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Learning how to achieve goals is not easy. Especially when everybody thinks their technique is the best.
About a month ago I learned of an interesting way to set and achieve goals. I have learned about setting goals for many years, all using different techniques. Some of these techniques included practices like writing goals in the present as if you’ve already achieved them, writing goals on paper and then repeating these goals a certain amount of times per day out loud.
And these goal setting techniques are great and useful but they do not get results for me for some reason.
The technique that I have learned about recently involved a little bit of mental time travel when setting up your goals.
Here is the technique.
Imagine yourself 20 years from today. Imagine how you are as a person, how you feel, where you live, and what you are doing. Let’s say you are 30 years old today. Imagine yourself as a 50 year old man or woman looking back over the last 20 years of your life. Sometimes it helps to close our eyes when doing this exercise as it will allow you to associate emotions and feelings with figuring out what you wished you would have done during those past 20 years.
As a 50 year old man or woman you’re now looking back at the last 20 years. How do you wish you would have lived your life? What practice could you have done each day in order for you to have a better life as a 50 year old person?
The key here is to think about every area of your life value would like to be different. Think about the areas of your life that you wish were the opposite of what they are now. Some examples could be things like, health, finances, family, your relationship with god, how much you are able to give in to help others. These are just some examples that are important to me but you’ll obviously can create your own examples for this exercise.
Learning how to achieve goals takes practice and the ability to tailor different strategies to me your specific needs and individual personality.
Here are a couple examples of how to achieve goals from the perspective of looking back from the future.
Money and finances
What if you would have started buying gold and silver numismatic coins over the last 20 years? What if you would have then involved and investing into a Ira account every month? How much money would you have today? Do you feel any guilt for not saving your money? Remember you are 50 years old right now. You should feel a sinking feeling in your stomach because you knew you should have saved your money but you did not.
As a 50 year old man or woman, what if you would have invested in that company or bought that house or started a fund in order to pay for your child’s college education? How does it feel to have not done those things?
The goal here is to a matching yourself as a 50 year old person or 20 years from however old you are today and think about the daily disciplines that you would need to put into practice that would allow you to live the way you want to live 20 years from now.
What if over the past 20 years you had walked regularly, lifted weights regularly, did yoga regularly, and ate a diet of healthy raw fruits and vegetables instead of processed and refined carbohydrate foods like spaghetti, pasta, cookies, cake, pastries, or anything made with white flour.
Imagine not dealing with health issues that you’re dealing with now has a 50 year old person (remember this is all a part of your thought experience looking back for the last 20 years).
Good news, you are still only 30 years old and can correct these issues now vs. looking back and wishing you could to regain the last 20 years.
One of my personal goals as to start rebounding every day for 15 minutes. Another goal I have is to start doing yoga at least three times per week. I can see myself as a 50 year old man wishing I would have rebounded for the last 30 years, or had done yoga for the last 30 years. If I do not want to feel that regret so I’m going to start making changes now in order to not feel that way.
Goals without deadlines are merely just dreams. If you do not have a deadline, your goal will never happen. Think about everything important in life that happens, happens as a result of having a goal coupled with a deadline. These are things like getting an an A on a final exam in school, meeting a marketing deadline for your corporation, or losing a certain amount of weight before your wedding day. If you do not have a deadline you have no motivating reason to work on your goals each day.
Having a deadline for your goals works best when you have a deadline that is relatively soon. This could mean something in the range of meeting that goal in the next 2 to 3 months. This will give you just enough time to build momentum and change your habits in order to get results. But it is not so far in the future, like one year, where you can easily get distracted and get discouraged because you do not see the results as quickly as you would like.
Obviously having a deadline is not going to work for the actual end result of these goals because you have 20 years to work on them. But you can set a deadline in relation to daily habits. Once you set your daily habit in to motion all it takes is time in order for you to achieve your goals.
Try setting goals that have deadlines that you must meet and the next 2 to 3 months and write down what actions you need to take each day in order to make those goals happen.
I like to use at the habit driven goals vs. results oriented goals. Result oriented goals are typically more advanced in nature. Let’s say your goal is to build more lean muscle on your body, and you are already working out regularly. In order to accomplish this goal you realize the need to eat more meat. Any results oriented goal would be focused on how much lean muscle mass you were able to put on over the next 2 to 3 months.
Result oriented goals work great for people. But you should only set these goals after you mastered the ability to change your daily habits in order to achieve those goals. So rather than having a goal of adding a certain amount of muscle mass in the next 2 to 3 months I would first master of the ability to consume a certain amount of protein each day in order to achieve that goal.
Not only our goals not achieved if there is no deadline, but goals are not achieved as you do not develop the habits on a daily basis and order to achieve those goals. If you do not have good habits you will never achieve your goals and the same way that if you do not have a deadline you’re not achieve your goals.
If you are set on setting results oriented goals, start working backwards and figure out what habits you need to change on a daily basis in order to achieve those goals, and then start making a goal to change your habits. Once you change daily habits, your goals will happen almost automatically without you even trying. In my experience it’s much easier to set and achieve habit oriented goals instead of trying to achieve results oriented goals.
The people that I see in the gym who are able to change their body the most are people that usually bring a small notebook or workout sheet with them. They are meticulously scribbling notes down during their entire workout routine. These are people that have mastered writing goals down to get results. You see these people in the gym have earned their right to be able to set results oriented and goals.
Because most people can’t even develop the habit of going into the gym on a daily basis to begin with.
If you don’t write your goals down on the computer or in a notebook it’s most likely that you’ll forget about your goals and what daily habits you need to achieve those goals.
Personally I like to write goals down, and refer to them every single day by reading them out loud or reading them silently. Then I like to figure out what daily habits I need to incorporate as a discipline in order to achieve a specific goal within a certain amount of time.
Remember that how to achieve goals that is something that is very personal and is going to a require tremendous amount of daily discipline on your part. But once you develop a habit as a lifestyle you can achieve any goal you set for yourself as long as give yourself enough time.
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