We’ve all heard that most New Year’s Resolutions get ditched quicker than a guy expressing his undying devotion on a first date.
People tend to make glorious life-changing plans, then quickly settle into the same old routine they engaged in the year before. Of course, this leads to frustration, self-doubt and can even feed into a sense of perpetual helplessness as our goals crumble right before our very eyes.
Since nobody wants to live that way, and would rather see their goals met to build a sense of success and purpose, I thought I’d share a few, somewhat esoteric pieces of advice on how to make and set goals. While I won’t be delving deep into mysticism and magic, the advice I’m about to share comes from the latest cutting-edge research in schools of thought such as neuro-linguistic programming, the Hawaiian style of Huna, and from the Law of Attraction camp.
As I mentioned in my first article here on GirlsChase, you need a goal — even a destination — in order to calibrate whether you're moving closer to attaining it, stagnating, or moving farther away. So, consider this article a brief workshop on how to create proper goals, as well as an expansion of my earlier writings on the topic.
There are basically three steps involved in order to create attainable goals and do the inner work that is necessary to see them successfully blossom into reality:
Step One: Create SMART Goals
A tool often used in therapeutic and educational settings, SMART is an acronym for the kinds of goals that are designed to actually help you meet them, rather than those that possess a vague ambiguity leaving no benchmark for success. The acronym stands for:
- Realistic, and
For example, a poorly-constructed goal would be “I want to gain muscle mass.” While the goal itself is admirable and will definitely help you live a healthier lifestyle, it’s not specific, and you have no idea where the end zone actually is. How will you know when you’ve truly accomplished it? How will you know when you've actually built the male body you desire for yourself?
Let’s run it through our SMART acronym, and see if it meets the criteria:
Is it Specific? Not really.
Is it measurable? Yes; you’ll know you’ve put on mass if you weigh more in the future than you do right now.
Is it attainable? Sure.
Timed? No, you’ve given yourself no deadline, which means you have no structure by which to keep yourself accountable.
It meets some of the criteria, but the most well-constructed goals meet all of them. So, with that in mind, let’s create a weight-gain goal that adheres to our new criteria for success.
Instead of “I want to gain mass,”
let’s change it to “I will gain 15
pounds by December 1st, 2014.”
Attainable? If we look at research about healthy weight gain, then yes—this falls into an acceptable range.
Timed? Yes, we have a deadline—December 1st, 2014.
This newly-worded goal meets all the criteria for success, so with that in mind, let’s move forward to…
Step Two: Create the Right Affirmation Around Your Goal
Creating affirmations is something that many people don’t get quite right. Looking at yourself in the mirror and chanting “I will gain weight, I will gain weight!” doesn’t quite capture the essence of how to do this properly.
The reason is that, when you word a goal in such a way that it’s “somewhere in the future,” it creates a distance between you and your goal. That’s not what you want; you want the goal as close to you as possible. Furthermore, when you put it “out there,” it remains elusive and cannot affect you in the only place and time it must: Here and Now.
To create an affirmation to the best possible effect, it must be worded as if you already have it. This not only trains your mind to accept the good things coming your way, but also allows you to get a taste of the pleasure that accomplishing your goal will bring. This is hugely important, since pleasure is our primary motivation for many of the things we pursue in life. When you train your mind to feel pleasure at the thought and image of accomplishing your goal, you are motivating yourself on a far deeper level. In the deepest core of who you are, you will want to move towards that pleasure in a way that saying “I will gain weight… someday, somehow” can never quite capture.
So, with that in mind, let’s create an effective affirmation around our goal: “Here I am, on December 1st, 2014, weighing 15 pounds more than I weighed this time last year.”
Before we continue, just close your eyes and repeat each affirmation in your mind: “I will gain 15 pounds by December 1st,” and “Here I am, on December 1st, weighing 15 pounds more than I did last year.” Say each one a few times in your mind.
Which feels better to you?
To maximize the effect of the latter, let’s flesh it out a little more and create a story around our new affirmation. We want the story to be one of success, full of things that make us feel great about the hard work we did to accomplish our goal, as well as imagining all the incredible things that having accomplished it will bring into our lives.
Maybe something like…
“Here I am, on December 1st, 2014, weighing 15 pounds more than I did this time last year. This goal was easy to accomplish, since I worked so hard for it. I learned about nutrition, I learned about exercise, and since I also pursue my goals with dedication, it came as easily to me as everything else I’ve gone after in life with such gusto. When I look at myself in the mirror, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for this journey, because I look absolutely fantastic. I look the way I’ve always wanted to, and people come up to me everyday and tell me how great I look since I’ve gained all this muscle. I’m attracting more people, effortlessly, and they compliment me on my appearance all the time. It feels amazing to know that after the work I put in, I have accomplished so much for myself and allowed myself to live the life I’ve always wanted.”
Now THAT, my friends, is one hell of an affirmation. For the best effect, involve as many senses as you can, as I did in the example above:
- How will you look?
- What will people be saying to you?
- What will you be telling yourself?
- And most importantly, how awesome does it feel?
When you… imagine all the success you’ll have as a result of attaining this goal… and really create that imagery in your mind, involving as much sensory information as possible, you’ll begin to feel incredible and this will motivate you more than any exercise coach yelling at you to do 5 more reps.
And with that in mind, let’s end this guide with the third and final step:
Step Three: Visualize Your New Reality, Twice a Day
While I encourage you to say your entire affirmation while looking at yourself in the mirror, feeling all these incredible feelings and really getting pumped up about how great your life is once you’ve hit your mark, I also encourage you to do this with your eyes closed at times. With your eyes closed, it will really allow you to visualize every little detail of what your life looks like now:
- What does your body look like?
- What do the people look like who tell you how great you look?
- What do their voices sound like?
- How do their eyes move as they look at your new figure?
Here’s the secret: Your brain doesn’t know the difference between reality and imagination.
When you make this goal and its achievement your reality, your mind will begin to vibrate on this level and will create the environment for you that allows it to be attained. It will do this to “close the gap” between current circumstances and what it now believes to be its reality.
I know this can sound "woo-woo" to those who have never studied and tried this stuff, so I encourage you to do this for at least a month before you make up your mind. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Give yourself some time to ‘acclimatize’ to it before jumping to a conclusion.
Twice a day is best, and your mind is most “open” right when you wake up (when it’s still trying to figure out what’s real and what’s a dream), and right before you go to bed (when it’s getting ready to assimilate all its new information from the day into your reality).
For that reason, I would encourage you to repeat your affirmation a few times in the mirror just as you wake up in the morning, and to visualize your new reality as you go to sleep each night. Really believe it. Train your mind to understand this is who you are, and what your life looks like.
Your mind will fill in the gaps for you and keep you motivated more than any other “goal-setting” system I’ve ever come across. Whether this sounds crazy to you or not, do give it a try for at least a month and, with an open mind, just see what starts to happen when you begin this coming New Year with a new way of going about getting everything you deserve in life.
New Year’s 2014: A Recap
So to recap what we've learned so far, let's take for granted that most people do not wind up accomplishing the goals they set in the beginning of a New Year. Those that want to, can find themselves taking extra steps, and really putting in the inner and outer work necessary to meet their goals in order to improve their lives.
Those extra steps are:
Word your goals correctly (which trains your mind to think of them properly, given the positive effect of language on thinking).
Create affirmations "as if" your goals are already true. Create an entire story around what your life is like now that you have achieved your dreams.
Visualize your new reality, twice a day— once in the morning, once at night.