Learning to change
Learning to change

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Learning to change

4.4.1 Developing a vision

Some of you may find talk of visions daunting; others may find it liberating and exciting. Whatever your feelings, a vision can provide you with the guiding principles for putting your short-term goals into perspective.

It reminds you to ask yourself, on a regular basis: ‘Will what I am doing now help me achieve my ideal life in the future?’ This does not mean you cannot change your mind about where you really want to be in the longer term, but as the old saying goes: ‘If you don’t know where you are going, how are you ever going to get there?’ (If you feel uncomfortable with the idea of expecting an ‘ideal life’, it would be worth pausing for a few moments to think about why this may be the case. You could also use this time to check out whether you think that all human beings – including you – have the right to explore their talents in order to live as fulfilled a life as possible.)

Activity 41 What do I want my life to be like in ten years’ time?

Allow about 30 minutes for this activity

Think about your life as a video and fast forward ten years. If you could have a fairy godmother, to wave her magic wand, what would your life be like then? What would you be doing, with whom and where? How would you be feeling?

Comment

Did you immediately start to think about all the things that might limit your vision? That’s a common reaction – there is a natural tendency to limit our visions for the future by thinking about, for example:

  • where we are now and what we ‘deserve’
  • what other people might think of us – and what we would rather they thought of us
  • how uncomfortable it is moving into new territory
  • our lack of resources – time or money or access to support of various kinds.

There may well be obstacles ahead and that is something you are going to think about (and then plan for, and keep chipping away at) later in the section. We are asking you to think in terms of wishes from a fairy godmother because we would like you to be bold and really ‘go for it’; to think about what you really want to do, what would excite you. The pull of exciting goals can help to spur you on through the difficult times.

So, if you were not bold and positive, have another go and tell your internal ‘censor’ to be quiet, while you think freely, without the usual ‘if only’ and ‘but’ interruptions!

Activity 42 No regrets

Allow about 40 minutes for this activity

By thinking about what you would really like to be doing and feeling in the future, you are less likely to end up, towards the end of your life, with lots of regrets; thoughts about what might have been if only you had …

How might you finish that sentence? Another perspective on the previous activity is to imagine yourself, towards the end of your life, reviewing your life and achievements. What do you think you might most regret never having tried? Write down your fairy godmother wishes – along with your first thoughts about what you might regret never having tried – on a large piece of paper, which you can then cut up in the following activity.

Comment

While we have no idea what your actual ambitions might be, your thoughts from these activities probably fell into some of the following categories:

  • what you might be doing – at home/at work/in the community/online
  • who you are with – including family, friends, colleagues and fellow enthusiasts (for example, fellow cooks, anglers, crossword addicts or singers)
  • where you are – for example, where you would like to work, to live, to exercise, to go on holiday
  • how you are feeling – for example, more confident in yourself; delighted with your dream job; settled with your old friends and excited about meeting new ones; proud of having achieved some qualifications; relieved at paying off the mortgage.
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