspects that you need to consider when setting your life’s aims:
1) The way you want your life to be, generally
2) The experiences you want to have in your life.
The way you want your life to be, generally
Setting goals on life and the way you want it to be is all about your general overall picture of an ideal life. Often our ideals are based on how we think we ‘should’ live which can often be conditioned within us, as a child, and come from the beliefs of other people and society. Goals like:
Being married with children
Living in a house that you own with a white picket fence
Being financially comfortable
Having a job that you enjoy.
There’s nothing wrong with having these aims as your ideal life, as long as these are things you actually want for your life.
Also, you need to set your aims from where you are currently at in life. This is why steps one and two of the TRACK process are valuable. You need to be in alignment with the reality of your present situation, so in this step you can say, ‘right, this is where I’m at, so where do I go from here? What is the ideal of this situation?’
For example, let’s say that you have had a marriage break up and you are now a single mum. Even though it may not have been what you envisaged in your perfect picture of an ideal family or how your life was ‘supposed to go’, it is the present reality of the situation. So what do you want now?
Would your aims be to learn how to become independent and enjoy not being in a relationship? Would your aim be to be happy within yourself while also setting the aim of being in a healthy relationship in the future?
This part of setting an aim for your life is about setting generalised aims for how you would like to experience your day to day life, keeping in mind, however the reality of life’s ups and downs and the understanding that we will not always live our ideal life. There will be times where life throws some challenges at you and they don’t come close to your ideal life, however remember, setting these bigger picture aims are things that we continually strive for or continue to maintain in our lives. Things like:
Enjoy being a mother
Enjoy the work that I do
To have a fulfilling relationship
To have harmonious relationship with my family
To be healthy
To train my brain to think about the value in life
To be grateful
To find enjoyment in everything that I do.
You can see how generalised these aims are. Take some time, right now to think about how your ideal world would be. What are the meaningful things that you would like to have in your life or that you would like to keep in your life (if you already have them – for example, a loving relationship with your husband).
In your notebooks, write down some ideas that you have for setting aims in the area of your overall life and how you would like your overall life to be.
The experiences you want for your life
Here’s the really fun bit. If you could have anything in your life, what would it be? What are the experiences that you would like to have in your life? This can include travel, money, being able to conquer your fear of heights, meditate in an ashram etc. It can be big things, little things or in between. Anything that you think you might find pleasurable in your life, you want to write it down.
I call this list “All the things I’d like to experience before I die”. My list is up to about 70 things that I wish to do before I die and they include anything from travelling all over the world, taking my kids to disneyland, meeting an inspirational self-help teacher who has been instrumental in teaching me about change, to being on one of Oprah’s shows and even going to sleep in an open field under billions of stars. You can see that it can be massive aims or just little simple aims that mean a lot to you, but they must inspire you, excite you and make you feel alive when you think about them.
Creating this list gets you excited about possibilities. This is where it all starts. We often spend so much time thinking about how much we lack, how much life is going wrong and being consumed by life’s small little challenges, that we don’t often stop to consider what we do want.
This whole aim step is about getting your mind thinking about what you want!
In your notebooks, go to town thinking about how many things you would like to experience in your life. Don’t limit yourself and ignore those thoughts that tell you that you can’t or that it is impossible to achieve. We are going to look at challenging and testing these aims as we continue.
For now, just have some fun and seriously contemplate how many things you can think of that you would love to experience in your life before you die. Imagine that you are 85 years old and looking back on your life, feeling grateful that there isn’t a thing that you didn’t do in your life and can list all the different experiences that you’ve had in your life that have given you joy.
The most important part of this step is to consciously consider what YOU want, not what other people think is good for you or that you have been conditioned to believe that you should do. This list is your list. This is your life. Live it the way you would like to live it and this list is going to entail all of the experiences that YOU would like to live through.
Testing your aims
Now it’s time to test your aims. Again, don’t worry about how you are going to achieve these aims because that is not necessary at the moment. That will come in next week’s lessons where we look at the next step of the TRACK process – Choices.
Today is about setting aims and testing them.
The first thing you need to do, is to go through each of your aims set in step one and step two of this lesson and test each one against our first question: “Why do I want this aim?’. Think about your response or write them down if you want to and listen for any thoughts that are in conflict with reality. Do you think that this aim will make your life better, meaning more valuable? If so, then you need to revisit this thinking by aligning your thinking with the reality thinking model, making sure that you can find the value in your life right now.
Remember it’s okay to think that this aim is going to make your life more enjoyable, or more meaning, but you just want to make sure that you still know that there is value in right now. Having aims are about what you would like to experience in your life. Every event holds value because of what it teaches you about life and because it contributes to how your life unfolds. All events lead to the next good or bad event and they are all linked together. We will always want to achieve aims so we can enjoy them, but sometimes this is not possible. However, we still learn, grow and get an experience that hold value.
So in your notebooks, challenge your aims by asking yourself ‘Why do I want this aim?’ and checking to see what your responses are to that question.
The next question we ask as we set our aims, is: “Is what I want in conflict with reality?”
In this step, not only are you going to check whether the aim is in conflict with reality, but you also want to check whether your thinking about having this goals is in conflict with reality. The aims that you set can be big and we have expanded your attention past what you currently have to what you would like to have and experience in your life. As I mentioned, not many people actually believe that they can achieve these things, and I bet there are things on your list too, that you think this way about.
Now I want you to challenge these things? For example, let’s say that you set an aim to stand at the top of the Eiffel Tower in the evening. What do you think about this aim? You might say: ‘But I don’t have the money to fly to Paris, My husband doesn’t like travelling, I don’t deserve to do things like that’ etc.
Challenge that. Is there an Eiffel Tower? Yes. Is there money in the world? Yes. Do other people get to go there in the evening? Yes. Are there planes that fly to Paris, or other transportation if you can’t fly? Yes. Do people go there without their husbands? Yes. Why don’t you deserve to go there? How is this thinking in conflict with the reality of true self-worth? Why do other people deserve to go but you don’t? What is so bad about you that you are not deserving of an experience like this?
Take some time to really go over your aims that you set in steps one and two of this lesson and think about what your beliefs are about achieving these goals to test a) whether these aims are in conflict with reality; and b) whether you thinking about this aim is in conflict with reality.
Spend quite a bit of time contemplating these aims. What I really want you to do is question, challenge and explore the possibilities that you can achieve anything that you want to in this life, you just have to start by setting the aim, finding out how to do it and believing that your are able and you are deserving to have these aims in your life.
This is where my teachings from two very inspirational people in my life have benefited my life enormously. These lessons have come from my mother and from the chairman of the Anti-depression Association of Australia who both taught me that if you want something, then I need to seek out how to do it and do it. If someone says you can’t, seek out those that have and find out what they did and learn from them.
Setting these bigger picture aims for your life will drive you, inspire passion within you and help you to look at the smaller picture challenges of your life in context with these bigger picture aims. Your life is not just about the tough times. There are enjoyable times too. Sometimes we have to keep striving for these times by having concrete goals that we are always aspiring to.
There are so many experiences that we can have in life but we get so consumed with what we are doing and what we think we ‘have to’ do, which comes from the expectations and beliefs of others. There are so many possibilities and potential paths that our lives can take that all lead to the end of the path that will be our life’s ‘story’.
In this lesson you want to step out of that small picture of being a mum with little children, who may be crying a lot, having many tantrums, taking up a lot of your time, or the current financial difficulties that you are experiencing, or the problems with your partner and start to focus on what you want.
Yes, the reality is that you are currently experiencing challenges in your life, but as I’ve said many times, these are the very things that propel you another level of living and experience. When you focus on what you want, what direction you are headed and the bigger picture of the aims for being the ideal parent, having the ideal life and also having an ideal aim for your self-worth, and you combine that with being able to view life’s ups and downs with the mindset that everything has value, you are powerless beyond comprehension.
You will live a life with happiness, passion, enthusiasm and vigour, ready to face all your good times and your bads. If you really follow these exercises in this week, you will see firsthand how exciting life can be, which will be a very different feeling from the feelings that come from being stressed or depressed.
If you have done these exercises than I would expect that you would already be feeling at least a glimmer of hope and excitement over your future, instead of focussing so much on your past.
Your life can be anything that you desire it to be. It may not happen all at once, but there are many years ahead of you and there are many experiences to be had. All you need to do is continue to focus on and strive for what you want, research how to get it and make plans for achieving it, all while have a healthy understanding of life.
This is what this program is designed to teach you. In tomorrow’s lesson we expand your aims one step further by establishing what you want for your self-worth; that is, how you would like to feel about yourself.