Writing a Vision Statement And Setting Goals


Writing a Vision Statement


Setting Goals

Step by step strategies

for reaching your dreams

Lisa Shea

Content copyright © 2016 by

Lisa Shea / Minerva Webworks LLC

All rights reserved

All images are photographed by and copyright to

Minerva Webworks LLC 2016

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.

~ v1 ~



You learn from mistakes –

no one was born a master.”

—Swiss Proverb

Nearly all of us have dreams. We wish to someday have an ideal house. A job we adore. Maybe we dream of a family. Perhaps we dream of taking exciting trips to exotic locations.

Those few who have been so worn down by life that they have lost all sense of dreaming, take heart. A dream lurks in there, even if it is simply the dream to be able to dream again.

The key to achieving nearly every dream is planning. It’s about taking those steps to get you to your goal.

This book takes you step by step through the process. You’ve already taken the first step – you’re reading this book! Now keep putting those feet one in front of the other and move forward toward your dreams.

You can get there!

Throughout this book there will be links to matching discussion threads on the free BellaOnline forum. You don’t need to use those threads, of course. Just know that they are there if you’d like to see how other people are tackling these same issues.

This book should be free on all systems. Sometimes the technical challenges of a system won’t allow the free price, though. For example, Amazon sometimes has this happen in certain countries.

If you happen to find this book somewhere with a charge, all author proceeds from that charge will benefit battered women’s shelters.

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

C.S. Lewis

Involving Friends and Family in this Process

Friends and family can sometimes be a wonderful part of our lives. They can encourage us when we feel low. They can lift us up when we’ve fallen down.

But, as we know, sometimes certain friends and family members can be less-than-helpful. Maybe your father wishes you became an accountant and grumps every time you bring up your dream of becoming a musician. Maybe your best friend is convinced you need to be hooked up with a new guy and she tries to discourage you from any other aim in life.

Sometimes it’s blatant. Sometimes it’s subtle. But sometimes those around us just aren’t all-in with our dreams.

Give serious thought to each person in your inner circle. Who will be truly supportive? Who might be more downer than supporter? Then, as you go through this process, share accordingly. If your mother is your number one cheerleader, share with her each step as you go. She’ll be the one you can turn to for help and get motivation.

If your brother has a tendency to distract you, maybe you just tell him when you reach the milestones. That way you can celebrate together, and get some kudos, without his other tendencies pulling you off course.

Look online, too. If nobody in your family is really keen on writing, find an online writing group that supports people at your level. That way you’ll have warm, friendly voices encouraging you as you grow.

No matter what your interest is, there undoubtedly is an online group of like-minded folk who would enjoy helping you along.

These are your dreams you’re pursuing. As you assemble that support team, look at the strengths and weaknesses of each person. Put them into roles where they will do their best to help you reach your end result.

Good luck!

Reducing Stress for Just Ten Minutes


You don’t have to see the whole staircase,

just take the first step.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Study after study shows that the human mind functions best when it is able to focus. The same studies show the myriad of ways that stress interferes with the brain. Stress was great for our distant ancestors who had to race away from sabre-tooth tigers. Stress is less ideal when we’re trying to plan out a course of action. It distracts us. It draws our attention away from the long term view.

So to begin with, invest ten minutes in reducing stress. It will make everything else that follows much more productive and useful.

I have a free book on Meditation available on all major ebook platforms – just search for “Lisa Shea Meditation” to find it – but you don’t need to necessarily meditate for this purpose. Any form of reducing your stress will work here.

Here’s the BellaOnline forum where we discuss ways to relax for ten minutes:


Ideas for Stress Relief

Stress relief comes in a wide variety of flavors, to match the wide variety of personalities out there.

Here are just a few ideas for you.

p<>{color:#000;}. Go for a walk

p<>{color:#000;}. Quietly sip a cup of coffee, tea, wine, etc.

p<>{color:#000;}. Watch a meditation video on YouTube

p<>{color:#000;}. Visit a museum with art you love

p<>{color:#000;}. Spend time with your pet

p<>{color:#000;}. Go kayaking / biking / running

p<>{color:#000;}. Lay in bed or on your couch

p<>{color:#000;}. Listen to songs that soothe you

We are all different types of people. Some people hate the computer and would find YouTube a hassle. Some people live in a place where going for a walk just isn’t feasible.

Make a list of what works for you to reduce your stress. Then choose from that list and try different things out.

Find what works for you. Take the time to de-stress. Then proceed along to the next step!

Creating a Vision Statement


If you follow your bliss,

you put yourself on a kind of track,

which has been there all the while,

waiting for you,

and the life that you ought to be living

is the one you are living.”

—Joseph Campbell

There’s a saying that you don’t want to spend your life climbing up a ladder only to discover that it’s been resting against the wrong mountain the entire time. It’s so easy to make to-do lists without thinking about the larger picture. You invest hours and hours a week into something that, in the end, doesn’t service your dreams.

This is where a vision statement comes in.

A vision statement maps out your priorities. This isn’t about specific to-do items. It’s about your overall goals for your life.

Let’s explore how to make a vision statement!

What is a Vision Statement?

A vision statement isn’t necessarily one sentence. It’s not like a mission statement for a company. Instead, a vision statement is a document that lists your overall life priorities. These aren’t specific things like “repaint the dining room.” They are more overarching goals such as “be organized.” They are the targets toward which other goals like “clean out the mud room” help you move toward.

Here are a few examples.

Too specific: lose ten pounds
Perfect: be healthy

Too specific: meditate for ten minutes a day
Perfect: embrace serenity

Too specific: move out of my parents’ house
Perfect: have a safe, happy living environment

The idea behind a vision statement is that it gives you an overall concept to keep in mind. Your short term goals and long term goals will help you move in a direction and can be updated over time. Those concepts will remain steady throughout it all.

Here is the BellaOnline forum thread on mapping out your vision statement and setting priorities:

[+ http://forums.bellaonline.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/427829/What_Are_Your_Priorities+]


Brainstorming Ideas

What if you get stuck trying to think about your life’s priorities? What if nothing comes to mind?

Try it this way. Think about a short term goal you have for yourself. Maybe you’re frustrated with how cluttered the dining area has gotten and you want to get it cleaned out. That might point to an overall priority of having an organized lifestyle.

Maybe a goal you’ve always wanted is to finish your college degree. That could point to an overall priority of having knowledge and learning in your life.

Alternatively, if the reason you want that degree is so you can earn enough to move to a safer neighborhood, then your priority might be to live a low-stress life. The college degree is one step toward that overall priority.

Think not only about that one particular thing that is a goal but what it represents to you. What is it moving you toward? Is the weight loss because you want to be healthy or is it more that you are currently single and you see this as a step toward finding a loving relationship?

The more you think about your goals and really get to the heart of each one, the more you can make plans that will bring you joy.

Sample Vision Statement

Here is my vision statement that I have hanging over my desk. I look at this every year and consider ways in which I could update it.

~ help others directly
~ help others help themselves
~ be healthy
~ be serene
~ find the lesson in every day
~ organize my world

You’ll note that each of these is a global type of expression. There aren’t details about the steps I take to be healthy. Those would be found in my long term goals and my short term goals. All of my goals work toward the purpose of me being healthy.

Vision Board

Some people work better with words, while others work better with visuals. For those who enjoy visuals, a vision board might be an ideal solution to exploring priorities.

For example, here is a vision board for me to explore my desire for serenity –

You can draw your vision board. You can write words and use lines to connect them to each other. You can cut pictures out of magazines and glue them to cardboard.

Some people even use sites like Pinterest to gather up the ideas for their vision boards. For example, here is my vision board where I think about serenity:

[+ https://www.pinterest.com/lisashealowcarb/vision-board-be-serene/+]

Whatever works for you, if visuals will assist in this process, spend some time gathering them up.

Here is the BellaOnline thread on vision boards –


Once you have decided on your vision statement and/or vision boards, and have those priorities identified, it’s time to move on to five year goals.

Vision Quests and Vision Seeking

Many cultures include a concept of an individual seeking a vision for where their life should go. The communities often emphasize that each individual is important and can find a path which brings them joy.

For example, several Native American cultures have a rite of passage for their young adults. The individual typically goes off alone for a period of time so they can reflect, think about their aspirations, and listen to their inner voice. They may receive guidance from spirits or dreams.

The Amish have a period of Rumspringa where their young adults separate from the community to be on their own. The young adults can listen to their own inner voice and figure out what they really want from life. This helps them to make a decision about their future path which is best for them.

Christians have a concept of a retreat. A retreat is typically a quiet location where a person can step apart from their daily routine and give thought to what is important to them. It can be challenging to really think about important life-long goals when the dishes need to be done and the cat is peeing on the futon. A retreat gives the person the space to breathe and focus.

And so it goes culture by culture. In nearly every culture there is the concept of taking a moment to breathe. There is a concept that it’s important to look at one’s life and see where it is going. If we take time to listen to our inner voice and hear our priorities, we can better know where to aim our energies.

Invest that time in yourself, so that all your future hours are used in service of your dreams. Time is a precious currency, and you choose how you spend it.

Setting Five Year Goals

“[Never give up on a dream just because of
the time it will take to accomplish it.
The time will pass anyway.”
– Earl Nightingale]

Make sure you’ve created your vision statement and/or boards before tackling the five year goals. Again, it’s the idea of the ladder against the mountain. If you start setting goals before you’ve examined your priorities, you could easily start making goals that lead you nowhere. Goals that lead you to an end that really isn’t that important to you.

This happens all the time to people, especially if they have vocal family members or friends who push them in a certain direction.

Listen to your own heart. Examine your own dreams. List those out. Then when you come to this goal-setting step, you’ll know that the goals are in service of those priorities. As you write down a goal, think about which priority it moves you toward.

Here is the BellaOnline forum thread which goes with this task:

[+ http://forums.bellaonline.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=428513+]


Mapping Out your Goals

One way to map out your goals is to look at each priority on your vision statement. Write the five-year-date onto a piece of paper. Then think about where you would like to be in five years on that first priority.

You don’t want to be extreme here – but give yourself something high to aim for, too. Your five year goals will be revised over time. This is just a direction to aim in.

Move priority by priority through your list. Think up at least one five year goal to go with each one.


Making your Goals SMART

The SMART term is often used in designing goals. The idea is that a goal works best if it is:

p<>{color:#000;}. Specific

p<>{color:#000;}. Measureable

p<>{color:#000;}. Achievable

p<>{color:#000;}. Realistic

p<>{color:#000;}. Timely

As you create each goal, think about these five dimensions.


Specific means that the goal has a reasonable amount of definition to it. Avoid goals like “be healthy” here. You want something more clear-cut. Maybe “Run a marathon” is your dream.


A goal that can be quantifiably measured works quite well. So avoid a goal like “lose weight” – you never quite know if you’re getting there. Go for a goal with a number or milestone, like “lose 20 pounds.”


As much as it’s lovely to dream pie-in-the-sky dreams, those can also lead to frustration. Have some sense that your goal is actually able to be done. It might not be great to set a goal of “live on the moon and carve moon-rock sculptures”. But a fine goal could be “earn that college degree in astronomy”.


This is similar to achievable but is more about your own particular life situation. Specific other human beings might be quite fine having a goal of “become a fighter pilot” but perhaps for you, with your combination of age and physical limitations, it’s just not in the cards. Think about how you can head in a similar direction. Maybe you could sign up for pilot classes and learn how to fly a small airplane?


All of our goal setting in this book is done in a time-based layout. Right now we’re working on five year goals. Next up we’ll be working on one year goals. So always make sure goals have a time component to them. The deadline helps you to focus on achieving them.

As you create each goal set in this book, keep SMART in mind. Apply those guidelines to each goal you set.


Brainstorming Ideas

Five years can seem like an enormously long length of time. It might be surprising how quickly those five years fly by, once they get going. So don’t be intimidated by the length of time. Think of it as the next stage in your journey.

Look around your life now and think about what you’d like to change about it. Sure, you might like a nicer house or a nicer car. But think beyond the tangibles. Would you like to be able to travel? To spend more time with family? To be healthier? To have a new skill of some sort?

If there are tangible things that you want to change – like a new car – think about what it represents. Is the current car breaking down all the time and a safety hazard? Or is it more of a status upgrade you’re seeking, to demonstrate to your family that you are doing well in the world? The more you can tease out the feelings behind your choices, the more you can make sure you tackle each goal appropriately.

This is your list. Whatever you feel is valid for you!

Sample Five Year Goals

Here are my own five year goals to show how this can be done.

  • BellaOnline < 30 empty sites
  • Zero messages in all mail queues
  • have 400 works published on Amazon
  • Floors and counters clear of piles
  • Outside yard organized and pretty
  • Do shoulder press yoga pose
  • Body fat at 15%
  • Play ten songs on the guitar
  • Play the Mozart song on piano
  • Be able to watercolor paint sunflowers
  • Have all college debt paid

One Year Goals


To have begun is to have done half the task.”


Now that you’ve got your five year goals set, the next stage is to narrow down your field of focus. Think about just the next year. Take out a piece of paper, or start up a file on your computer or smartphone, and put the date of one year from today.

Where do you want to be?

Look at those five year goals. Think about what you could achieve in the next year moving toward each goal.

Here’s our BellaOnline forum thread on this topic:


Brainstorming Ideas

If you have your overall priorities and five year goals set, those should provide good guideposts to then manage the one year goals. It might take a bit of research to figure out what the specific steps are to get to a goal.

For example, if your five year goal is to get your bachelor’s degree in literature, you might need to do some investigating to discover that a good one year goal would be to have been accepted for a degree program and to have passed your first four classes. For now you could just go with something more generic like ‘gotten accepted and taken some classes’ as a starting point. You can then fill that in with details as you move further along the process.

Remember, these lists will always be updating and changing as you get more information and move forward. Avoid getting bogged down in all the details right now. Do the best you can and you can fill in those details as you make progress.

Sample One Year Goals

  • BellaOnline at < 60 empty sites
  • Have zero email messages in all BellaOnline to-do folders
  • Finish Native American courtship traditions Book
  • Write / publish deaf-heroine medieval romance novel
  • Publish Book 4 + 5 in Murder Mystery series
  • Write Book 6 in Murder Mystery Series
  • Get all RomanceClass ebooks live
  • Have ‘getting published’ and ‘author marketing’ books live
  • Have 320 books published
  • Have office organized
  • Have decent watercolor paintings
  • Do Downward Dog very well
  • Body Fat at 16.5%
  • Play 3 songs on guitar
  • Play Mozart song on piano with music

Short Term Goals

“[A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”
– Lao Tzu]

Even one year is a long time span to be working with. As you look at your weekly schedule, it’s good to have something shorter to aim for.

Take a look at that year goal list. Then think about the next few weeks. Think about something you can do in service of each of those goals. It doesn’t have to be a huge step! It can simply be to read a website to get more information on something.

Those small steps – those milestones – can add up quickly. The key is to begin.

Here is our BellaOnline forum thread on short term goals:


Brainstorming Ideas

Sometimes it can be easy to dream big and harder to think about that next step. It’s scarier because it’s closer. It’s something you might actually have to do. The idea of earning a degree might seem wonderful but the thought of going to a campus and talking to a counselor might be terrifying.

Take it step by step.

Break it down into chunks you can manage. If it’s too scary to think about going onto campus and talking to a counselor, have your first step simply to learn about the school. The more you get comfortable with the school, the less scary it should seem. Maybe find a friend who would go with you. Take the smaller steps to move you toward that goal.

Sample Short Term Goals

Based on my one year goals, here are my short term goals for the coming weeks.

  • send five empty-site BellaOnline newsletters
  • main email inbox below 3500 messages
  • check status of Native American traditions book
  • read through current draft of medieval deaf book
  • read through Sutton murder mystery book 4
  • 1 chapter in Sutton murder mystery book 5
  • convert one RomanceClass PDF book to Amazon format
  • 1 chapter getting published
  • organize one office pile


“[Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.”
– Napoleon Hill]

We tend to put things off. To wait. To assume at some point we’ll have time. But in most cases we simply don’t. Life stays busy. The way to reach those dreams is to take small steps and work toward them.

Patience is key. The lists you make will change. That’s their nature. Things will be added to them and removed from them. Check over your lists every three months or so. Do they still feel authentic to you? Do they need some polishing? That’s natural and proper. You want them to stay in tune with the way you feel.

Above all else, keep an eye on those priorities. Remember to have your time and attention head toward them. It gives you the strength to say ‘no’ to those time sinks that distract you from your dreams.

Good luck!

Thank you for reading this goal-setting book! I hope you found some new tools that can help you in reaching your dreams.

If you enjoyed this book, please leave feedback on Amazon, Goodreads, and any other systems you use. Together we can help make a difference!

If you have a tip I didn’t cover, please let me know! Together we can help each other achieve our dreams.

All of the author’s proceeds benefit charity.

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To the Boston Writer’s Group, the Sutton Writing Group, and the BellaOnline community, for their support for my projects.

To my boyfriend, who encourages me in all of my dreams.

Thanks to Sheryl, Cassie, Joann, Dana, and Tom for their great feedback!

About the Author

Lisa Shea began her career as a programmer for a number of high-challenge biotech and software companies. After years in the high-pressure industry she decided she wanted to use her skills to help others. She wanted to create a learning environment where those who often have few outlets – stay-at-home moms, those caring for elderly parents, or parents of children with special needs – could reach their dreams and goals.

Through her website BellaOnline.com Lisa strives every day to help every editor and visitor achieve whatever they set out to do.

Please visit BellaOnline.com and see what sites we have open. If one is of interest to you, we’d love to help with training, support, and an encouraging community, so you can reach your dreams!

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Writing a Vision Statement And Setting Goals

Nearly all of us have dreams. We wish to someday have an ideal house. A job we adore. Maybe we dream of a family. Perhaps we dream of taking exciting trips to exotic locations. Those few who have been so worn down by life that they have lost all sense of dreaming, take heart. A dream lurks in there, even if it is simply the dream to be able to dream again. The key to achieving nearly every dream is planning. It’s about taking those steps to get you to your goal. This book takes you step by step through the process. You’ve already taken the first step – you’re examining this book! Now keep putting those feet one in front of the other and move forward toward your dreams. You can get there! All of the author's proceeds benefit battered women’s shelters.

  • ISBN: 9781370482160
  • Author: Lisa Shea
  • Published: 2016-12-22 03:50:19
  • Words: 4107
Writing a Vision Statement And Setting Goals Writing a Vision Statement And Setting Goals