How to achieve your goals
Posted September 8, 2010on:
Imagine stepping out of your front door and not having a clue of where you wanted to go: you’d probably just stand there not knowing which way to turn or you’d wander aimlessly round in circles. This seems like a mad thing to do, yet so many of us amble through life in this way without any kind of direction or purpose. You can let life take care of itself and you may well be OK; but most people would like a bit more of a guarantee that life will not only be OK – but that it will be great!
When we focus on something, we are much more likely to get it – whether it’s a job, house, car, qualification or even a relationship. By sending a message of desire to our brain, we start to make pictures of that and, in turn, we do what we have to do to make it happen. Rather like a builder has an idea of what a project will look like when it’s done or like a hairdresser knows what style they want to create before they start cutting, we can all design the future we want – and then go out to get it.
In the 1950’s, there was a study on goal setting at Yale University. The researchers surveyed those who graduated in 1953 to determine how many of them had specific, written goals for their future. 3% of them did. Twenty years later, the researchers surveyed the surviving members of the original group and found that the 3% who’d set goals had accumulated more personal financial wealth than the other 97% of the class combined! Whilst goal setting and happiness are not all about money, this anecdote shows how powerful we can be when we set our mind to something.
But unfortunately not all of us are focused on positive outcomes. Most people are obsessed by what they don’t want, what’s wrong with them and what’s missing from their life. They don’t put their attention on what’s great, what’s working and what resources they have to create even more happiness and success. Because we tend to get what we focus on, if you focus on what’s not working or if you spend all your time wondering why bad things always seem to happen to you, then you’ll simply get more of what you don’t want. What’s the point of that?
When you set goals, you do have to be careful, though, not to become too obsessed. Not many of us have a 100% hit rate so there may be times when you set a goal and you end up making a mistake or your goal doesn’t work. It’s really not the end of the world. At this point you have a choice: you can get all flustered, beat yourself up and go back to wandering about without direction – or you can learn from the experience and move on.
Finally, the key thing to consider when you’re setting goals is to clarify why you want something. Chances are if you set goals about things that you need in your life or that will benefit you and others, you’ll feel happy when you achieve: for example, losing weight so you can be healthy or getting a higher paid job so that you can afford to give your children a good quality of life. But if you set goals just because you think you should or to please other people, you may not feel that great – even when you’ve achieved what you set out to do. You have to ask yourself ‘What’s in it for me?’ and ‘What will happen if I don’t manage to do this?
Whatever goals you set, you have to demand more of yourself to push your performance: and you have to realise that we are all more capable then we think we are. Your ability to achieve is immeasurable – and it can be easier than you think to get what you want.
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