The year-end is traditionally a time when many engage in reflections on how the year has gone, and set some resolutions - promises to do things differently in the new year. They tend focus on specific goals and behaviours, such as drinking less, exercising more, or quitting smoking.
In coaching, we like goal-setting as much as the next person, but we have a much more powerful tool that we prefer to start with: visioning.
Visioning is an exercise where we take a time machine into an ideal future and connect with that image.
- Fast forward to the future, 12 months on, and you've had a fantastic year. What is it like here?
- What's happened in the past 12 months? What have you accomplished?
- What kind of character were you demonstrating? What personal values (e.g. courage, honesty, family) were you prioritising?
- As you imagine this, engage all your senses and notice what it would feel like as you stand there, 12 months on.
- For now, ignore ALL limitations and any obstacles that you might face and allow yourself to dream. This is a very important part of visioning.
Visioning activates different areas in your brain, stimulating creativity and possibility. We often neglect these parts of the brain, especially in corporate environments where we focus on obstacles to overcome. This can result in "in-the-box" thinking and doesn't really generate much excitement and resonance (life force).
What new things opened up for you when you tried this activity? New dreams? New possibilities? An awareness of what's really important to you that hadn't been on your mind?
It's not that what we envision is what we set as goals for 2023. Visioning can teach us about what is really important to us and why. When we are clearer about this, we can then move onto designing SMART goals in line with this.