What is so important about action?
Small actions are how our visions come to “life.” Here are some tips on how to translate your vision board into action and why that is important.
In December's blog, I spoke about envisioning your 2021 with a vision board. Vision boards are so great because they allow you a way to creatively explore what you want to achieve. During this process we primarily use our right side of our brain, linked with creativity and intuition. And don't worry, if you haven't been able to complete your own vision board yet, today is a new day! Go for it now! (Re-read December's post, complete your vision board, and then come back to the rest of this post.)
However, without action towards what you want, you won't be able to realize your vision.
Defining the specific things that you want to realize is a place to start. Seeing themes emerge from your vision board and defining what they mean to you in terms of goals is a helpful way to get the ball rolling on your specific action steps.
So, as you look at your completed vision board, ponder these questions:
-Do you see overarching themes?
-Can you set those themes into words?
Some examples could be:
--A goal of a more calmness in your life could be appropriate if there are lots of pictures of calmness and relaxation.
--A goal of spending more time in nature might feel good if there are pictures of nature.
--A goal of achieving a "bucket-list" item could be appropriate if you included a picture of something you've always wanted to do.
Take some time for this.
YOU are important and so are your goals.
Ponder the ideas in your head, or journal about them.
Now, think about the answers to the above questions and look at your vision board.
Take some deep breaths and allow one of your goals to come to mind.
As you think of that single goal, ask yourself what is one small thing you could do to start making progress towards that goal.
So easy, in fact, you might be able to get up and complete it right now.
Easier the better!
If you happen to feel resistance when doing working through this process, try to make your one action even easier, or possibly try for a different first action or goal to start with. You should feel good about what you chose, feel energized when you think about getting it completed, and certain that you'll be able to achieve it. How do you know when to reconsider? Maybe it feels like a weight on your shoulders or some tightness in you jaw, or maybe it just doesn't feel right when you think about your chosen action step. Keep re-working it until it feels right.
Then, complete your action step! As it becomes part of your routine, you can use that success as encouragement. Use the same process to develop your next action step. Again, just to re-emphasize....the easier your action is the more likely you are to complete it!
Why is small and easy so important? It's because as you take actions toward your goal, your brain rewards you with a “hit” of dopamine. Dopamine is a feel-good chemical in our brains that helps move signals between our nerve cells. It plays a role in how we feel pleasure, along with other human characteristics of striving, focusing, and finding things interesting (among many other functions!) Small actions over time build the “proof” your brain needs to make what you ultimately want to achieve, well, more achievable. Once the one small action is complete and feels like second nature, ask yourself “what is the next small action that will bring me closer to my vision?”
The picture with this post is of my 2021 Vision Board. As I reflected on it, one thing that stood out to me was re-incorporating a more consistent strength training routine. I've been consistent in the past and I have equipment at home. So for me, an easy small step that felt good is to take 5 minutes in the morning, twice a week, to do as much strength training during that time as possible.
As I write this at the beginning of February, I was easily able to make that time, and it continues to feel like a challenge to see how much I can get done safely. I have been building off of my 5 minute routine, up to 15 minutes. However, making it super easy for myself gave me the best chance to get back to my the full routine! And it is something that I continue to re-build as a habit for myself.
***Remember, small actions over time lead to big change!