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Published on December 9, 2020

6 Actionable Ways To Manifest Your Dream in 2021

6 Actionable Ways To Manifest Your Dream in 2021

Thirteen years ago, I was defeated. Less than a year after moving out of my mom’s house, she was my landlord once again. Alone on her couch (my bed), I spent Friday nights watching bad TV and brushing crumbs off my lap. Before I could spark another cigarette, an infomercial stole my attention. An ash-haired woman spoke of untold laws and secrets with the power to manifest my wildest dreams. “This was no BS!” I choked.

I began reading books and listening to tapes on how to attract my desires. I visualized my fantasies, recanted affirmations, and purified my mind. And then something amazing happened…

Nothing changed. Not one single thing.

Sure, it felt like things were improving. Every time I told myself I was a millionaire, it felt wonderful. But my life wasn’t getting any better. My goals remained out of reach.

So, I tried something different. I sought advice from successful friends. They weren’t always wealthy, but they lived happy lives, on their own terms. One was a venture capitalist helping entrepreneurs in developing countries. He loved to build businesses that lifted communities. Another was a teacher that felt a rush when her students learned something new. I interviewed athletes, engineers, and small business owners to dissect the actionable steps to manifest your dreams.

I put their advice to work in my own life, becoming my own guinea pig. My results changed—fast. I went from almost dropping out of high-school to graduating from one of the top MBA programs in the world. I quit smoking and ran a marathon and then a triathlon. I traveled the world and went from dead broke to six-figures in the bank in less than a year.

Those results may pale in comparison to yours—if so, mazel tov my friend! Keep crushing it, and use these steps to reach new heights.

Let’s manifest our dreams, minus the squishy platitudes:

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1. Know Where Mindset Matters

For all the hype, there’s one big problem with the Law of Attraction: belief alone can’t change anything—not in the physical world. It takes consistent, deliberate action to bend reality in your favor.

But that’s not to say that a positive mindset is unimportant. Ever met a woman who dates the same toxic men over and over again? Or the man who decries his every employer yet suffers the worst of them? How strange is it that whether we view life as good or bad, kind or evil, circumstances tend to prove our point?

What you are is what you have been. Who you will be is what you do now. —Buddha

Thoughts don’t manifest our dreams, but they dictate our actions, which do. Before writing your goals, first, check in with yourself: are you in a positive mindset right now?

Always begin with optimism. If you’re feeling stressed, pause for ten minutes of meditation. Feeling unconfident? Recite a few uplifting affirmations and relieve your past achievements for a while. When you’re ready, return to your goals.

2. Ask the Most Important Question

In Simon Sinek’s bestselling book, “Start with Why,” he explains how people don’t buy into a product until they understand the “why” behind it. Companies refer to this as their mission statement.

Likewise, you won’t commit to your personal mission until you believe in your soul why it matters. Think about the type of life you could be living if you accomplished your goals. How happy would that make you feel? Would it empower your peers?

We’ll sometimes do things for others that we won’t do for ourselves. So, think about how your success could better the lives of those around you

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Then, imagine the consequences of not setting any goals. Can you accept the regrets that might follow? Would you risk the missed opportunities? Imagine your own funeral. Friends and family surround your casket—what would you want them to say about you?

Stoke a fire within yourself to live up to your aspirations. We only have one life to make it happen. Use this all as fuel.

3. Practice the Power of Patience

You’ve heard of the Pareto principle, often called the “80/20” rule. I estimate that 20% of success is smart goal-setting and 80% is execution. Nothing beats relentless action directed at the right target. But there’s one other crucial, yet overlooked trait: patience.

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” —Bill Gates

Great things take time. But most people are overly patient in the short term and impatient in the long term. They work at a relaxed pace each day, yet complain and deflect blame when they’re not an overnight success.

Take common personal goals: pivoting careers, getting out of debt, or losing a lot of weight. It will take most people a year or two to reach these goals if they remain disciplined.

Let’s look at the three scenarios:

  • Failure #1 — She absorbs a lot of knowledge but never acts on it (super common).
  • Failure #2 — She starts a new venture with massive enthusiasm, only to fizzle out when adversity or boredom strikes.
  • Success — She decides which goals to pursue, plans (but doesn’t overthink), then works on the plan every day.

The successful person is more like the tortoise than the hare in the classic fable. They’re like the woodpecker that whacks the same tree thousands of times until dinner is ready.

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4. Use Habits to Trump Motivation

Legendary investor Ray Dalio wrote in “Principles: Life and Work” that successful people flourish and manifest their dreams by doing two critical things well:

A. Identify the Most Important Activities Related to the Goals

When approaching a problem, spend some time upfront framing it. Ask yourself: what would it look like if this were easy? Which 20% of activities generate 80% of the results?

If I were researching how to lose weight, I’d find that 3500 calories equal one pound. So, I could lose a pound per week by working out ~10 hours a week or by cutting out soda and sugary drinks. Clearly, diet is the key factor.

In sales prospecting or job searches, the root cause of failure is an insufficient pipeline. They aren’t reaching out to enough prospective customers or employers to get results. Better objection handling or follow-up may move the needle a bit, but it’s not the primary factor.

B. Repeat These Activities Every Day

Once you’ve identified the critical activities for your goals, you need to convert them into habits. This is key if you want to manifest your dreams.

For example, if I were to write a novel by the end of the year, I could write 300 words per day. That takes an average writer around twenty minutes each day. In that case, I would create a schedule for the day, with a time block dedicated to that activity. I would schedule this time first thing in the morning.

Don’t wait until you’re distracted or tired. Treat this time as sacred—nothing short of an emergency should get in the way.

5. Sustain It in the Long Run

People often ask: how do I sustain motivation for months and years? Habits are powerful because they reduce the need for constant motivation. Your goal becomes a lifestyle—a permanent fixture of your days.

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Imagine placing your goals on autopilot. The critical takeaway: convert your critical success activities into repeatable habits. It’s easier when you sustain a high level of motivation. Do this with rewards to reinforce the habit. Savor a gourmet coffee after finishing a chapter, or enjoy a cheat meal after moving the scales. These treats help associate progress with pleasure in your mind.

Another great tip is to keep your goals “in front of you”. Put a picture of your dream home in your bathroom, or place a replica of your dream car on your nightstand. These will remind you of what you’re chasing after.

6. You Win More as a Team

The biggest mistake I made on my journey from mess to success is trying to go it alone. Don’t hesitate to recruit others on your path to achievement.

An accountability partner can be a great way to motivate you not to quit. Join clubs with people that share similar goals. Talk to those that have already accomplished what you want. Experts in a domain often have insider tips that speed up your progress.

Seeing someone who’s achieved your goal will increase your confidence that you can do the same. Scientists have researched the “mirror neurons” in our brains that reflect the behavior of someone who is being observed.[1] If we see someone do something, our brains mirror the action, as though we can see ourselves doing it.

Have you ever joined a workout class or a hobby club and found that you could do something you never considered? We tend to step up our game to the level of our peers.

Most important of all, remember that your journey to success doesn’t have to be a lonely one. It’s more fun and fulfilling when you experience it with others. Best of luck in everything you do.

Final Thoughts

To manifest your dreams, you have to put in the work and start taking action. Your dreams will stay as dreams if you don’t act on them. Start with these 6 actionable ways to manifest your dream to turn your life around for the better.

More Tips to Manifest Your Dream

Featured photo credit: Andreea-Maria Juganaru via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Association for Psychological Science: Mirror Neurons: How We Reflect on Behavior

More by this author

Chris Tubbs

Biz Dev Leader, MBA, Marathoner, Triathlete, and Writer for Knowyourbest.com

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Last Updated on April 14, 2021

What Are SMART Goals (and How to Use Them to Be Successful)

What Are SMART Goals (and How to Use Them to Be Successful)

As a track and field runner in school, every year I would sit down with my coach and set a series of goals for the season. Once we had set my goals for the year, we would create a training plan so I could achieve those targets. This helped me answer the main question here: “What are SMART goals?”

Before I got a coach, I used to run aimlessly with no plan, no target races. More often than not, I would end up injured and find my season ending after achieving very little.

Once I got a coach, though, I started winning races that mattered and began enjoying my sport. This annual process taught me from a very early age that goals are important if I want to achieve the things that are important to me.

So what exactly are SMART goals? This article will talk about why goals matter, how to use SMART goals effectively with your time and resources, and how these goals give you a clear, specific plan that works time and time again.

Why Do People Fail to Reach Their Goals?

Setting SMART goals and achieving them

is not easy, and many people fail. A study by Scranton University found that only 8% of those who set New Year goals actually achieve them, meaning 92% who set new year goals fail[1].

The problem is that many people see goals, such as New Year resolutions, as hopes and wishes. They hope they will lose some weight, they wish to start their own business, or they hope to get a better job. The problem with “hoping” and “wishing” for something is that there is no plan, no purpose, and no time frame set for achieving the goals.

Once these hopes and wishes come face-to-face with the realities of daily life, they soon dissolve into lost hopes and wishful thinking.

Therefore, in order to really achieve something, you need a concrete goal: a SMART goal.

What Are SMART Goals?

The foundation of all successfully accomplished goals is the SMART goal.

Originally conceived by George T. Doran in a 1981 paper[2], this formula has been used in various forms ever since.

SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. It has been used by corporations and individuals to achieve their goals and objectives and is a formula that, on the whole, works well.

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Use SMART goals to help you achieve more.

    The strength of SMART goals is that they set a clear path to achieving goals, and they have a clear time frame in which to achieve them. Let’s look at the SMART criteria in a little more detail:

    Specific

    For a goal to be achievable, it needs to have a very clear outcome. What you are asking is, “What exactly do I want to achieve?” The clearer the goal, the more likely it is you will achieve it.

    For example, if you just say “I want to lose weight,” then technically you could achieve your goal just by not eating dinner for one day—you would lose weight that way, even if it were temporary.

    You need to have a more specific goal: “I want to lose twenty-pounds by the end of July this year.”

    Measurable

    To achieve anything, it’s important to have measurable goals. T

    ake the example above: “I want to lose twenty-pounds by the end of July this year.”

    It’s measurable, as all you need do is weigh yourself on 1 January, then deduct twenty-pounds from that and set that weight as the target for 31 July. Then, each week you weigh yourself to measure progress.

    Attainable

    Being attainable means that SMART goals are realistic and that you have what you need in order to achieve them.

    In our example of losing weight, 20 pounds in six months is certainly doable. Your resources could include a gym membership, some at-home weights, or simply motivation to get outside and run everyday.

    If motivation is an area where you struggle, you can check out Lifehack’s Ultimate Worksheet for Instant Motivation Boost.

    Relevant

    For any goal to be achieved, you need to set relevant goals for your unique life.

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    If losing weight is doable with the lifestyle you have, and if you believe it will lead to a happier, healthier life, then it is certainly relevant to you. It’s even more relevant if your doctor has pointed out that you need to lose weight to prevent health issues.

    Time-based

    Finally, you need a timeline. All your goals need to have an end date because it creates a sense of urgency and gives you a deadline.

    In our example of losing twenty-pounds, a timeline of six months would be specific, measurable, relevant, and would have a timeline. Furthermore, as you have what you need to achieve that goal, it is attainable—all elements of the formula for SMART goals are included.

    How to Reach a SMART Goal

    The problem I have always found with the SMART goal formula is it does not take into account the human factor. We need motivation and a reason for achieving these goals.

    If you decide to lose twenty-pounds, for example, you are going to spend many months feeling hungry, and unless you possess superhuman mental strength, you are going to give in to the food temptations.

    All SMART goals can be distilled down to three words:

    • What do you want to achieve?
    • Why do you want to achieve it?
    • How are you going to achieve it?

    When you simplify your goal in this way, achieving it becomes much easier.

    1. Visualize What You Want

    One way to make your goals achievable is to visualize the end result. When you write out your mission statement, you should be imagining what it will be like once you have achieved the goal.

    In our weight loss example, you would close your eyes and imagine walking down from your hotel room in Ibiza in July with your towel, sunscreen, sunglasses, and swimwear on. You would imagine walking past all the other sunbathers and the feeling you have, the pride in the way you look and feel.

    Try to invoke as many of the five senses as you possibly can[3].

    2. Identify Your “Why”

    If you take losing twenty-pounds as an example, once you have made the decision that you want to do this, the next question to ask yourself is, “Why?” The more personal your why, the better.

    Your why could be, “Because I want to look and feel fantastic by the pool in Ibiza this summer.” That is a strong why.

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    If your why is, “Because my doctor told me to lose some weight,” that is not a good why because it’s your doctor’s, not yours.

    One way to identify your “why” is to write your mission statement.

    To help with setting achievable SMART goals, when working with my clients, I always ask them to complete the following mission statement:

    I will [STATE GOAL CLEARLY] by [DATE YOU WANT TO COMPLETE THE GOAL] because [YOUR WHY].

    If you want to write a SMART goal for the weight loss example, your mission statement would be written: “I will lose twenty-pounds by the end of July this year because I want to look and feel fantastic by the pool in Ibiza.”

    Never write a mission statement that is full of vague words. The words you use should be simple, direct, and clear.

    3. Figure out Your “How”

    Before you can begin achieving your goal, you need to create a list of steps you can take to make it happen.

    Write down everything you can think of that will help achieve your goal. It doesn’t matter what order you write these tasks down; what matters is that you write down as many action steps you can think of.

    I always aim for around one hundred small steps. This makes it much easier to assign tasks for each day that not only moves you forward on your goal, but also keeps you focused every day on achieving it.

    Once you have your list, you can create a to-do list for the goal and allocate the steps to different days so you create momentum towards a successful outcome.

    You can learn more about how to use SMART goals to achieve success and lasting change in this video:

    Bonus: Make a PACT

    There is one more part needed to really make sure you achieve the SMART goals you set for yourself, and that is something I call PACT. PACT is another acronym meaning Patience, Action, Consistency, and Time. You need all four of these to achieve goals.

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    Patience

    Without patience, you will give up. To achieve anything worthwhile requires patience. Success does not happen overnight. Be patient and enjoy the process of stepping a little closer towards achieving your goal each day.

    Action

    If you do not take action on any goal, then even SMART goals won’t be achieved. You need to make sure you remind yourself of your goal and why you want to achieve it each day. Read your mission statement, make an action plan, and then take the necessary action to make sure you move a step closer each day.

    Consistency

    The action you take each day towards achieving your goal needs to be consistent. You can’t follow your diet program for a week and then have three weeks off. Jim Rohn said it perfectly when he said:

    “Success is a few simple disciplines practised every day.”

    Time

    Of course, you need to allow enough time between where you are today and where you want to be in the future. Be realistic about time, and don’t get disheartened if you miss your deadline. Readjust your timeline if necessary.

    The Bottom Line

    The key to success is to put everything together. When you connect all of these elements, you create an environment where achieving SMART goals becomes much more attainable.

    Whether it’s personal or business goals, when you have a strong personal “why” for your goal, your motivation to keep going stays strong.

    Start with your “why,” and then get started on the action steps that will take you all the way to the end.

    More Tips on Reaching Your Goals

    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

    Reference

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