Unleash the power of goal-setting

Target with arrow and to-do list
Photo: © Serhii Vasiutin / 123RF Stock Photo

“Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines.”
~ Brian Tracy

Goals are dreams with a timeline. Most successful people have Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound (SMART) goals, which are written down and worked upon every day.

Having a big dream is not enough. Your big dream has to be broken down into small goals. Your goals are the milestones towards your dreams. By setting easy goals you are underestimating yourself. Your goals must be big enough to stretch you and be capable of taking you to a new level of success.

Have you ever made a list of priorities in life? Do you really know what you want from life? If you haven’t, it may surprise you to know that deciding what you want is often the first and the most important step to getting it. The intensity of your desire determines the probability of its happening.

A burning desire to be somebody and to do something great is the starting point from which the dreamer must take off. When you break down your dream and set a timeline to achieve it, it becomes a goal. There is a difference between wishing for something and being ready to receive it. No one is ready for anything, until he believes he can acquire it. The state of mind must be that of complete faith, not mere hope or wish.

Our brain is a goal-seeking organism. In fact, scientists now know that the brain uses its own Reticular Activating System (RAS) to filter through the millions of images, sounds, impressions and other messages we receive each day to let into our conscious mind, to hold on to only that information which we need to meet our goals.

When you decide what you want, you instruct the brain to start looking for information, resources, opportunities and other ways to achieve the ‘want’ that you’ve identified. This may sound impossible given your current circumstances but your burning desire and the intensity with which you go after it will determine whether you achieve it or not. You will be guided and directed by an invisible power, a force that will attract you towards your goal.

When you decide what you want, you instruct the brain to start looking for information, resources, opportunities and other ways to achieve the ‘want’ that you’ve identified. This may sound impossible given your current circumstances but your burning desire and the intensity with which you go after it will determine whether you achieve it or not.

There was a boy who wanted to find out the secret of success. He approached a wise man living in a hut on a mountain. He asked, “Sir, can you tell me the secret to becoming successful in life?” The wise man was silent for a while. After a moment, he led the boy to a nearby river. They kept walking further into the river until the boy’s head was fully submerged in the water. The boy struggled to keep his head above the water. To his astonishment, the wise man did not help him. Instead, he held the boy’s head under the water. After a few minutes the wise man pulled the boy out of the water and they walked back to the hut. The wise man asked the boy what he desired most when his head was submerged in water. To this, he quickly responded, “Of course, I wanted to breathe, you old man!” The wise man replied, “Son, if you desire success as much as you wanted to breathe, you will find the true secret of success.” Is your desire as intense as the desire of the boy who wanted to breathe when immersed in the water?

To help your reticular activating system begin finding out your wants in unexpected places; take time to decide what you really want in life. Forget about whether you think it’s possible for you right now. First decide what you want; how it happens will unfold as you go ahead with your plan. The law of attraction begins to work in your life as you send out your intense desire to the Universe. Soon you will find opportunities and resources that will help you reach your goal. The very act of creating in your mind a vivid and compelling picture of what you want may be the most underutilized success tool, because it greatly accelerates the achievement of any success.

Success is a matter of choice. If we have enough strong reasons, there is nothing that we cannot do. Once we have a good reason to do something, we will surely find ways to do it.

Always have specific, measurable goals with deadlines attached to them. I am not talking here about New Year resolutions, but GOALS! Let me tell you why New Year resolutions never seem to work. They are too vague, generic and non-committal. A resolution like “be a better person” will not work. To make it a powerful goal, it could be stated as, “I read one self-help book every week”, “I pay sincere compliments to the people around me”, or “I will stop complaining and criticizing others from today.”

The other reason behind the failure of resolutions is that people write them down and look at them just once. The next time they look at it (if they ever do) is one year later! In the meantime, they get so distracted by all the day-to-day demands of life that their resolutions are always shelved aside.

For goals to work, you must:

1. Write them down on a big poster. Clear and vivid images of your goals are important.

2. Stick it up all over your home, work area, computer desktop.

3. Make a public commitment by putting it up on your blog, social media platforms or telling your friends about it.

4. Read it out aloud every morning when you wake up.

5. Reflect upon it every night before you sleep.

6. Break down your goal into small action steps.

7. Take at least one step everyday, however small it is towards your goal.

8. Never give up on your goals, even if all odds are against you.

9. Celebrate your little achievements as an encouragement towards your larger goal.

10. Set newer and bigger goals when you achieve one.

Take a constructive look at your goals and, if necessary, make changes to them. This does not mean that you should compromise on your dream, but you must consider various paths to achieve it.

Most people don’t recognize the difference between wishing and believing. Very few people crystallize their wishes, desires, and hopes into beliefs, then into a burning desire, and finally into faith. No wonder only a small percentage of people become successful.

Outstanding leaders in every walk of life are those who recognize the power of their minds; they seize that power and direct it towards whatever they choose. When you take this step, the word ‘impossible’ will have no meaning for you. Everything will be possible for you, and you will manage to get it. The intensity of your desire is the most important factor in the material realization of your dream.

If we observe the career graph of successful people, we shall find that a goal in life plays an equally important role as the journey of life. Having a goal in life is journey half covered — the rest is all hard work, tenacity, persistence and perseverance.

Denny Joseph
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Denny Joseph

Denny Joseph is an International Corporate Trainer, Career Coach and a certified Neuro‐Linguistic Programme (NLP) practitioner. He is the author of Design Your Destiny and Speak With Confidence. He is the founder of Genius Minds Academy (GMA) in Bangalore and co-founder of Nexus Training International in Singapore.