One of the most important keys to success is imagination. It’s actually closing your eyes and seeing yourself there. Allowing yourself to stay in the moment & to take in every aspect of what your goal feels like. This may sound like wishy-washy pseudo science – but in reality it is one of the main characteristics successful people in all fields share. They can literally see themselves reaching their goals.
P.S. The picture will make sense at the end of the post – and you’ll probably laugh, or cry.
How to Set & Reach Your Goals
Setting a goal may seem basic but it’s surprisingly overlooked by people who strive for success. If you can make it through these 5 steps when setting your goals and dreaming about your future I promise your chances of actually achieving them are 1000 times better.
1. Write them down.
This is a huge part of goal setting in preparation for seeing yourself there. So few people do this when in reality it should be a religion for entrepreneurs – every few days I rewrite down all my goals in a notebook and look them over. I keep my written goals on a white board above my desk and in a moleskin that I carry with me everywhere. Writing down your goals helps you subconsciously implant them and is the first step towards ultimate success.
A Harvard Business School study once found that only 3% of the population records their goals in writing. Another 14% have goals but don’t write them down, whereas 83% do not even have clearly defined goals. More interesting is that this 3% earned an astounding ten times that of the 83% group. Source
Another Harvard study showed that the biggest usage of Facebook is men looking at pictures of women they don’t know – This has nothing to do with goal setting, but I felt like it was a creepy stat I just had to share. Source
2. Make your goals specific & measurable.
Most people say “make them short, measurable and attainable” I leave the word attainable out because I truly believe any goal that you set your mind to you can attain – with the right amount of creativity & persistence. Now don’t be a smart ass and say “Well I want to be 8 feet tall and that will never happen no matter how hard I try”, but if you did say that I’d retort with “someone else wanted to be freakishly tall and when they set there minds to it stilts were born… smart ass”.
Setting quantifiable goals that you can measure and are very specific helps greatly when you try to see yourself reaching the certain goal. The goal “I want to be rich” or “I want to be beautiful” is too generic. Here are some examples of specific, measurable goals:
- I want to be 110 pounds, have my hair touch the small of my back and have perfectly straight teeth.
- I want to have $10 million in the bank.
- I want to write a 500 page book.
- I want to start a non sucky telephone company that revolutionizes the way people talk to each other and never, ever gives them bad service (*Cough* AT&T).
3. Give yourself a deadline.
Another big problem I struggled with when I first started was saying “I want to achieve X” without any kind of time line. This is a killer of dreams and paves the way to laziness. If you have no deadline you can tweak your product for three years before you release. With no deadline there is nothing to strive after or to challenge you to push yourself further. Let’s take the examples above and add a time line to each – then the chances of you actually attaining that goal are 100 times better.
- I want to be 110 pounds, have my hair touch the small of my back and have perfectly straight teeth by the time my 10 year highschool reunion rolls around.
- I want to have $10 million in the bank by age 40.
- I want to write a 500 page book in 6 months.
- I want to start a non sucky telephone company that revolutionizes the way people talk to each other and never, ever gives them bad service (*Cough* AT&T) before the next iPhone comes out so I can actually USE it.
4. Look at your goals constantly!
Oh, whaaaw, I’m too busy to look at my goals everyday. If that is the case then you are also too busy for true success. Read and write down your goals as much as possible – I suggest once a day if you are really ambitious and once a week at the very least. Another tip I’ll share that I use so my goals are ALWAYS on my mind is to use them as my passwords, for stuff like my computer, different websites I use often, etc. This is a great way to keep your goals fresh on your mind and to help you not forget your password while your at it! Examples:
Other visual aids to help you see your goals and constantly keep them on your mind would be writing them down on a whiteboard near your desk, putting stickies with your goals on them on your dashboard or creating a collage of some sort where you look at the things you’ll have once you reach your goal i.e. 1# spot on the best sellers list, a perfect stomach, a mansion in the hollywood hills.
5. Make your goals into a routine
I strongly suggest you read David Allen’s Getting Things Done if you want to learn how to get ultimately organized and develop a routine that will greatly help you in achieving your goals. Now let me warn you – the book is somewhat tedious (or at least it was to my small brain) – but utterly worth it. If “Cliff notes” exist for it – I’d suggest those too.
You need to make sure your goals work there way into your daily life in a reinforcing way. Often this can be done by titling a to-do list in Basecamphq (I use it & LOVE it) with the name of your goal and then make “to-do’s” that are baby steps in reaching that goal.
Goal: Break up with Adam by October 1st
- Start moving my stuff out of Adam’s house
- Take him off my phone plan
- Say hi to Jason in Accounting because he’s kinda cute and may be a good rebound
- Kidnap Fluffy – mutually owned Poodle – and tell Adam she ran away, to avoid nasty puppy custody battle
- Buy Visine for fake tears when telling Adam about Fluffy
- Use previously acquired Visine for fake tears when telling Adam “It’s not you, it’s me”
So in closing, use these 5 steps to set your goals and then achieve them through constantly seeing yourself there. Spend a half an hour a day (in the morning or night work well) just laying down, playing calming music and envisioning your life when you break up with Adam.
Think of how sweet it will be to not have to wash his dirty gym shorts anymore. Envision yourself on a nice date with Jason from Accounting, possibly talking about your feelings – because you sense Jason is that sensitive, strong type. Just remember, your goals will come true when you follow these steps and envision your ultimate success… and puppy custody battles are to be avoided, trust me.