Goals have the ability to create magic in our lives. A goal is a vision of the future that pulls you toward an objective.
You can sail in a ship without a rudder, but you will have little chance of getting to an interesting place. You will just sail around aimlessly wherever the wind blows, like many people do with their lives.
A specific goal (also called vision) of your destination creates a magic force that works to your advantage. You now have a rudder and can steer the moments of your life to keep you moving toward the goal. You have a much greater chance of reaching it.
Oh sure, there are going to be stormy days and nights. There will be times when there is no wind at all to propel your boat. Since you have the goal, no matter what comes up, you are always heading in the right direction. That is why goals create magic in our lives.
Brian Tracy once wrote, “People with clear, written goals accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine.” Problems are obstacles in the pathway, but they do not stop you; they teach you. Goals align the atoms and molecules to enhance your chances of accomplishing great things in your life.
With all of these advantages of goals, it is still a fact that most people do not have specific, written goals for their lives. They have dreams to do things, like a bucket list, but they miss the true power of goals. Here are 10 habits that can move you from hazy and wishful dreams to productive and powerful goals.
- Make your goals tangible
Vague goals or mental wish lists are a dime a dozen. You may have good intentions and dreams, but to really engage the magic of goals, you simply must write them down.
- Goals should represent reach
Easy goals are not powerful because you can accomplish them without effort. Pie-in-the-sky goals are also not very powerful because you may see them as impossible. To be effective, goals must be difficult to accomplish, but possible to achieve with great effort. Sometimes it is helpful to have sub-goals. These goals are a little easier to attain but they form a pathway to a major change. You can create momentum and witness progress along the path. That prevents you from becoming discouraged.
- It is better to err on the side of too great a goal than too small
Since goals pull you in the direction you want to go, having an aggressive goal is much more valuable than an easy goal. As Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.” He actually did pretty well in his time, if you recall.
- Tell other people your goals
Sharing your goals with people you respect and love has a way of legitimizing them in your mind. It also helps garner a friend’s support and creativity as you work toward your goals. “I’ll let you be in my dream if I can be in yours.” (Bob Dylan said that.)
- Refine the goals to just a vital few
Avoid having a long shopping list of goals. One or two good goals are enough. Reason: Goals help us focus critical energy on essential tasks. If you have 15 goals for the next increment of time, you will get confused and discouraged. “One solid goal is more powerful than 10 dreams.” (I said that.)
- Repeat the key goals every morning and evening
Letting your goals sit idle on the shelf like a hoary old book renders them quaint, but useless. You must engage your subconscious mind continually to consider all the things you can do to pursue your goals. The best way to do that is to make a conscious affirmation in the morning and evening.
As you restate your goals daily, you call up the power of the universe. That power helps you align your thoughts and actions to be consistent with your goals. This magic power allows a magnet-like attraction that draws you toward the things you seek.
- Form a group of people who understand and agree with your goals
Unless your goal is to be a hermit, you are better off with a Mastermind Group helping you. The concept of a Mastermind Group came from Napoleon Hill as he prepared his philosophy called “The Science of Personal Achievement.”
- Celebrate the small steps along the way
Achieving a challenging goal is often a lot of work. For most people, the work involved in achieving a worthy goal is often tedious and unpleasant. Winners gladly engage in the effort because the smell of success is so alluring.
It is wise to celebrate the baby steps on the way toward your goal. Celebration helps remind you why you are subjecting yourself to all the work in the first place.
- Enjoy the ride
The ride is really the prize. Most people think the achievement is the big deal, and they are often surprised to find out that the magic was during the struggle.
- Look back with pride
Look over your shoulder to see how far you have come. The progress is often slow enough that you do not even recognize it: like watching a child grow up. You need to remind yourself of what is really happening.
The best way I have found to do this is to list my accomplishments each year. I typically do that on New Year’s Eve. I am often blown away with the things that were accomplished that I never would have thought possible. The vast majority of them were enabled by my following the steps above.
Could I have done better? Of course! Did I do better than I thought possible? You betcha! Am I energized to do better next year? Just throw down the puck, and watch me go.
Bob Whipple is CEO of Leadergrow, Inc. an organization dedicated to growing leaders. He is author of the following books: The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, and Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind