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I LOVE setting fresh, new shiny goals! However, that excitement gets me started, but it isn’t enough to keep me going. That’s what got me thinking this year about the difference between a goal vs vision.
An interesting shift to realize is that we humans act based on how we FEEL and not based on what we SHOULD do, most of the time. This is one of the common problems with goal setting.
A simple example is our best-laid plans to wake up earlier in the morning. The logic is all there; we know the myriad of benefits; when we’re going to bed, we are determined to wake early in the morning. Yet, when the alarm goes off, we’re tired, and we don’t want to get out of our warm, cozy bed because we don’t FEEL like it. Contrast that with a morning when we’re waking up to go on a fun vacation- it’s much easier to wake because we feel excited!
Luckily, we can use this knowledge to practice more effective goal setting.
Goal vs Vision: Why Goal Setting Fails
Logic and planning are essential elements to smooth the way for goal-achievement, but goal setting is most effective when the goal also has significant meaning to us. We must know WHY the goal is important to us to elicit the feeling that keeps us motivated. This is the key difference between goal vs vision.
Unfortunately, many people approach goal setting for the wrong reasons. For example, they plan to do what others expect of them instead of what they truly want. They are missing why the goal is important to them, because it isn’t. Or perhaps a goal does have meaning and value to them, but they’ve simply put it on a daily checklist and missed one of the important steps to goal setting – spelling out exactly WHY it’s crucial to access the emotion behind it.
Understanding why a goal is important takes it to a deeper level, and imagining what the plan will REALLY look like in our lives once we’ve achieved it helps us move toward it. This deeper level – when we can truly see what our goal setting activities will do for our lives – is the key difference between goal vs vision.
When we imagine something vividly, our brain feels as though we’ve experienced it in real life. This is POWERFUL because when we visualize our goal, we elicit the emotions, which bolster our resolve!
Goal vs Vision: The Difference
So what’s really the difference between goal vs vision?
Essentially, a goal is something that you write down and is specific and concrete. A goal may, for example, be to “make $100,000 in my business in 2021.” It’s this kind of ambition that is typically the outcome of traditional goal setting activities. This kind of goal setting can work, but it’s also not as effective as a vision designed to the same end.
This same ambition posed as a vision rather than a goal would instead be more focused on the feeling of being financially free. You might visualize yourself having more time with your family, vacationing more, and not hesitating before you buy that fun but unnecessary pair of shoes. You might imagine yourself working for just 2 hours a day, feeling rested and relaxed, enjoying your work, enjoying that new couch that you can finally afford or sitting on the beach in Hawaii, or generally feeling great about yourself.
That’s your vision. And when it comes to goal vs vision, a vision almost always wins out when it comes to helping you change your life.
Why Visions Work Better Than Goals
So, when it comes to goal vs vision, why are visions more successful?
For one, goals are not nearly flexible enough. If you have a goal, then this gives you one thing you’re trying to accomplish and only one idea of how to get there. With many traditional goal setting activities, we’re set up to feel discouraged (or even ready to quit) if we don’t follow the path we’ve laid out for ourselves.
With a vision, on the other hand, if things don’t go as planned, then you have the freedom to change the steps you’re going to take to get there or to bend them to fit your current lifestyle, plans, and free time.
Another reason visions work better than goals is because they have more emotional content. When you visualize something, the same regions fire in your brain as though it was happening. This, in turn, means that you can trigger the emotion as though it were happening. And we can use this emotion to motivate ourselves to go through with our plans! This is one of the reasons that for many people working on goal setting, vision boards are a popular tool.
A vision also makes your goal feel more real and relevant. You’re not just forcing yourself to do something for the sake of having done it – you can easily visualize and feel how it’s going to improve your life. We attract things into our lives based on our vibration, and if we’re having fun, feeling grateful, and excited about our lives, then we’ll attract more that makes us feel that way!
Goal setting is a great way to get started, but knowing why they’re important shifts them to feel more meaningful – and leads to more effective goal setting. When goals are meaningful, we keep going when we don’t want to because we can see the bigger picture.
Life rarely goes as planned, so holding the vision allows you to have the flexibility you need to keep moving forward instead of giving up when you feel off track and defeated. We aren’t machines, but the closest thing we can do to programming ourselves for success is to tap into our emotions, and visualizing helps us do exactly that!
What goal are you focused on right now, and how can you visualize it?