Using Goals to Guide Your Life
Goals can be very helpful in guiding your life toward your dreams. I suppose you might believe that goals aren’t very useful because many people never achieve their goals. However, part of the purpose of this blog is to help you select and achieve your goals.
This post has three main parts. First, it shows some of the benefits of goals. Then it helps you select suitable goals. Finally, it helps you attain your goals.
The benefits of goals
Goals have many benefits. They give direction to your life. Goals can take you from where you are to where you want to be.
Goals can increase your self-confidence and expand your comfort zone. They can bring new meaning to everyday life. They can help you exploit opportunities that appear with changes in technology or the economy. They can help you get out of a rut.
If you feel you have no future, goals can give you a future. If you have had failures in life, that doesn’t matter. Failures only show where you lacked suitable skills or didn’t feel excited by the activities.
Choosing meaningful goals
A goal is a statement of something to be achieved. This statement should be clear, definite, and compelling. The goal should be both doable and desirable. It should give you excitement and pleasure. It should be worth the effort, expense, and risk needed to pursue it. If your goal doesn’t meet these requirements, then you likely won’t achieve it or even attempt it.
When choosing your first few goals try for ones that you can achieve easily and rapidly. These early successes will increase your self-confidence and encourage you to try for goals that are more important.
To help you further in selecting worthwhile goals, here are some leading questions to ask yourself:
- What do I want out of life?
- How can I put my abilities to best use?
- What things do I most enjoy doing?
- What were the happiest times in my life?
- What accomplishments have given me the most satisfaction?
- What goals can I accomplish with my existing capabilities and resources?
The answers to the above questions should help you in selecting goals to improve your life.
Achieving your goals
This is the key to using goals improve your life. You actually have to achieve them. Therefore, I am giving you two very powerful methods that will help you achieve your goals.
1. Selecting mileposts and deadlines — If you aren’t used to achieving goals, you probably need something to encourage you every so often. This method uses mileposts and deadlines to remind you of what needs to be done and when it should be completed.
A milepost is simply a way to divide a task into smaller pieces. Then you can set a deadline to show when you should reach each milepost. As an example, here is a simple way to divide a task into three portions.
The first portion would be all the research and other preparation work required before actually starting the main task. This would include listing the expected results or benefits from completing the task.
The second portion would be the main task itself. If this task has several stages, you may choose to make the completion of each major stage into an additional milepost.
The third portion would be any final activities required after you have completed the main task. For example, you may want to verify that the desired results or benefits of the task have been obtained.
After selecting and recording appropriate mileposts and deadlines, you need to monitor the task to make sure that you are reaching these mileposts by their deadlines.
2. Visualizing your achievement — A visualization is a guided daydream. You decide what is to happen, and then you see it played out inside your mind. As this daydream unfolds, allow yourself to feel the excitement and pleasure of the activities involved in achieving your current goal. The repetition of this visualization, along with your intense feelings, helps condition your subconscious mind to accept this new reality.
You first need to create scenes to use for the visualization. These scenes should show you working on your current goal, achieving the goal, and enjoying its benefits. (Note: this is one reason to choose goals that give you excitement and pleasure.) The more details and intense feelings you can think of the better.
Now close your eyes and go into the visualization. See the actions, feel the emotions. Let yourself laugh or smile if appropriate. Continue with this visualization for several minutes.
This exercise should help you to keep working toward your goal. It should also help your subconscious mind believe that you are capable of achieving the goal.
Repeat this visualization three times a day for two weeks. Then use it once a day until the idea of achieving your goal and having a better life feels normal.