Purpose, Vision and Goal Setting…Now We’re Talking!

Purpose, Vision and Goal Setting…Now We’re Talking!

I have never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions – that feeling of setting resolutions and then experiencing feelings of guilt of failure after not implementing the necessary habits or behaviors. Or how about starting out wildly successful and then feeling mad at yourself for letting the resolutions fall by the wayside as the business of life creeps into reality as you get into the year?

Purpose and Vision

I have started to see that as I become more in tune with my vision and purpose in life, I tend to make choices that support that.  So I propose that this New Year, you take the time to look inside yourself first and foremost. Ask yourself,

“What is important to me?  What do I feel passionate about?  What brings me joy?  What makes me feel like I am being my best and most genuine self?  What is true in my heart?”


Once you have answered these questions, you will feel more connected to your purpose in this life. Focus on getting a sense of what you are feeling inside about what you truly want in life.  Once your understand this, you can start to create a vision.  Ask yourself,

“What would my life look like if I were able to manifest the truth in my heart?”


resolutionsMaybe there would be more family dinners. Perhaps you see yourself in a meditation or yoga class once a week.  You may sense a new creative idea to explore within your profession. You might even you see yourself in an entirely different career.   Write these things down, and if you are really feeling into it, create a vision board!


Just doing the above exercise could raise your awareness enough to allow you to naturally start aligning more with your purpose.  However, you can take it to the next level by setting some goals – not resolutions or markers that scream failure or success by a certain date.  The idea is just to come up with some specific targets and then create action steps to get there.

Action Steps

Start by examining various areas of your life. Next, set some targets with action steps along the way. Sometimes we forget how truly simple this can be.  In our normal, busy lives, it is easy to forget to email that friend about the book club she raves about, set a meeting with the boss to learn how you can telework one day a week or get the family together find a day everybody is free on a regular basis to sit down together for dinner. These little simple action steps can create big changes in your life.

In going through this process, some uncomfortable things may come up. You may realize that you want to change some pretty big things. People naturally resist change.  However, these changes may be required for you to live the life you truly desire. You may find that making these changes takes some hard work and a lot of effort.

Lessons From Two Great Stories

resolutionsI love the story of the swallows that return to nest at San Juan Capistrano in California every spring after a long journey across the ocean. The story goes that historically, bird watchers wondered how these birds who cannot swim could survive such a long voyage over the sea. Then it was discovered that the swallow picks up a twig as it begins it journey.  When it becomes weary and can go no farther, it places it’s twig on the surface of the water and rests until it can continue. This continues until the swallow finishes it’s journey. You see, the twig is the burden the swallow is willing to carry to get to where it needs to go. What burdens are you willing to carry to get where you want to go?

You may also have to let go of some things that aren’t easy to release. There is an old Asian fable about how trappers would catch a monkey. They would anchor a bottle to the ground. The neck would be just large enough for a monkey’s hand to fit through. They would put a small banana in the bottle and wait. Before long, a monkey would come along, see the banana and reach his hand in the bottle and grab it. The monkey would soon discover that he can’t get his hand out of the bottle while holding on to the banana. The monkey would hang onto the banana until the trapper would put a sack over it and catch it. The monkey would actually sacrifice his life before he would let go of the banana and run. What are you holding on to that is stopping you from moving forward in life?

Whether the stories of the swallows or the monkeys are true, there is truth in knowing that to get to where you need to go, you must take on some things and let some things go. So skip the resolutions this year and have both purpose and vision so that you may discern what to take on and what to let go of.    Then you can pave the way with action steps and goals to a more joyful year and a more fulfilling life!


Dr. Sharman

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