We've all heard about the Law of Attraction - right? Dream and envisage anything you desire and it will manifest itself. Well, I don't have a bright Red Porsche parked in my driveway! And the truth is, I don't dream of having one either!
Firstly, I'd like to take a moment to explain the difference between a dream and a goal - because they are not the same thing! The dictionary defines dreams as "a succession of images, thoughts, or emotions passing through the mind" or "a vision... indulged in while awake". A goal is stated as "the aim or object towards which an endeavour is directed".
So when you think about having a dream - think of a small child. They may dream of being an astronaut or a fireman or a ballerina or in my son's case, a Snake Catcher. There is no real awareness as to how they might achieve that! No considerations of the training that they may need to undertake or the risks involved is that chosen profession, no limiting beliefs that they can't do that or that they are not good enough. That's just what they want to be. And when you consider a goal, think of someone wanting to lose 5kg or a business wanting to make a million dollar turnover. They are clearly stated (and they should be realistic and attainable).
I encourage all of my clients to have a dream! And create a clear vision of those dreams. Whether it be health, career, financial, spiritual or any other area of life... allow your mind to visit what it would look like. What would you see, hear and feel if that was your reality right now? How would it be? A dream or vision board is a great way to do this. Collect images and words or quotes that inspire you. Why would you do this?
Assuming you have a car... let me take you back to the time BEFORE you got your new car. You were thinking about what you wanted, maybe you did a little research... I wonder how many of the make and model you ended up purchasing you saw on the road? Now fast forward to that moment you started driving your new car. I bet suddenly it seemed that car was everywhere! Or perhaps you had driven down the same street a million times and never noticed that particular shop, until you needed it! And suddenly you wonder if that has really been there the whole time?
Your brain receives 2,000,000 bits of information per second! That's right - TWO MILLION! But it distorts, deletes and generalises that information down to 7-9 pieces. These distortions, deletions and generalisations are based on the filters that you have established - your beliefs, your values, language, patterns and programming and past experiences. So subconsciously, your mind decides what you will pay attention to and what you will ignore, without any conscious awareness of this happening.
But just like when you got that new car, you updated what was within your world and therefore began seeing more of that car - you can bring new dreams in so that your mind can expand its "search data" and begin noticing opportunities that may have always been there... you just hadn't noticed them! And of course, sometimes you need to work on your beliefs or values and a great coach can help you to overcome all of those things.
For now though, I'd like to return to the idea of a Goal. Now in my clinic, I don't work with people's dreams. I work to help them achieve goals. So a goal could very well be one of the steps toward your dream. For example, if you want to be a multi-millionaire - your first goal might be to earn more money. Or if you dream of being super healthy and being fully inspired in that area of life - your goal might first be to run a marathon or lose that 5 (or more) kilo of fat.
Unlike dreams, your goals need to be realistic and achievable. You need not know all of the steps that you need to take to achieve it - but you do need to identify that first step. Your goals should be measurable and evidence based - how will you know that you have achieved it?
In NLP, we use Well-Formed-Outcomes to set up goals. So if you have a goal, sit down and take some time to answer the following:
What is it that you want (this should be stated in the positive). What will it look like, feel like, sound like when you have this?
When? Where and with Whom will you have this?
Why? For what reason do you want this? What is your intention in wanting this?
PROCESSES / HOW
How will you do this? Have you ever done this before? What resources do you need (eg. help from someone else, obtaining more knowledge, a gym membership etc)? What resources do you already have to help you achieve this (e.g. Skills, knowledge, experience, tools)?
Is there any negative impact on you or those around you of having this and achieving this goal?
Once you have done this... go back and consider, what is the very first step? What action do you need to take right now to achieve the goal? You don't necessarily need to know all of the steps - perhaps you need to get the assistance of experts or obtain more knowledge in order to determine the other steps. For example, if you have a strong financial goal - you may need to consult a Financial Planner or Wealth Advisor or if you have a health goal - you may need to work with a Trainer or Nutritionist.
All you need to know... is what is that first step?
All you need to do... is take it!
Once you've taken the first step - determine the next step... once you know... take it... and then the next one and the next one...
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