There are really only 2 ways that a person’s life will unfold. Either according to their own design and choices, or according to someone else’s design and choices.
If you don’t take the time to purposefully design the path you would like your life to take, you’ll always be pushed and pulled along by those who do take the time to design their lives. Without even knowing it, you’ll become a cog in the machine of their life plan, working to ensure their dreams come true instead of your own.
Everyone deserves a shot at creating a life they can be proud of. But there’s a process to making it happen.
1) Be Specific, Create A Deadline, And Write It Down
The first step of the process is to create a specific goal or vision for what you are trying to achieve. This can be a bit of a difficult process because a lot of times people may not even really know what they want.
But envisioning a better reality is a skill, and like any other skill, it can be developed. If you have a hard time creating a grand vision for your life that excites and motivates you, try taking one small thing you’d like to change in your life and building a specific goal around that.
Once you know what it is you want to see changed and have clearly defined it to the point where you could easily explain it to another person and have them immediately understand exactly what you’re talking about, you need to set a deadline.
There is a theory called the Pareto Principle, better known as the 80/20 rule. If you apply this principle to goal setting, it basically states that 80% of what you do will typically get done in the last 20% of the time allowed.
So if you never set a deadline for your goals and aspirations, then that 20% never arrives. You are always living in the 80% waiting for “someday”. But someday never comes… there’s only today.
If there is anything at all that you’d like to make happen in your life, you absolutely must give it a deadline, or it will never happen.
Now that you have clearly defined your goals and set a realistic deadline for accomplishing them, all you have to do to complete this step is to write it down.
Putting your goal into writing brings it out of the abstract world of your mind, and into the real world. It gives you an anchor point in reality and a sense of accountability. This is even more effective if you can share your goal with someone else who will encourage you and help hold you accountable, and who you can trust not to stomp on your dreams.
2) Look At It Every Day
The conscious mind operates like a flashlight. It’s bright and powerful, but it can only focus on one small area at a time. Our experience of reality, what we think is true, our interpretation of the events around us, are determined by what we focus that flashlight on.
At any given time there will always be bad things happening around us and to us, and good things happening around us and to us. There are always reasons to be grateful, and reasons to be discontent. Your experience of life is defined by which things you pay attention to.
The vast majority of people never learn to control their focus. It never occurs to them that they can or should. And so their focus is directed by their natural tendencies, their past experiences, how they happen to feel in the moment, etc.
And because their focus is so inconsistent, so are their emotions and their results in life. It’s chaos; and living in this state of chaos is how people end up waking up at 40 with a life they didn’t want or choose and wondering where it all went wrong.
The reason you need to look at your goals every day is because you need to constantly remind yourself of where you are going and why it’s worth the price to get there. What you focus on literally becomes your reality. So if you want a different reality, you need to direct your focus towards the things you want constantly.
3) Start With A Plan
The final step is to create a simple plan that will get you to take the first small step toward your goal right now. The world is full of people who wanted to do great things, maybe they even took the time to create specific goals, write them down and look at them every day. But then they never actually took any action.
Creating a plan gives you a jumping off point and a clear set of action steps you can take right now. Don’t take too long to design your plan. It needs to be simple, or you’ll never follow through.
And don’t worry about designing the perfect plan that will take you all the way to the finish line. This plan is simply to get you started, that’s it. No one has the foresight to create the perfect plan anyway. As you move forward, your plan will change and so will you.
But until you take action, your goals will still just be something you want to do, or wish you could do. But as soon as you take action, even if it’s just something very small, your goal now becomes something you are DOING. That’s how you step onto the path of a progressively more fully realized life. And it’s always as simple as just getting up and taking that first small step.
“What You Can Do, or Dream You Can, Begin It; Boldness Has Genius, Power, and Magic in It.” ~ Goethe
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🙂 Shawn Smith