This is an advanced goal setting technique that’s been hugely useful to me. It evolved from an Anthony Robbins program I worked through about three years ago – and that program was nothing short of life altering for me.
The basic process is to envision the life you WANT to live – as vividly and in as much detail and depth as possible – and record it in an MS Word file or other word processing document. Using an electronic doc lets you add in pictures, embed videos and links and edit and change to your heart’s content. My current “vision doc” is over 130 pages of text and pics and it’s something that I’ve evolved and edited and changed and read and reread.
“Written Goals” for the 21st Century
A lot of “self-help” types get into written goals. I think of this exercise as written goals on steroids! With an electronic format you can insert all kinds of stuff as you find it and CAPTURE it to inspire you later. Cool pic on a training blog? Copy and paste! Inspiring video? Put the link in your doc! Cool quote on Facebook? Copy and paste! You can get really detailed and crazy with this – and I suggest that you do! The more detail you put into your vision, the more time you spend creating it and the more emotion you give to it, the more fun you’ll have and the more strongly you’ll connect to your goals and dreams.
I’ve been working with mine and editing it for YEARS. Some days I’d spend a lot of time editing it – or just reading it – and other times I’ll go weeks or more without looking at it at all.
Make It Yours
In the end, it’s about what’s useful to YOU. I greatly revised and expanded on the original exercise that Tony Robbins did in “Time of Your Life” and I encourage you to adapt what I show you here to your own purposes. The most important thing is that you feel EXCITED and INSPIRED and JACKED UP to train and go out and MAKE YOUR GOALS HAPPEN when you work on this thing or read it. Put as much time and detail as you want and make it FUN and deeply INSPIRING to you!
It’s a really fun process and it’s pulled me through a lot of really though times – times when all I had the energy for was to imagine the life I would eventually have and the great health and training that was in my future. And that future IS coming to be! Think of this document as a target or a compass that keeps you on course and helps you adjust your course as you grow and evolve.
Here are the seven sections from Anthony Robbins’ original exercise and a short description of each…
Your Ultimate Vision
This is the really fun part. Find some quiet time and imagine what you would accomplish, what your life would be like and WHO YOU WOULD BE if there were NO LIMITS. Imagine it in as much detail as possible and don’t censor yourself at all. When I did this for the first time I actually saw who I TRULY wanted to be – and it WASN’T who I was at the time and it wasn’t even where I was heading. Imagining the life I wanted with no limitations completely changed the course of my life.
Take some time, put on some music and GET INSPIRED. Imagine your BEST SELF and your ULTIMATE LIFE if you could live any life you wanted!
Your Purpose for Achieving Your Vision
Now that you have your vision, you need a purpose to help drive you toward it. This is the WHY of your vision – WHY do you want to be that person? What will it GIVE YOU to have health and vitality and fitness and performance. The purpose part is important because it’s the energy and the drive and the emotion behind the vision you’re striving for!
This is one Tony Robbins gets kind of silly with and you don’t even really have to do it. The basic idea is to create “roles” or “identities” for yourself. Examples might be: “CrossFit Firebreather,” “Champion Ultra Marathoner,” “Master Martial Artist.” You can be as silly or as serious as you want on these, but the point is to come up with things that will motivate you and remind you of “who you are” when you’re going to work out or are doing the things that will get you to your ultimate vision.
Resources to Help you Achieve the Vision
This is one of my favorite parts of the exercise. When I actually started thinking about ALL the incredible resources I had available to me to make my vision a reality I was blown away! 100s of books, DVDs, a garage full of equipment, 7 different certifications, a TON of friends who CrossFit and even a few who own an affiliate, great teachers and friends in a bunch of different martial arts, all the great blogs out there and my Facebook friends. I could write for DAYS about all the resources I have. When you see it in that way, it’s pretty hard to think you couldn’t achieve your goals. I think you’ll find that you have A LOT more resources that you realize when you sit down and list them 🙂
Three to Thrive
This is another good one. What you want to do here is figure out the three MOST important things you need to do on a regular basis to achieve your goals. In other words, what are the THREE things that, if those were ALL you could do, would get you pretty close to your vision. For example, it might be “train at least four days a week,” “eat an all whole food Paleo diet” and “sleep well and keep stress low.” The point is, these are the three MOST IMPORTANT actions you’re going to take on a REGULAR BASIS to achieve the vision you’ve created.
A side note here is that, when I originally created my vision document, I increased this to five. So I had “Five to thrive.” Typical over-achieving from me… I cut it back to three to FORCE myself to focus on the MOST important activities as opposed to having five I was doing inconsistently. Three to thrive is a tool to help you focus on the MOST important aspects of your life. It’s NOT another list of stuff to do…
One Year Goals
This is the big one. Where do you want to be ONE YEAR from now? What are the big ones and some of the smaller ones? 300lb Bench Press? Sub-4 Minute Fran? 90% of your food Paleo and organic? Drop 4% bodyfat? Some of these will take the ENTIRE year and some will happen faster. We get more specific about this in the next section…
Now that you know your One Year Goals, you can break those down into smaller quarterly goals. For example, if your Bench Press is 260 now, you know you need to add 40lbs to the lift over the course of the year. You’d probably want to do something like this: in the First Quarter – add 15lbs, in the Second and Third Quarters add 10lbs per quarter and then add 5lbs over the Forth Quarter to have a 300lb Bench Press in a year’s time. You get the picture.
It’s all about evolution and finding your way…
In the original Anthony Robbins program, the “vision” is about a paragraph and the “purpose” is about the same. I originally did it that way, but found I wanted to expand and add to it over time. The process is SO MUCH FUN when you get into it that it’s hard to leave it at just a little paragraph or two. When you start adding pics and videos and stuff, you’ll start to see how much “inspiration” you can pack into a Word document.
For me, the big payoff from having a written document like this is it serves as a REMINDER to me about where I’m going and who I’m becoming. Like I mentioned in the video, I’ve been through some VERY dark times in the past years and having this “ideal” vision to return to was a major factor in getting through. No matter how bad I felt or how discouraged I was, I could read my goals and my vision and be reminded of what the future could be with enough work and determination.
Like they say, you can’t hit a target that you can’t see!
So, open a fresh new document, think about where you want to be and WHO you want to be and get busy!
I wish you a happy, healthy and successful New Year!