Having accepted personal responsibility for our own lives, the next step in taking control of them is to identify and develop a set of clear goals.
Clear goals are essential to building the life we want, rather than settling for the one we've grown into. They will provide direction and motivation and, if well formed, they can literally transform our lives.
As human beings we are naturally goal-orientated. To some degree we are setting goals all the time - when we write a shopping list, for example. When we fill out a pools coupon we acknowledge that we also harbour a whole host of vague wishes and desires that will only come to fruition if fate intervenes. However, setting a clear set of “Life Goals" is a more serious and focused endeavour altogether - and can be quite a daunting task. No surprise, then, that many of us shy away from the task of setting such challenging goals. This is particularly true if we've tried and failed in the past and it didn't feel good!
However, once we begin to explore our innate goal-setting capabilities, we discover that there's help at hand. It soon becomes apparent just how keen our own subconscious mind is to help us out. Designed to foster our psychological health and growth, whilst working constantly to keep us safe, our subconscious mind can be a stalwart companion as we tackle the task of building the life we want.
Our brains are programmed to look out for what is important to us and once we have a clear goal our sub-conscious mind is always on the alert - looking out for opportunities to move us closer to it. We begin to notice things that would have passed us by had we only had a vague idea of what we wanted. An obvious example of our brains working in this way is when we decide to buy a new car. Suddenly it seems that there are huge numbers of cars just like the one we are interested in buying. Of course they have always been there, but our brain just filtered them out as unimportant until we became serious about our goal.
The greater clarity we can bring to the business of defining our goals, the more likely we are to get what we want - especially if we add a healthy dose of determination to the equation. People who achieve great things have often failed over and over again - but have flatly refused to allow setbacks to deter them from their path. They kept going until they found a way that was successful. Where many of us would have given up, they kept the aim in mind and continued to look for new ways to make it happen. Determination and creative thinking of this kind are two of the major keys to success!
Just like the individuals mentioned above, we need to always keep our overall goal in mind and if the outcome of our actions isn't what we wanted or expected, we need to view this as valuable learning rather than an excuse to give up. We've simply learned one more method that doesn't work, and one that, therefore, is not worth repeating. Hence, we need to change our approach and try again - and keep on trying until we find a way that works. After all, if we were driving home tonight and the road was blocked we wouldn't just give up trying to get home. We'd look for another way and keep trying until we made it. Had Thomas Edison not shown such resolve, he would never have invented the light bulb! He discovered literally dozens of ways that didn't work!
Sadly, in its over-enthusiasm to keep us safe, our subconscious mind does not always work to our advantage. The process of establishing goals can often help us to identify and confront precisely what's preventing us from having what we want in life. As mentioned earlier, many of us have limiting beliefs and a tendency towards negative self-talk. These factors can subconsciously sabotage our efforts to change. By working towards clear goals, reflecting on what is moving us forward, and identifying what is not working for us, we can really begin to understand how we undermine our own efforts to take control of our lives.
Most of us are completely unaware of our true potential. We set our sights based on our environment and experiences to date. However, the past is only a good predictor of the future if we keep behaving in the same way. In essence, “If you keep on doing what you've always done, you'll keep on getting what you've always got!"
By exposing ourselves to new behaviours, new ideas, new contexts, and new experiences we can gradually transform our beliefs about what we are capable of. We can achieve things that we might previously have believed impossible for us. It's amazing but true - we allow our self-limiting beliefs to dictate what we allow ourselves to want and expect. If we don't think we can achieve it, we won't go for it! Until Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile, everyone thought it was impossible - especially his competitors. Once they'd seen it was possible, they too believed and then achieved! Try turning the maxim that ‘seeing is believing’ on its head - try believing it today so that you might see it tomorrow! History is littered with examples that what we believe is true. As Henry Ford once famously said, “Whether you believe that you can, or that you can't - you're absolutely right!"
I wonder what you're capable of? - do you?
In the next chapter I'll go into greater detail about how to develop a powerful set of goals and how to begin using them to transform your experience of life.
"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal. " (Henry Ford)
Anth Quinn has been described as the best-kept secret in Personal Development; he is a straight talking champion of everyday people and despite developing a loyal following of over 10,000 readers he managed to avoid publicity.
He says that he finally stepped up to right what he saw as fundamental flaws in much of the personal development industries and he became determined to do something about this.
Despite a massive amount of good information out in the market place Anth says that most people never make long lasting positive changes in their life. Why is this? Well, he says almost every personal development guru is missing a fundamental piece of the puzzle, and it's not what you think!!
You can check out his blog at http://www.anthquinn.com
and his free “daily action tips" at http://www.empiricalcoaching.com/takecontrolFDT.htm