Each spring I ask my coaching clients to take some time imagining their desired futures before writing down their spring goals. I have them picture an ideal day, what they’re wearing, and where they’re having lunch. I ask them to embrace the feeling of success.
Sometimes, traditional goalsetting can feel too structured. So, it’s important to also focus on our inner images of the lives we desire. We might then choose to write down seasonal intentions rather than fleshed out goals. If you’ve had trouble with setting incredibly specific seasonal goals in the past, I suggest trying out this practice of setting intentions in the areas of health, wealth, and relationships instead. Let your imagination drive you!
Add Some Pizzazz to Your Future
If your goals or intentions are boring, though, you won’t be very motivated to stick with them. I’ve seen perfectly written, measurable, attainable goals sit there with no progress made all season long. If a vision for the future lacks excitement, we simply won’t be motivated to start moving forward.
That’s why reflecting on our goals is so important. Once a military spouse has her goals in writing, I like to sit with this client to make their goals and intentions even more meaningful and motivating. We then sort through them and divide them into performance and mastery goals.
- Performance goals focus on small, concrete steps to make short-term progress toward a goal. For example, one of my clients is working on a prerequisite course for her nursing program.
I love setting performance goals and then choosing which one to tackle based on my motivation. I often have clients think about taking a small, medium, and large action step each day towards their ideal future.
- Mastery goals, on the other hand, focus on long-term learning. My client in nursing school has the mastery goal of excelling in the nursing field beyond her current class. So, for example, my client may wish to journal about her future as a nurse, complete informational interviews, and even spend some of her leisure time volunteering in the health profession.
As a military spouse, I think it’s great to balance performance and mastery goals with just being. Just knowing that you’re already doing so much by supporting your spouse’s mission means a lot, so it may help to think of these goals like bonuses to what you already do so well.
Activity: Planning Your Spring
Now, let’s get some exciting goals down in writing!
- Think about where you are versus where you want to be. What does that future vision look, smell, feel, sound, and even taste like? Think about where you’ll eat and what you’ll wear each day.
- List out goals or intentions that match those future images. Then go through what you’ve written and define which are performance and which are mastery based goals.
- Consider how you can connect the dots between these two types of goals. For example, how would “a successful nurse” handle her pre-requisite classes? Well, she would be on time, read the materials, ask questions, network with the teacher outside of class, and so on. When we can approach our performance goals with a mastery intention, something magical happens—we start making real progress toward our dreams!
- Take a moment to appreciate where you are in life and all that your community has brought you. If we focus too much on our future, we forget to enjoy right now—and enjoying life is the whole reason we set goals, right? So, I want you to take a moment to meditate on all that military life has to offer, including connecting with the spouse community. Think about how you can draw upon these important resources to keep moving toward your goals. It may include asking a friend to go for a walk with you each day or even reaching out to a successful spouse whom you admire.
Set an Exciting Intention for the Future
If you’re lacking ideas, a great way to set spring goals is to use the coaching wheel and choose three areas you want to improve. Write down where you are now (your score) versus where you want to be (your description of a perfect 10). Then start thinking of goals, intentions, and action steps that will get you there.
I used to teach clients to write goals and action plans that aligned perfectly, but now I love just talking about general intentions, new habits that you want to try, and new things that you want to learn. Be kind to yourself and remember to develop objectives that actually sound fun and exciting!
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or want to do a goal setting workshop on your military base. Happy spring!