Often in various business magazines and articles we hear about the acronym SMART. It relates to goals, that have to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound (there are also other words that sometimes stand behind those letters, but the idea is generally the same). I used this model myself to structure many of my thoughts and plans.
A while ago however I encountered a different model for setting goals. Be-Do-Have model.
I found it super useful when thinking about more long-term plans and dreams that I wanted to make more tangible. The value in it is that you can start with literally just verbalising your ideals. When you do, you have a great start to thinking about more specific actions that will lead you there.
Let me show you how you can use it!
I want to be happy, do a lot of travelling and have a house with a garden
First thing you can do is imagine yourself in, say, 10 years, or whatever other time period you want to think about. Who do you want to be? How do you want to be? What do you want to do? What do you want to have?
Here are a couple of possible examples and ways you can spin it:
I want to be happy, do a lot of travelling and have a house with a garden.
I want to be a doctor, work within Africa and have many international friends.
I want to be healthy, teach yoga and have a lot of time for travelling.
These three words have so much power in them! Power I didn’t expect. Notice how these three sentences, although based on the exact same structure (be-do-have), can convey a completely different view of the desired reality.
What is very powerful about this is that you don’t have to start creating goals by making them specific from the very beginning. That can be daunting. You can start by letting your imagination flow and just write down the thoughts that I’m sure are in your head already. You can write more than one thing in each of those parts and then try to analyse which ones are at the core.
What if I want to be more than just one thing?
So you wrote down many things you want to be, do and have. That’s ok. You usually have more than one role and more than one need in your life. You can be a parent, a manager, a friend, a cook etc. The point of this exercise however is to look at them now and see what is really hidden below all of them. This will help you decide which ones will be your signposts, which will be the guidelines for your decisions in the next months or years.
So, for example, if you wrote you want to be happy, healthy and a doctor. You might want to think about things like what would the happiness entail. When you say happy, what do you see, what do you mean. If you say you want to be a doctor in Africa– would that make you happy? Would that influence your health?
Thanks to really looking deeper into the things you wrote down, you can see whether your desires, needs and dreams align or whether maybe some of them are contradictory. Contradictory ones can for example include balancing work and family commitments, where you want to travel the world with work but also want to spend a lot of time with family. If you notice such contradictions and feel overwhelmed by them, you might want to see a psychologist or a coach. They can support you in thinking through various scenarios, which in turn will help you understand yourself better and make the right decisions.
How do I know what is important?
The newsletter’s subscribers already know that there are two great exercises available from Project Abroad to help you think through some of those topics and create an action plan for your upcoming months abroad.
When you subscribe to the newsletter you get access to regular blog updates, additional tips and expat stories as well as the below two exercises.
Exercise 1: DISCOVER YOUR EXPAT IDENTITY workbook
- Have you ever wondered if you’re in the right place in your life?
- Do you know what your core values and priorities are that guide your decisions in life?
- Do you know how that influences your life abroad?
This exercise will help you answer these and other questions, establish what is of most value for you currently and create an affirmation that will remind you of your key focus every day.
This can serve really well in combination with the affirmation that comes out of your Be-Do-Have model. You can see if those two are in line. If they are not – having those two perspectives on paper will help you see where the gaps are between where you are now (expat identity exercise) versus where you would like to be (Be-Do-Have model). You will see whether your focus and who you are now keeps you on track to having a fulfilled life that you desire!
Exercise 2: MOVE PLANNING Card
Thanks to this exercise, you will set clear goals and focus on next steps for the upcoming months. You can start with noting down your Be-Do-Have high-level goals and use the Move Planning Card to then break it down to smaller actionable steps you might take to achieve those. In order to be-do-have what you want in 10 years, what will you have achieved in 5 years? And in order to be there in 5 years, what do you need to do in 2 years time? To get there in 2 years, what do you need to do by the end of this year? And by the end of this month? Therefore what can you do today to start working towards your dream life?
Interested in what you can discover within yourself? Project Abroad has multiple resources to help you reflect and build confidence when you live abroad. Check those out as a starter: