Artfully Achieving

Ever wondered how some people have everything that they dream of, while for many, it just remains a dream? Here are some tips on how to help turn your dreams into reality. Fortunately, it is not a question of genetics or luck; it is down to the thinking strategies that we use.

Understanding what is important to us

If a goal is in line with our values, we get energy and motivation that lead us towards the goal. Most of us have experienced this type of energy and motivation at some time in our lives: maybe birthdays and Christmas as children; and as Adults, buying a house, getting married or looking forward to a holiday in the sun. 

The curious thing is how little we target the use of this behaviour towards things that we want in life. It is because we spend little time working on making our goals fit, that we have such a high failure rate at achieving them. 

I am sure you have set New Year resolutions. How many of those did you achieve? What was different, I wonder, between those that you did achieve and those that you did not? I suspect that for those that you did not achieve, beneath the reason for not doing so, the cost in terms of time, money or loss of something else, was too high. 

If we have a greater understanding of our values, craft our goals in line with them, and address some of the other key areas listed here, we are rewarded with the energy and motivation to make them happen, and with ease. 

Optimise the use of our time

To optimise our time on and towards what we want, we must first gain a greater insight into what is important to us. Having done so, we must then distinguish between the activities we do that are important and urgent. 

In my experience, this is not a regularly practiced technique. Too many people are reacting, reacting to activities that are asked of them or are left to the point of being urgent. Examples of this are leaving the utilities bills to the last minute, or working under a demanding boss or in a chaotic organisation. Once understood, this essential time management technique is easy to master and is commonly taught in time management programmes. Understanding it within a greater context of achievement makes it that much more relevant to learning and putting into practice. 

Start with what you have now, with the end in mind

Having both established goals that are in line with yours, and optimised your time, you need to make a start. It is important that the start is made with the goal in mind and with a degree of realism on the resources that are available now. Delusion is the result of setting off without a realistic view of what the present situation is. And delusion soon turns to disappointment, which in turn turns to frustration, and ultimately, little or no significant progress.  At the end of the day, we only have 3 resources: energy (physical and mental), time, and money. It is key that we learn how to make optimal use of these resources. 

Meeting challenges

No amount of planning is going to cater for every eventuality. Many people consider these unplanned events to be problems that prevent progress, and give up at that point. People that achieve are not put off by these events, and are more energised by the richness of the opportunities that are enveloped in these events.  With the right mindset, the journey to achievement can be viewed as one opportunity after another to reinforce the ability to succeed. 

How we use our imaginations

All human beings are blessed with incredibly powerful imaginations. However many imagine outcomes of the future that are not going to be to their advantage. Imagining negative outcomes leads to worry, stress and fear, and drains our energy and motivation. Imagining a positive outcome of the future releases more of the energy and motivation that we need to succeed at our goals.  Fortunately, the structure that we use in our minds is the same for both negative and positive imaginations. With the right know-how, one can use the skill that generates fear into one that generates excitement and anticipation. 

Forming our goals well

When forming our goals, it is essential that we consider a number of factors; a compelling view of how things will be when we have the goal, is as important as a clear understanding of what we will lose when we have it. Many times the likely loss prevents us from achieving what we want, because we have not adapted our thinking around the loss. A prime example of this is giving up smoking: many people fail to give up because having a cigarette provides them with a valuable 5 minute break. When the break is factored into the future along with the goal, the chances of success are considerably increased. 

Believing that it is possible that that it is for us

Many people hold negative beliefs about whether the goal is achievable, whether they will ever achieve it, and even whether it is really for them. It is important to overcome these beliefs, otherwise sabotage will result. Fortunately, all these beliefs, even the ones that we develop through childhood and into the present moment, can be changed.

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