How to Set Goals (& Actually Achieve Them!)
Do you know how to set goals in a way that actually allows you to achieve them?
People often miss the importance of positive focus, specificity and repetition in their goal-setting.
The more specific we are about we want and the more we repeat our vision from a state of positivity, the more we allow ourselves to align with the positive outcomes we want.
Science has shown this in many ways. For instance, the neural connections in your brain actually change based on what you think and what you focus on. The more you focus on a particular thought, the more “hardwired” your brain becomes around that thought.
This isn’t just spiritual “woo woo” business. Your neural connections actually shift and change when you change the kind of thoughts you think regularly.
This is why skills become easier with practice. When we focus on a particular task, the first few times we do it is challenging. However, the more we focus on and practice this task, the easier it becomes. In time, our brains become hardwired for a task. What was once very difficult now flows without any effort whatsoever.
The same is true for our goals. At first, when we focus on a goal it may look insurmountable and very difficult. We haven’t practiced the thought, so we see lots of limitations on how that thought will come through to fruition. It’s like trying to ride a bike for the first time; it’s clumsy and a little fearful.
However, the more we practice the thought of our goal, the more our brain becomes hardwired to focus on how the goal may become a reality. With repetition, suddenly new ideas on how to achieve our goal come into focus. With repetition, we find that we suddenly begin to act more in line with the action necessary to achieve the goal we have.
This is why people who set goals and focus on them achieve more in life.
So, with this being said, I’d like to share with you a few goal setting measures I have found over the years that work very well for me. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
1.Identify the positive form of what you want.
Please note, I have stated for you to identify what you want, NOT what you don’t want. Often, people’s goals are phrased in the negative rather than in the positive, and this can have unfortunate consequences.
When you focus on what you do not want, you unconsciously bring it to fruition. The mind just doesn’t take into consideration words like no, don’t and not.
For instance, if I tell you NOT, under any circumstances, to imagine a unicorn with a purple horn, what happens? Your mind immediately goes to a unicorn with a purple horn, doesn’t it?
So, for this reason, it is always important to identify what you want. Avoid setting goals that focus on what you don’t want (like “I want my pain to go away,” or “I want to get out of debt”).
So, what do you want? Is it a loving relationship, a fulfilling career, a strong healthy body or extra abundance in your life? Identify the positive version of what you want first and foremost.
Focusing on your desires rather than your fears is of paramount importance. Always be asking yourself: does this goal focus on what I actually want?
2. Get specific.
Another important step in goal setting is specificity.
A lot of times people are very vague about what they want. Unfortunately, vague focus leads to vague results. If there is something you specifically want, be sure to identify the specifics that are important to you.
For example, maybe you want a new house. What color would you like your house to be? How big would you like it to be? What kind of a yard would you like to have? Is there a neighborhood you’d like to live in? Let your mind go wild and really imagine what your preferences would be.
Another thing that is important in goal setting is to get specific about your timetable. When do you want this goal by? Next week? Two months? A year?
Pick a time that you would be pleased to have your goal by, but that you believe is long enough for you to achieve your goal. It’s important to give yourself enough comfortable space to believe you have time to achieve.
I mention this because sometimes people decide they want it NOW, but unfortunately NOW is unbelievable and therefore just too limiting. So give yourself enough space to be comfortable in achieving your goal. Again, we want you to be positively-focused.
3. Hardwire your brain with repetition.
Now that you’ve identified your specific goal and a desirable (but comfortable) timetable to achieve it, repetition can be a very useful tool you can use to your advantage.
Here’s a repetition idea you may find useful:
Get some index cards, or some slips of paper and write down your goals. Look over your “goal cards” when you wake up in the morning and before you go to sleep.
While rehearsing your goals, allow yourself to focus only on possibility rather than logistics. Your rehearsal time is a time to imagine, rather than a time to “figure it all out.” Your only goal during rehearsal time is to practice the vision to allow your mind to wrap itself around your goal.
Here’s how I recommend writing your goals. Follow a template like this:
“I will have my new home by September 20, 2017.”
“My body will be lean and strong by October 31, 2017.”
“I will travel to Greece and visit the Parthenon by August 11, 2018.”
Keep your goals affirmative, to the point, and give them a realistic, but desired, deadline. When you rehearse your goals in the morning and in the evening, dwell on each goal and remember all of details you conjured in step 1. Feel free to add more to the picture if you feel inspired to do so.
Related Article: How to Manifest Big Things in 4 Steps
4. One last suggestion.
As a final suggestion, I want to mention how to deal with likely initial negativity. At first, your mind may come up with lots of reasons “why” you can’t have your goal. Sometimes people become derailed and concerned by very normal thoughts that pop up like this:
“It’s too expensive.”
“I don’t know how to do that.”
“My husband isn’t going to like that one bit.”
These negative thoughts are to be expected as a normal part of the process, so it’s ok if they pop up at first! Make peace with the fact that the first few rehearsals will probably seem difficult to be positive, but that’s ok. Again, a new thought will feel a bit uncomfortable before it is hardwired.
So initially, it really helps to remember it isn’t your job during your goal rehearsing to figure out how anything is going to be done. All you are doing is hardwiring your brain to get used to the goal. Once your brain is used to the goal, you will start attracting the ideas and the action you need to make your dream a reality.
As time goes on, it will become easier to think about your goal and feel positive. Do yourself an extra favor and make sure to put yourself into a positive state before reading over your goals. If you feel frustrated or irritated, it may help to do a quick meditation before rehearsing or pick another time that feels better to practice. Do what you can to feel good before sifting through your goals for optimal success.
I hope you enjoy these tips on how to set your goals and achieve them. If you have any other useful tips to share, comment below!
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