On Your Mark, Get Set, Goal!

“The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” – Chinese proverb

The process of achieving your goals, whether personal, career or financial, can sometimes feel like a never-ending journey. In over eight years of coaching people about money, I have discovered that most persons don’t realise that getting what they want out of life is often easier than they think.

In today’s world where instant gratification is a common expectation, many people think that if the desired goal does not appear in their laps within a few months, it means that their objective is an impossible mission. This mistaken belief is the number one reason why people fail to reach their targets and continue to ‘lead lives of quiet desperation’.

Jeff Olson, personal development coach and author of The Slight Edge, confirms that the pathway to goal achievement can be a simple process, once you understand and consistently practise some straightforward steps. Here is Olson’s map for reaching the goal line of your big dream:

1. Put your dream in writing

Olson declares that envisioning, the ability to create a vivid image of something that has not yet occurred, is the most important task in goal attainment. You should be able to see the desired end as if it already existed.

However, Olson explains that formulating the picture in your mind alone is not enough to take you out of the starting gate. The key is to take your mind’s vision and make it into something tangible. “It needs to become physical; it needs to involve all your senses,” Olson asserts. You have to write down your dream on paper for it to become real.

After writing down your desire, you must make it as specific as possible by clarifying what your dream entails and when you want it to come into being. This is what transforms a dream into a goal. For example, if you want to be wealthy, write down exactly how much money you want to earn as annual income and the value of your net worth; then declare a definite timeline to realise your intention.

2.  Review your dream daily

Olson reveals that the main reason for putting your dreams in writing is that you need to look at them every day. Reviewing your goals regularly helps to remind your brain where it is supposed to go so that it doesn’t drift off, he explains.

Focusing intently on your goals will help your subconscious mind to really believe that it’s possible for them to come true. This subliminal conditioning will cause your brain to come up with strategies and possibilities that your conscious mind could never create. As Olson maintains, “a series of events starts in motion that you could never have predicted or planned to get you there.”

3. Be willing to pay the price

The reality is that you have to be willing to make sacrifices to achieve your big dreams. World champion Usain Bolt didn’t just get up one day and break the 100-metre record; he had to sweat through thousands of training hours to accomplish his incredible feat.

Olson insists that “whatever the dream, whatever the goal, there’s a price you’ll need to pay and that means something you’ll need to give up.” So if you dream of having a successful business, be prepared to sacrifice your leisure time, to put aside money instead of spending, and to keep going even when you don’t feel like it. Think realistically about your goal – what price will you have to pay for success? Are you really willing to pay that price?

4. Get started with a plan

It’s obvious that to achieve your goal you need to have a blueprint for success. What usually stops many people in their tracks is that they have a difficulty seeing exactly how their dream will be actualised.

Imagine this: you are barely making ends meet; your bills are piling up; the creditors are at the door; yet in your heart you desire to own your own house. You look despondently at your current situation, and seeing no route to your dream, you give up before you even start, thinking that it’s impossible.

Olson notes that this is where most people get thrown off course, as they think that they have to create the right plan to get them all the way to the goal. He explains that while you have to start with a plan, this first plan is most likely not the one that will see you all the way to the end. “The point is to simply come up with a plan that will get you out of the starting gate.”

To reach the end of the race, you have to start it. However, many people remain on their marks, too paralysed by fear and uncertainty to move when they hear the starter’s gun. Although you may not have all the answers, get started with what you can do now. Continuously review your progress and make necessary adjustments to your game plan, while keeping your focus on your dream.

See you at the finish line!

Copyright © 2009 Cherryl Hanson Simpson.

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