In his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey says to “start with the end in mind.” This concept is important whether you are starting a diet, writing a report, planning a garden, and even planning your life. I have been watching the 2016 Olympics, and last night, I saw an interview with American athlete Ryan Murphy who took gold in the 100m backstroke. Like many Olympians, going to the Olympics has been his goal since he was a small child. We saw drawings (or what we would call vision boards) that Ryan had created of him swimming the back stroke when he was young. These images were captioned, “I look forward to being the best swimmer in the world one day.” This is such a great example of how having clarity, passion, and focus about what you want, and then executing that vision with systems and a coach is so important not only for athletes but for every part of life.

Athlete posing with gold medal after victory against bright blue sky with clouds
I’d like to share one of my favorite visioning exercises for you. I have used this simple three-step process for myself and clients for the last 30 years with enormous success.


Step 1: Create Your Vision

  • Take a moment to sit down in a quiet place and visualize your perfect life three years from now.  What would it look like?
  • Imagine it’s three years from now – you are getting ready in the morning, looking in the mirror, and you have a smile on your face — a big grin.  What’s happening in your life today?   Where are you going? What are you going to wear? How do you look?  Who are you meeting?  Where are you living and with whom?

Step 2: Write It Down in this Order: Health, Happiness, Wealth

  • Now take a moment to write down in present tense, what your life would be like in three areas: Health, Happiness, and Wealth. You don’t need to know how to do these things, simply write down what your life is currently like in these three areas:
  • Health: Your Mind, Body and Spirit – Because you are the temple
    • My life is joyful, abundant, and effortless
    • I go to yoga three times a week and love riding my bike through the wetlands each morning
    • I love eating fresh live food and love how my body looks and feels
  • Happiness: Family, Friends, and Fun
    • My daughters are thriving and creating their own joyful lives now
    • I love going to weekly concerts with my husband — we are closer than ever
    • I make time to enjoy deep relationships with close friends by planning dates in advance
  • Wealth: Money, Work and Legacy
    • My business is running without me – my virtual team take care of all the details!
    • I am focused on doing what I love 80% of the time. It’s paying off because my business is thriving, and I am building wealth while helping others!
    • We are on track with our financial goals and update our financial plan quarterly

Step 3: Focus On What You Want – Not What You Don’t Want

  • Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, says “Thoughts are things,” so watch what you are focusing on. That’s the whole point here.
  • Print out your affirmations and put them where you can read them daily.
  • Then begin to act on the goals and work through any challenges.
  • You may need a coach or support team, that’s why programs like Weight Watchers are so effective. You don’t have to do this alone!


Print out your affirmations and put them where you can read them every day.  You can make a list or create a vision board, but make sure you create something visual and focus on it every day just like 2016 Gold Medalist Ryan Murphy did as a little boy. Read these daily with emotion and intention.  You can also share your goals and dreams with others that you trust. This may create some fear, but begin to move in the direction of what you want and watch the magic begin.


katana crtKatana Abbott, CFP® practitioner, is a Life and Legacy Coach™, host of the Smart Women Talk Radio™, founder of the Smart Women Companies with over 1 million subscribers globally, inspirational speaker and author of several books.

She began her financial planning career in 1987 and became a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner. In 2003, Katana created Smart Women’s Coaching® to offer financial coaching and educational workshops for women in transition who are dealing with caregiving, death of a loved one, divorce, retirement or looking to create or grow a business.  She founded Smart Women’s Empowerment in 2008 to bring free financial empowerment resources and programs to women around the world through her team of Contributing Experts.