Some very successful people advocate writing and re-writing your goals every day. Others say it’s good enough to read them once a day.
The basic idea is to keep refreshing your goals in your mind, so you think about them often.
If you don’t employ such a practice, it’s easy to lose sight of your goals. You get caught up in day-to-day activities, and the most important long-term items fall by the wayside. Instead of leading your life, you merely react to whatever comes up.
When this happens to me, I start getting an empty, sinking feeling. A week goes by, and I feel like I didn’t really get much done, even though I may have been very busy. Unimportant tasks consume my time and multiply, and my goals don’t seem to be getting any closer. Have you ever felt that way?
On the other hand, when I’m very focused on my goals and working on them actively, I usually feel great. I have more energy and motivation, and I end my week with a major sense of accomplishment.
Some people think that motivation spawns action, but action also spawns motivation. Motivation is the feeling that comes from building and maintaining momentum. When you can see your goals getting closer day by day, it’s very energizing.
1. Use a digital photo frame to display photos of your goals.
I’ve gotten two of these as gifts, but they sat in my closet unopened since 2006 or so. I didn’t want to add more clutter to my desktop.
But a cool use for these devices is to load them up with positive imagery that reminds you of your goals. For example, if you want to go on a vacation, put up photos of the places you want to visit.
You can also create your own images like affirmations (with or without background pics), and add those to the rotation as well.
You might even add a few reminders of the things in your life you’re already grateful for. You don’t have to remove all the pics of friends and family. Just add to them.
2. Add goal pics to your sidebar widget.
I’m not currently using any sidebar widgets, but my wife has one on her Windows sidebar that rotates through photos from her hard drive. It would be very easy to add some pics that represent your goals to this widget.
3. Choose an inspiring desktop background.
You can add a list of your top goals to your desktop background image, so they’re always visible on the screen. Just load up the pic in an image editor, add some text to it, and re-save it.
4. Write your goals on paper and post them everywhere.
Print your goals in a large font (like 100-point), and post them around your home and workspace, so you see them often.
If this sort of thing would embarrass you if someone came to visit and saw your goals posted everywhere, then you really need to get over yourself. Plus you need better friends who will respect people with goals. If anything, you’ll be doing your visitors a big favor by reminding them to think about their goals more often too.
If you can’t even summon the courage to do this, then what chance do you have of achieving your goals? I’d bet against you.
5. Tell other people about your goals.
There are multiple schools of thought on this one. Here’s my viewpoint:
I think it’s okay to share your goals with other people openly. Now when you do that, some people will support you, some won’t seem to care, and other people will criticize you as say stuff like, “Yeah, right. You’ll never pull that off.”
Talking about your goals is a great way to filter your friends and family because it immediately shows you who’s on your side and who is only going to hold you back. That’s good information to have. It gives you advance warning about the people who are likely to go kittywompus as you get closer to your goal.
For example, if you tell people that your current financial goal is to earn $10K per month, even though you’re only making $3K per month right now, some people might go hyper-critical just because you set that goal. They see you as a threat to their complacency and laziness. So they’ll poke fun at you, attack you, etc. If you start working on your goal and have a setback, those will be the first people to jump on you and call you a failure.
You need to cut those people out eventually, and the sooner the better. If they can’t handle your ambitions now, imagine what it will be like when you actually hit $10K a month. They won’t be able to deal with it. They’re just going to get worse along the way, and they’ll create a psychological drag on you that could very well make you fail.
Erin and I saw this happen with some of our old friends, and it’s not pretty. The longer you try to maintain such relationships, the worse it gets and the more drag it creates. Let go of such people early, and the path to your goals is much smoother.
On the other side, talking openly about your goals also helps you identify who your true supporters are. It shows you which friends will not only be able to survive your ambitions but also thrive from it. Some people are actually turned on by their friends’ ambitions and achievements. Erin and I tend to be like that when our friends talk about their goals. It excites us. We want to see them succeed. It gives us the opportunity to vicariously celebrate their success along the way.
Some people are neither whiners nor cheerleaders. They’re just neutral. They don’t get upset or excited when you talk about your goals. Those people can still become good resources for you, so there’s no need to drop them from your life just because they aren’t super enthusiastic on your behalf. They might even be future customers if you start a business someday.
Aside from filtering your friends and family, another reason to talk about your goals is that it creates positive accountability. Once you drop the whiners, you can stop talking to them about your goals. But it’s good to keep talking about your goals and your progress with the true friends who want to see you succeed. Those people will check in on you from time to time and hold you accountable for making progress.
When all other reminders fail, knowing that so-and-so is going to be asking how you’re doing on goal X can help you jump-start an otherwise stalled goal.
Keep it simple
The key is to keep it simple. Some people decide to create these elaborate vision binders and whatnot, but it takes too much time and effort, so they don’t maintain the habit. It’s better to take 2 minutes to print and post a plain text statement of your goal on the way right in front of you, or send a quickie email blast to let your friends know about your latest goal. You can always fancy it up later if you have time.
A simple practice done regularly is superior to a complex practice done irregularly — or not done at all. If you can’t get something in front of you in less than 5 minutes, you’re overcomplicating the process. It’s really not that difficult.
The benefit of keeping your goals in front of you is that you’re constantly refreshing your goal-oriented mindset. You make it hard to forget about them. You may still go dark from time to time, but your reminders will create that positive pressure that says, “I’m still here, and I’m not letting you off the hook that easy. You need to make some changes ASAP and get back on track.” With so many things in the world to distract you these days, especially online, this is an important practice to adopt.