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You probably know someone who has set goals for next year or will do between now and when the calendar turns over. History tells us that most of those goals will turn into mirages before lunchtime on January 3.

The difference between creating a mirage and setting a vision is we turn our vision into reality through our small, proactive activities.

To prompt us to take action our vision needs to be a little DUMB.

With our vision established next we create waypoints, mile markers, guideposts, or fill in your favorite analogy. Without waypoints we might drift massively off course when our vision meets the reality of our day-to-day professional and personal lives.

When we reach a waypoint we have an opportunity to celebrate a small win, reflect on our progress and adjust if we see a big roadblock ahead or the chance to jump way ahead in our progress toward our vision (picture the board game “snakes and ladders.”).

Once we define our waypoints we then define what are the daily, weekly, monthly and/or quarterly proactive activities we will do to get to the next waypoint (e.g. if my goal is to lose five pounds, my first waypoint might be when I lose one pound and some of my activities might be exercising three times for a minimum of 20 minutes per session and track my food in food journal). It’s best to start small and build up the type and amount of activities we do lest we go from zero to 1,000 then burn out and regress beyond where we started in a few weeks.

We will only stay committed to our activities if they are both highly visible (to us if no one else) and we have a requirement to regularly report on our progress, whether that’s to an accountability partner(s) or a goal tracking app or website. Without both of these in place our progress will slow down once we start to stretch our comfort zone and stop entirely once our brain decides that it doesn’t want to continue through the pain of change.

In movies mirages always appear to be reachable in a straight line. Visions aren’t realized in a straight line. Accepting that from the beginning shifts our mindset from “win or lose” to “win or learn,” which will support us in continue to move toward realizing our vision when we run into bumps in our path.

As the quote attributed to Michelangelo goes, “our greatest danger is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low, and we reach it.”

Aim high on your vision, define waypoints, celebrate small victories, make your commitments visible and report on them regularly and you’ll make your vision real.

Until next time… go start making your vision real.

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