How Setting Goals Plays a Huge Part in Achieving Them

The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.

–Denis Watley

It sounds a little ridiculous at first, doesn’t it?  I always had problems logically connecting the act of setting a goal to the act of achieving it.  I often read in books that setting goals would be a major part in achieving what I wanted in life; achieving success.

But how is that possible?  Setting a goal is merely the act of deciding exactly what you want to achieve and where you want to go.  It doesn’t (appear to, anyway) bring you any closer to achieving that goal.  If your goal is to one day own a giant yacht, setting your goal doesn’t make half the funds you need to purchase the yacht appear in your bank account.  So how does it help?

The truth is that I don’t really know how it works.  I would imagine it’s just that your mind is an incredibly powerful tool, and it’s a tool that we as a species don’t use as often as we should.  And that setting a goal is the equivalent to putting your destination address into a GPS.  You tell it where you want to go, and it handles everything in between.

Setting your destination

Setting goals is more than just saying that you want to be rich, or that you want to travel or that you want a big house, or you want to live in a forest, etc., etc.  When you set a goal, you want to be as specific as you can possibly be.  Setting broad goals doesn’t give your mind enough to work with.

For instance: Let’s say you have this goal of being rich.  Being rich isn’t truly a goal, because being ‘rich’ is subjective.  What, to you, entails being rich?  Is it $100,000 of income a year?  Is it a million dollars of income a year?  10 million?  100 million?  Only you can decide what ‘being rich’ is!

So your first step in setting your goal of ‘being rich’ would be to determine how much money you would need to be ‘rich’.  If you don’t know, then there’s a very easy way to find out.  Search around for all the things in your life that you would love to have or do, but that would require a lot of money.  Want to go on a trip to Japan every year?  Well you need to know how much that’s going to cost.

Want to travel the world?  Go on cruises?  Own your own boat?  Skydive?  All of those things cost money, and so you should research exactly how much they cost a year.

Do you go to the grocery store and ever avoid buying items because they’re not in your budget, or you simply think they’re not worth the money?  What if you had the money to spend anyway?  How much would you need to buy everything you wanted every month?  How much money would that work out to a year?

You know that Mercedes-Benz you’ve been drooling over?  Well that’s going to cost money too, and the more extravagant your taste, the more it’s going to cost.  (Don’t let this limit you though; remember, you’re setting goals.  You don’t have to put limits on yourself because of what you think is ‘realistic’.  Whatever you dream is what is realistic.)  You should do some research on the car.  Go to the website, find out how much it costs.  If you were to finance it, how much would it cost you a year?  How much would you need to maintain the car?  (Higher end vehicles cost more to be regularly maintained, and often will only take premium grade fuel.)

Do the same thing with your house.  How big do you want it to be?  Where do you want to live?  How much land do you want to have around you?  What amenities do you want nearby?  How much is it going to cost to heat? To cool? How much tax will you have to pay?  How much will your mortgage be per year?

Think of everything you’ve ever wanted, find out how much it would cost you to live that dream lifestyle per year and then add everything together.  Write that number down.  That figure you have sitting in front of you is your future yearly income.  That number is what it means to you to be rich.

This is all part of taking your dreams seriously, which is also a big part of success.  By taking what you want seriously– that is, doing the research, finding out what it would actually cost and deciding, specifically what you want; this communicates very clearly to your mind what it should be working towards.

To simplify, bring it back to thinking of your mind as a sort of Global Positioning System.  When you’re setting your destination, you can’t just type in ‘That movie theatre I like’.  The GPS won’t be able to take you there, because you’re not being specific enough.  You need to type in the exact street, and the exact address in order for the GPS to know where you want to go.  After you’ve done that, it will take you there without a problem.

After you’ve set the destination…

You’ll be surprised at how things suddenly seem to fit into place or come to you.  It’s honestly one of the strangest things I’ve ever experienced.  You’ll start to have ideas that you would never have had before and they’ll seem like the perfect solution, or the best next step towards what you want.

It still takes time, though.  Don’t expect to set your goal to be ‘rich’ and be swimming in all the money you could ever dream of within a month.  It’s probably not going to happen.  It takes time.

The most important thing you need to know after setting your goals and being specific is that you must, must, must take action. Like a GPS, all your mind can do is tell you where to go.  You are the one that has to actually go there.

Sometimes you’re going to have ideas that seem ridiculous to you.  If you’re looking to get rich you might suddenly have a genius business idea that you think would probably make a lot of money.  Selling the self-cleaning carpet, for example.

Then, if you’re anything like myself and 98% of the rest of humanity you’re probably going to dismiss that thought just as soon as you have it.  You’ll justify it by saying that you have no experience in business, you don’t know how to make the product, you don’t know how to manufacture or market it.  You’ll come up with a million reasons as to why it won’t work in the span of ten seconds, and then never think about it again.

If you’re serious about achieving your goals, take those ideas seriously.  Those ideas are your brain telling you what you should do in order achieve what you want.  Again, don’t worry about how you’re going to do it all.  Things will work themselves out so long as you’re moving towards your goal.  The important thing is that you take action now.

If you have that genius self-cleaning carpet idea, follow through.  Find out if it’s already been made.  Find out what it would take to build.  Find out how you would market it and get it out to people.  You’ve got a world of information at your fingertips with the Internet, so make use of it.

If you deal with things one at a time, instead of trying to tackle the whole problem at once, you won’t get overwhelmed and you will achieve your goal.

Set the goal, take action and it will become a reality.  It works every single time, no matter how long it takes. (And sometimes it takes a long time, so be prepared for that.)  Anyone who is or has been successful can vouch for that.

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