How taking practical and actionable steps towards your goals can make them a reality.
What’s your end game? What are you doing all this for?
Is your ultimate ambition to be an estate agent until they carry you out in a box? Or do you have something else you want to be? A dream?
I speak to a lot of estate agents. I often ask, “What’s your goal?” and I’m surprised at how many just don’t have a clue. Sometimes a little digging can work. An agent the other day told me he loved being creative, and spent his very limited free time sculpting and doing amateur dramatics. Another lady told me she wants to sell up and move to France and be an immoblier.
If you don’t have a clear vision of what you want your future to look like, you’re certainly not alone. But a concrete goal can really help you get through those tough times at work; conversations with unreasonable vendors, carrying out difficult performance reviews and dealing with the day-to-day detritus of running a busy office, all become much easier to bear when you have a clear goal to aim for.
In a previous post, I wrote about my FOCUS Strategy. In it, I shared some tactics to help you to get more done and really focus on the stuff that actually matters. It’s much easier to do this when you know your WHY – something I also wrote about here.
Have you ever written down your goals?
The actual act of writing them down on a regular basis – ideally, daily – can help your brain create new synapses and stimulate it to work on your goals all the time, in the background, so that your subconscious actually helps you to achieve them.
Here are my five steps to achieving your goals, and creating the future you really want:
1. Form a clear image of the outcome you want – I find ladies in particular, tend to enjoy creating a vision board: a big piece of cardboard or a noticeboard with lots of photos and images of the life they want for themselves. You can put anything you want on it: car, house, travel, a hobby, a monetary goal. The visual element really helps to get your brain locked onto your goals and gives you a better chance of achieving them. If you feel this just isn’t you, then buy a nice notebook and write your goals down in there. Framing them in words will help them seem more achievable, and get your brain locked onto your ultimate aims.
2. Create positive pressure – some of your goals may be large, and distant. It really helps to divide your big goals up into little ones. So if a goal is to live abroad for half the year, every year, then perhaps you can start taking extended holidays in the near future. Or if you really want to run the London Marathon, how about setting yourself an interim goal of a local 10k run? Giving yourself smaller, easier to achieve goals will keep you on track for your big goals, without feeling overwhelmed.
3. Add a timeline – you need to tell your brain when you want your goals to happen, otherwise they remain just dreams. Add a date, and it becomes something to work towards. NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) practitioners encourage people to write their goals as if they have already happened, working on the basis that the brain cannot distinguish between something imagined and reality. (You only have to watch a YouTube video of those teens on impossibly high structures in Russia to get the same vertigo feeling as if you were there.) So a goal could be written like this: “It is 1st May 2020 and I am sitting on the balcony of my gite in the French Pyrenees, eating croissants.” By adding as much detail as you can, including how you actually managed to achieve the goal, you will create a pathway in your brain and increase the likelihood of making your dream a reality.
4. Do something every day – work on your goals and dreams every single day. Even if it’s just looking at a website, or telling someone new about your goal. Experts tell us that if we do something every day for 21 days, it becomes a habit that is easier to continue than to break. So make a commitment to do something, no matter how little, to work towards your goal every single day for the next 21 days and beyond.
5. Pursue your goal with passion and determination – you are the keeper of your own dreams. Only you can make your goals happen; no one else can do it for you. Don’t be afraid to be open about your dreams: tell people, share them with your family, and enjoy the journey; the pursuit of happiness is just as important – if not more so – than getting to the destination.
People are often afraid to share their dreams, in case someone laughs at them. I sometimes get funny looks and remarks when I share one of mine, but I’ll follow my own advice, be brave and share it with you here!
I’ve always wanted to own a narrowboat. Since I was a little girl, I’ve been fascinated by them, and the life lived on the water. I’ve followed the five steps above and I’m confident that one day I will make it happen. Here’s how these five steps are working for me:
1. Form a clear image of the outcome you want – I have a goal book, in which I have photos of narrowboats and boat life. I also have a Pinterest board called Messing About on the River full of images I love.
2. Create positive pressure – I can imagine what it will feel like to own my boat, and my future plans guide my present purchases. When I’m tempted to buy a book, for example, I think of how little space I will have on my boat and buy a Kindle book instead!
3. Add a timeline – I have a concrete timeline that I have written down with dates, and I’m determined to make it happen in that timeframe.
4. Do something every day – I have subscribed to a narrowboat magazine, visit my local canals and chat to the boat owners, and even go and look at narrowboats to buy. This keeps the goal fresh in my mind.
5. Pursue your goal with passion and determination – I’ve told my friends about my goal, and now I’m telling you! I’m excited about achieving my dream to live on the river one day, and that excitement keeps me focused and determined.
I’d love to know what your goals are. If you’re shy about sharing them here in the comments, please, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and take the first step towards making your dream a reality.
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