Goal Setting Isn’t Your Enemy
Goal Setting Isn’t Your Enemy
What would you really want from life if you were absolutely, positively certain you would get it?
This is the question that Keith Ellis, author of The Magic Lamp: Goal Setting for People Who Hate Setting Goals, suggests you ask yourself to discover what your goals really should be.
If you’re like most people, you’ve tried goal-setting in the past. Maybe you wrote your goals in list form or bought a certain type of calendar and flipped through reams of worksheets trying to narrow your goals. While these measures work wonderfully for some, others struggle with not only setting goals but also reaching them.
In fact, repeated failure to reach your designated goals—whether they’re unspoken or illustrated on a vision board—may have you cursing the entire idea of goal-setting and writing it off as something that works for other people but not for you.
But Ellis advises you to slow down and think of goals in a new way. He challenges readers to simply get in touch with what they wish for in life. Asking yourself the question in the first sentence above is a great way to start. Then Ellis suggests asking yourself, What would I really want to accomplish in life if I were absolutely, positively certain I would do it?
Once you write out answers to both questions, “you’ve just created your first honest-to-goodness wish list,” Ellis says.
Fulfill Your Purpose
Before you can receive or achieve your wishes, you’ve got to get in touch with your purpose. “The people who are most successful at making their wishes come true are the people who know who they are and what they want,” the author states. “They choose wishes that help them fulfill their purpose in life.”
So spend a little time homing in on your purpose in life. Sound difficult? Ellis says defining your purpose is as simple as looking at what you enjoy and then deciding what you want your purpose to be. Write a mission statement if you want, and then select the wishes from your list that help you fulfill that purpose.
Ellis shares his simple trick for prioritizing wishes—or anything else. Compare only two things at the same time. Don’t look at your wish list and try to prioritize them all at once. Compare the first two items. Which one is most important to you? Take the winner and compare it to the next item, and continue until you’ve got your top priority. Label that No. 1. Then start over until you’ve compared two items at a time and come up with a winner; this is No. 2 in your prioritization.
Make It Presentable
Focus on your No. 1 priority wish. Then, Ellis says, make it presentable—to yourself. “Don’t just make a wish. Make it presentable. The power of your wish comes from the way you present it to your conscious and subconscious. If you present it effectively, you will harness the genie-like power of your mind and cause your wish to come true.”
How you think of your wish will shape how you think of the actions necessary to achieve it. How you think of those actions influences whether or not you carry them out regularly.
There a few keys to making consistent progress on your wishes. Ellis suggests that you be as specific as possible and do the following:
- Track your progress. “If you don’t know what you want, how will you know when you get it? For that matter, how do you know you don’t already have it?”
- Avoid ambiguity. “If you say, ‘I wish for either A or B,’ then your mind can’t tell which alternative you want it to focus on, so it won’t focus on either. But if you concentrate on a single specific wish, you free your mind to act without restraint or confusion.”
- Focus your brainpower. “When you’re specific about what you want, you alert your brain to notice all the people, information and resources that can help you cause your wish to come true.”
- Set a deadline. “A wish without a deadline is just an idle daydream, with no beginning and no end.”
Of course, your wishes need to be things you can actually control (for example, you could reach a goal of saving 10 percent of your income, but because of factors beyond your control, you might not achieve a goal of earning 15 percent the year after you invest that money in stocks).
Ellis suggests working on wishes that help you become a better person or create goodness in the lives of others; these types of wishes are self-motivating. When you falter—and everyone does from time to time—thinking of your greater purpose will help you keep going. And you will need to work toward your goals consistently to achieve them.
So go ahead, make a wish. Then go make it happen! By Amy Anderson