You can’t move towards a goal unless you have a clear idea about what that goal is. This picture must be specific. You can’t simply state that you want “a better job”; rather you must clearly picture what that job will be and why it will be better. You can’t simply have the goal of “being self-employed”; instead, you need to have a clear picture of what you will be doing and how that will change your life.
As part of gaining a clear picture about your goal, frequently take time visualizing yourself achieving your goal. Get as detailed as possible in your mind, even taking the time to write down your goals in significant detail. Whenever you find yourself getting discouraged go somewhere quiet for a little while and use that time to visualize success in your endeavors.
A third step is to associate immense pleasure that will occur when you achieve your goals. This can be a natural outflow of the visualization process in step two. Consider how you will feel when succeed. What will it be like? How much joy will you have? How will you celebrate? Make the level of pleasure as deep and realistic as possible. The more pleasure you associate with achieving your goal, the easier it will be to get out of your comfort zone and do the things needed to achieve that goal.
Another motivator that will push you towards the goal is the pain you associate with not achieving your goal. In college, this is the motivator that pushes students to write an essay the day before it is due; the pain of failing has become very real to them. What are the pains associated with not achieving your goals? What will you NOT have? What will it look like to those around you? How will you feel about yourself? Get these pains clear in your mind and use them to push you towards action. Be careful here to always use the pain to push you towards action. Remember these pains are not inevitable. You know you can achieve your goals.
As I mentioned in the introduction, each day that goes past without action towards your goal plants you further in your current situation. As such you need to do something each and every day towards achieving your goal. Start by identifying the important activities that need to do to achieve your goal. Every goal can be broken down in to a number of steps and those steps can be broken down further into the activities needed to achieve those goals. You need to do something every day from this list. That means even on days when you are busy with other things, tired, or when unexpected things fill your time, you need to find someway to do something that helps you move forward. Even if it is a simple act it will help you keep your personal momentum moving in the right direction.
Not only do you need to have a clear picture in your mind about what you would like to achieve in your goal you also need to keep that goal at the front for your mind. There are many ways you can keep yourself reminded about your goal. One idea is creating a storyboard with photos about what you want to achieve. A number of years ago I set the goal of going to the Olympic Games. I set a storyboard filled with photos of the Olympics and of the city where the games were hosted. I placed the poster in a place where I would see it all the time when I was working. It helped me make the progress I needed to for my goal to come true. Now, a number of years later I have been to four consecutive Olympic Games. You may also want to use your calendar system (such as Outlook or Google Calendar) to set reminders. Have the reminders keep you focused on the goal you want to achieve.
While these six steps are simple, they are very rewarding. Put them into action and you will achieve your goals.
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