To the thousands of weekly listeners of Law Of Attraction Changed My Life, Francesca Amber is a straight-talking single mum who wants to help people 'live their best goddamn life'... with a sprinkling of help from the universe.
I am lucky that I can call Fran - the UK's top self-improvement podcaster - a friend. I met her way back in 2015 when she did my eyelash extensions in a small, window-less room she rented in the basement of a hairdressers in Highbury, North London. We would natter away for hours about our lives, listen to true crime podcasts, and she spoke to me about her interest in the Law of Attraction, the theory that if you're of a positive mindset and focused on specific things, you'll get them... and more. Having dipped my toe (or more accurately, both feet and most of my lower limbs) in to the world of woo, I was all ears.
Her biggest win at that time was manifesting a husband, but not just any husband, a man she had glimpsed on a dating site but never spoken to - until she was set up on a blind date with him years later. She tells the story so well herself I won't try to.
For hours every month I would lie in that freezing cold room as Fran laboured over my lashes, a plug-in heater, fleecy blanket and her chihuahua Ava keeping me warm, and she would tell me how she wanted her own salon. I remember her being very specific about it. It would be local, bright, have big windows, be airy, have a dedicated room for spray tans and spaces that she could rent out to other beauticians to boost her income and allow her to expand her business.
'Being so specific,' I suggested, 'might limit what you can find? Especially around here.'
'No, that's what I want,' she would reply with a smile as she methodically continued parting my lashes and sticking in a false one.
And then it happened. She told me she was leaving the little room to start seeing clients in her own place. It was barely two minutes walk away. She had teamed up with a hairdresser pal with a similar vision to her, struck a deal with the property's landlord to take it on and boom, after a lot of late nights doing DIY after finishing seeing eyelash and spray tan clients, Fran had her bright, airy salon and people renting space from her.
It's impossible to say if that leap from airless room to dream business hub simply happened because Fran 'asked the universe', or if there were a chain of events that led to a perfect outcome. Maybe she was simply in the right place at the right time. Fast forward to the present day and I have watched with pride as Fran - now a mum to three beautiful little girls - bought her dream house, soared to the top of the podcast charts, and most recently, landed a book deal, all goals that she has been determined to bring to fruition.
Whether you believe in the law of attraction or not, there is one thing that I know about my friend, and that is no-one plans like Fran. And, with a new year just hours away, is there ever going to be a better time to sit down and map out the next 12 months? Whether you want to save money, travel more, smash a fitness goal, learn something new, or just be more spontaneous, a goal without a plan is just a dream.
On New Year's Day 2022 Fran hosted an intensive 'goal setting workshop' for her podcast listeners and members of her self-development book club, and it yielded fulfilling results for her and hundreds of others. She's doing the same this year (get your tickets here), but if you can't wait until then, she's shared ten tips with Women's Health which will help you set - and most importantly stick - to your 2023 goals.
Francesca Amber's top 10 goal setting tips
I know you’re eager to set those exciting goals for 2023, but we can’t move forward without first looking back. It’s so important to reflect on the year just gone to see what blossomed in your life and what you would like to leave behind. Make a note of all the aspects of your life you want more of in 2023, and wave goodbye to those you don’t.
Using a simple wheel of life you can quickly assess all areas of your life on a scale of one to ten to see where you need to focus your attention. For instance, it’s all very well having a great social life and lots of money, but if your health is bad it is quickly means nothing. You’ll use this information to set meaningful goals which will move your life forward.
Respect the season of your life. If you’re a single mum of a newborn, 2023 might not be the year to focus on finding a partner, or if you’re deep in debt you may not want to set the goal of lots of travel and holidays. Be realistic about what this season of your life enables you to achieve and double down on those areas you CAN work on so that next year you can travel the world or find love. For example in 2021 I had twin newborns and it was a lockdown. Rather than focussing on all the things I was missing out on, I zoned in on what I could do, so while my babies were sleeping and feeding I built my successful podcast from home.
Write down your goals and make them exciting, specific and measurable (SMART). There’s no point in saying ‘I want to lose weight’. What does that mean? Turn that into 'I will lose 2 stone, looking and feeling incredible by September for my sister’s wedding.'
Next, plan simple action into your schedule to begin to achieve that goal. Don’t worry if it seems small. It could look like ‘I will walk to and from school/work every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.'
The final part is to decide what your celebration to yourself will be for achieving that goal. It could be a beautiful dress for the wedding. I was TERRIFIED of laser eye surgery and set the goal of having it done in 2023. I bought myself some prescription-free designer sunglasses as the celebration of achieving this goal. Science says that when you celebrate your wins, you always achieve more.
Don’t do it all at once. Seeing all your goals in a list in January and expecting to work on them all simultaneously is a sure way to get overwhelmed and fail. Look at your goal list and decide which quarter of the year you want to achieve them in. Some goals may take the whole year so you’ll want to start right away, such as a 40 week programme of straightening your teeth, or a 1 year educational course. Others can wait until the summer, or even the last quarter of the year, near Christmas.
Remind yourself. This is such a simple hack but works beautifully. It’s likely the piece of paper you write your goals down on will get lost or overlooked, so set reminders in your phone for when you need to start working on a new goal. It could be as simple as ‘remind me on 1st April to start booking summer holidays’ or ‘remind me on 1st June to enrol on the beauty course in September.’ Your phone can remember your year's plans so you don’t have to!
Make a vision board on your phone and set it as your screensaver and lock screen. This has been a hugely powerful tool for me as we open our phones on average 300 times a day, so seeing your goals even subliminally 300 times a day will have a powerful effect. Create a digital collage of images that represent your goals, the places you want to go, maybe your dream home or a picture that represents love & romance to you.
If you can set your goals with friends or likeminded people you are so much more likely to achieve them. Believe you can do it and take action!
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