Advertising
Advertising

6 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Reach Your Biggest Goals in 2017

6 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Reach Your Biggest Goals in 2017

Picture this.

You’re sitting on the patio of a beautiful restaurant watching the fireworks of the year’s end with all of your closest friends.

You’re smiling because you’ve achieved all of the biggest goals you set for yourself in 2017 and you’re excited to share this moment with the people you love as you cheer on another great year to come.

That would feel pretty good, right?

Although many of us feel that the above situation is a pipe dream locked away for only the most productive people to achieve, it doesn’t have to be this way.

By following different proven methods of productive goal-setting, you can achieve your biggest goals too, whether they’re losing more weight, starting your business, meeting that special someone, or writing that book you’ve always wanted to write.

It sounds impossible, but it’s not. I promise you.

Here’s how you can make 2017 your best year yet.

1. Imagine Yourself Already Having Achieved Your Goals

Sounds counterintuitive, right?

Advertising

Say you want to start a business, but you don’t know how (really, you don’t even know where to begin). Instead of procrastinating in despair, try this.

Take 5 minutes right now to think about how good it would feel to be running your own business.

What would that look like for you? Would you be working from the comfort of your own home, from the coffee shop down the block, or maybe before boarding a plane that will take you jet-setting around the world?

No matter what business you want to start, focus on how amazing it would feel to finally set the blocks in motion and be living the life you want. Make sure you keep it personalized to yourself (and remember, it doesn’t have to be realistic — yet).

2. Set Your Goals in Reverse

Now that you know what your ideal life would look like, pull out a piece of paper to complete the picture.

At the beginning, write down the desired result of your biggest goal. If you want to make money from home, write that. If you want to be a published author, jot that down.

Now it’s time to make your goal more tangible.

What are the steps you could ideally take to reach that goal? If you want to start a business to make money, how would you generate money?

For instance, you could create a webinar to generate sales for your business, but you’d need an email list before you could do that. And before that, you’d need clients, a website, a name, and an idea for your business.

Advertising

Don’t think too complicated now. This exercise is just intended to generate a simple way path to your goals, no matter how far away they seem now.

3. Break Your Goals Into Bite-Sized Pieces

You already planned out how to achieve your goals in reverse. But let’s face it — it’s hard to reach your biggest goals. We all know this.

However, if you break them down into little bite-sized pieces first, then it’ll be much easier for you to make progress towards them every week.

As we’ve all heard, it’s easier to eat an elephant if you do it one bite at a time.

The same is true for your goals. If you try and take it all on at once, it’s going to make things way harder than they need to be for you.

But if you just do one small thing today towards your biggest goal, that progress will add up faster than you think.

4. Become Distraction-Proof

Now that you’ve made a roadmap to reach your goals, you need to concentrate on the roadblocks stopping you from reaching the destination of your ideal life.

Ask: What’s blocking you from achieving your desired results?

If it’s constant interruptions, consider ways you could fight against that.

Advertising

For instance, if you’re trying to do focused work on your laptop, you could disconnect completely from the internet or install an internet-blocker like Freedom.

Or if you’re having trouble working from home, you could go into a quiet study area at your local library to escape the distractions all around you.

If you can find a way to circumvent distraction, it’ll be much easier to start achieving your biggest goals today.

5. Work in Focused Sprints Every day

Most of the work we do these days is shallow and unfocused.

That’s why I love Cal Newport’s new book Deep Work. In it, he shares a method where we can all achieve the desired results we want in our lives.

The solution is finding time in your day to do focused work. Unlike shallow work, this form of “deep” work can help us make progress towards something substantial that’s related to our personal or professional lives.

If you can fit a focused burst of 25 minutes into your morning, try that. If not, fit it into your afternoon. Whenever you can find a time, these 25-minute Pomodoro’s can do wonders to help you reach your goals instead of just checking your Facebook notifications or replying to yet another email on the list with no real benefit.

6. Constantly Review and Access Your Goals

Goal-setting is not just for the end or the start of the year.

Many of us make the error of only setting goals when we see the new year approaching. Then, shortly after it, we fail to follow through on those goals we set for ourselves.

Advertising

Soon into the year, many of our goals are forgotten, abandoned, and left unfinished only to be ticked onto our lists for the next year to come.

The problem is that we should be setting new goals constantly — either to reach new goals or to make adjustments to our old ones — because our lives aren’t stagnant. Like our environments, they’re constantly changing, so we should be adapting along with them.

Don’t be afraid to delete any goals that no longer mean anything to you. Above all, always be changing, modifying, and adapting.

If you can develop a model of consistency when it comes to reviewing and accessing your goals, you’ll be way ahead of the rest.

How to Make 2017 Your Best Year Ever

Take a moment to think about the biggest goals you want to achieve in 2017. Maybe they’re goals you didn’t achieve or didn’t have time for last year.

Think about how you would feel by accomplishing even one of them. And imagine how great it would feel to be sharing champagne and celebrating with your closest friends after achieving your biggest goals for 2017.

I know it feels impossible, but your goals are achievable.

By following these six simple strategies, next year you won’t be looking back at 2017 in despair. Instead, you won’t be able to do anything but smile.

More by this author

6 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Reach Your Biggest Goals in 2017

Trending in Lifestyle

1 How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind 2 Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It) 3 10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today 4 Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide) 5 12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

Advertising

This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

Advertising

“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

Advertising

For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

Advertising

Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

More About Mental Strength

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Read Next