Five out of nine, that is how many items I have ticked off on my vision board for 2021 and we have only entered the fifth month of the year. I’d say that’s descent, considering the fact that we are still navigating a changed world during the pandemic that is Covid-19. 2020 tested me in so many ways and, if I am honest, it nearly broke me. At the end of the year I was suffering with chronic pain and inflammation and my anxiety had begun to cripple my ability to do even the simplest of tasks. I’ve shared that I sought professional help and that it encouraged me to pull myself out of the crippling mindset that made dreaming and planning impossible. I wonder if others have felt that way over the last year, that it was pointless mapping out a future in a time that produced so much uncertainty. We only need to reflect on the devastating second wave at the start of 2021 to remind us how unnerving it was to enter another year without an end to the pandemic in sight.
Yet somehow, amidst unpredictability, I was encouraged by moms and business women I admire to dare a vision board for 2021; I believe it took me a few weeks to muster up the courage to plan something for the year that lay ahead. I wanted my goals to be realistic for the time that we are living in and I wanted them to be challengingly attainable. So I made a list of the things that matter to me spiritually and emotionally. I also thought about my career and family and where I would like to be in terms of happiness and success at the end of the year. Considering those aspects allowed me to put together a board of nine elements that I would like to work towards (and achieve) in 2021. More importantly, I made sure that I was faced with these goals on a daily basis so I created a nine-image media page that I saved as my screensaver on my phone. I basically look at those images multiple times a day, which has possibly encouraged me to be cognisant of them when planning my time and making decisions.
So how have I managed to achieve five out of nine of those goals in such a short space of time? The answer is intention. I focus my life around the things I said were a priority to me and that allows me to not only make time for those things but it also let me weed out the things that do not serve me. I’ve had to learn to say no. I’ve also had to work hard at avoiding distractions, whether it is in the form of procrastination or the subtle diversions that happen along the way when I see others getting things that I would possibly like to have. For example, one of my goals is to have financial freedom; I believe that it is one of the toughest goals to achieve as we are all surrounded by the temptation of consumerism. I’ve had to consciously avoid buying fashionable clothing that I do not need; buying that item of clothing will delay my ability to spend without counting pennies. I have learnt to choose long-term rewards over instant gratification. I love shopping and looking good but clearing debt and spending wisely has been far more rewarding (and satisfying) than hanging a new item of clothing in my closet has ever been.
Distractions show up unexpectedly and, if we are not watchful, they can rob us of the progress we have made in a particular area of our lives.
I’ve set goals that are near and dear to my heart. One simple goal was to spend quality time with my daughter on a daily basis; as a working mom with a second stream of income I sometimes find myself immersed in my next deadline, to the point that I’ve sometimes wished that Scout would leave me alone so that I can just get that one thing done. Yes, my work and my goals matter but they are not so important that they would cause me to wish away time with my daughter. Shifting my mindset and prioritising quality time with my family has done two things: It has freed me of mom guilt and it has helped me to use my time meaningfully. I spend my entire evening with Scout (and this makes me really happy) and, once she is asleep, I spend an hour working before reading (another goal, to read as much as I possibly can because it really brings me true joy) and then going to bed.
I remind myself that it is a vision board and not a goal board. The words vision means to have the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom. Wisdom, for me, says that life is not only about having material things but that it is also about envisioning how I would like to spend more of my time. Working is not at the top of that list and so I have achieved yet another goal by having a second stream of income which will, hopefully, buy me more time to do the things that I love in the future. This goal aligns with the one to have financial freedom and so, you can imagine, the two govern the choices I have been making. I can honestly tell you that I’ve felt less overwhelmed this year and I’ve begun to feel really content and satisfied with my life. I hope to continue with the same commitment to the last four items on my board as I would really like to accomplish them.
Why have I written this post? Well, I wanted to write a post that showed the process to living one’s dreams; we often see the end result but we don’t get insight into the makings of an individual’s achievements. I also wanted to remind myself and my readers that success is subjective and that working towards having the things that matter to you in your life means that you are living with purpose. I do not believe that success is a destination; I believe that it is a beautiful journey with meaningful stops along the way. It is never too late to start, to refocus or re-align your vision. It is also okay to change your mind about one or two things as you move along because we (and circumstances) are ever-changing and so it is important to be flexible when needing to adapt to what we could not have predicted/ anticipated. However the year started for you, I hope that this post encourages you to evaluate your intentions for yourself so that you continue to grow and prosper. Schedule your time, eliminate what does not serve you and make time to rest so that you can reflect and appreciate wherever you are in your journey.
Until my next post,