It’s not too late. Life Imagineering works on any date

In 2006, I moved into an old apartment above a French furniture store. 

Smoking was not permitted and there was no letterbox. I also couldn’t hang any artwork because there were no picture rails. My paintings and photography were too heavy for plastic hooks. All my student pictures, photos I had blown up and printed, and Chinese propaganda art sat on the floor and leaned against the walls instead. 

I was happy. And not happy. I turned thirty. And was single again. I asked questions like, ‘Is that all there is’? 

Then I made a decision. A new year’s resolution. I decided it was the Last Place I Would Rent. Ever. 

My vision was of freedom to paint walls. Freedom to drill holes. It didn’t have to be a palace. It just had to be affordable to buy. And I had to love it enough to stay for a few years. 

I imagined a leafy, private garden with dappled sunlight. An apple tree. A bird bath. Greek mythical statuary. I dreamed of my little oasis. And the universe conspired to help me.

In May 2008, four months before the collapse of Lehman Brothers (and the beginning of the western financial crisis) I bought my little cottage. I still live here and love it to bits! It is my forever house. 

backyard with freshly mown grass and large apple tree on right with yellow house in background.
Picture of the back of my house taken in about 2015 after mowing. Source Author.

Every new year’s eve I do this ritual. It is life-affirming and life-engineering. It’s exhilarating and powerfully effective. It is the process of bringing dreams to reality.

What you need.

Create a psychologically safe and happy place. When in the week do you feel best? Saturday morning is it for me. I love listening to the meditation hypnosis of Paul McKenna. Guided hypnosis is part of my daily routine. This may help you relax and see the opportunities around you.

Gratitude Reflection on the year just gone

  1. First things first, what are you proud of last year?

2. What have you achieved this year? The answer could be anything meaningful to you.

3. What are you grateful for?

4. When were you happiest?

Write down a paragraph that includes your achievements, gratitude, and key lessons in your notebook like this.

I have achieved...

I am grateful for…

I was happy when

Ask each other the full question and take turns.

Nothing injects confidence like achieving a life goal

Whether it is buying a house, getting to your ideal body shape, or mastering a skill you’ve been grappling with for years, nothing injects pure, authentic confidence in yourself than your achievements.

LifeBook program is similar to this one and uses 12 categories. It seems to be a successful program. If you can afford the Life Book program, I say go for it! For me, twelve is too many for a New Year’s Eve. But the principles are the same.

Four Categories, Three Goals for each

I use four categories in a diamond shape. I then devise three goals (maximum) for each category. 

I call them Mind, Body, Heart, and Soul. You can include any key things you would like to achieve in one year but put them under one of these relevant facets. Money and career I put under Mind. You put them where they fit best for you.

Dream up your vision

It starts with the vision. You have to see it clearly in your mind in order to bring it into being. Here are a few questions to help.

Imagine it is 12 months from now. 

I don’t know how it works, but it does.

It is the act of writing it down that helps things be manifested. It isn’t magic, but when you are intentional, things happen. You automatically make decisions—small and big—that drive you toward your goals.

Body

In twelve months, how do you feel? 

How do you want to look?

Is there a health issue you need to address? What would be the ideal outcome? 

What could you realistically accomplish in one year?

You could include things like fitness goals, weight loss or weight gain, and eating goals. 

Write down three things you want to achieve for Body.

Then, the next step is to decide what you need to do to achieve them?

For example, if you want to shift some weight, do you need a few hand weights to exercise? Do you want to start with daily walking? What are the practical considerations? 

Draw an arrow next to the goal, and give yourself a few tools you can, realistically and affordably, use to help you get there. Sure, a gymnasium membership might do it, but when will you have time to go? Maybe a daily walk around the block will be more achievable and help you hit the goal.

Mind

What do you want to know or learn? What skill would you like to have?

What is your next career step? What course do you want to start/finish/continue?

What books do you want to read?

What excites your brain? 

One year, my goal was ‘Write every day’. It has to be achievable and inside your control. I can’t state a goal that is ‘Get published in XYZ magazine’ because I can’t control whether something will be accepted.

But I can make a goal to submit something to XYZ magazine. No surprises, that’s my goal again. Submit to blah blah blah.

Heart

Relationships fall into the heart facet. 

How do I want to love and honour my partner?

How can I dedicate more time to playing with my kids? To giving them the best life?

What adventures can we have together?

How can I acknowledge and thank my customers and clients?

Think about the way you conduct your relationships. That includes friendships, family, customers, and colleagues. 

Choose three simple goals. Write them down.

Then draw an arrow and write how you are going to get there.

Soul

The Soul goals are for you and relate to your life purpose. What do you really, really care about? 

I would think about philanthropy and donations here. Where will I Give? If you don’t have money, you may have time or a skill. Everyone has a skill that can help others.

What resonates with you?

How do you want to leave a legacy?

How would you like to earn your living?

How would you like to live?

How important is money? What will you do with your money?

How would you like to make a positive impact?

Bushfire prevention? 

Sustainability and climate action? 

Animal protection? 

All of these things are amazing. What is the one thing that lifts you to your higher ground?

Final advice

Think of simple actions you can take every day or week to move you toward your goals.

Remember, twelve months might be enough time to achieve a milestone on a longer journey that could be three years down the track. The milestone itself could be a goal. Make it easy on yourself.

I am so proud of you! You are no longer a passenger in your life. You’re not drifting from one situation to another, powerless, floating with the current. You’ve got an oar. Your kayaking! You are amazing!

Life is an adventure!

Good for you! Now go for it!