I am sure that many of you are deep into the drama and excitement of the holiday season. There is so much to be done and so much to think about and consider that many can hardly think of anything else. However, when the excitement is over, our attention typically turns the closing of one year and the beginning of a new one. This is also the ideal time to reflect on what is dear to us and rethinking our goals.
This is a time typically reserved for reflection. We think back on the previous year, sometimes with a strong sense of accomplishment and sometimes with regrets for the things we didn’t do that we wanted to and the goals we set but didn’t accomplish. Sometimes we get so disgusted with ourselves for our lack of goal-directed behavior that we actually stop setting goals altogether.
Sometimes we are waiting for something to happen first. We wait to retire, for our children to leave home, or for there to be enough money in the savings account. While we are waiting, time is whizzing past us at an alarming rate. Before we know it, we end up at a place where we say, ‘Now I’m too old to do ________________ .’ While we are waiting for certain life events to manifest, there are things we can still do to move ourselves forward toward our goals. Waiting is not the only option.
There are known techniques that will help you improve the odds of accomplishing your goals. What’s the difference between those who seem to breeze through their day accomplishing everything they set out to do and those who seem to wonder where the time went at the end of the day. We all have the same amount of time each day. What’s the secret?
Visualize Your Accomplishments
First of all, you need to decide what it is you want to accomplish. You must visualize and verbalize that goal in a way that will impassion you to achieve it. We generally do not get too excited about the vague thought of generating passive income but if we can say instead, I will generate $200 a month in passive income so that it will cover my car payment, then there is more energy and impetus around that particular goal. We must develop a mental movie of what life will look like once our goals are accomplished. As Napoleon Hill would say, ‘Do you have a burning desire to accomplish this goal?’ Without truly possessing a burning desire, without passion to make it happen, we will often drift back into old behaviors that keep us plateaued at the same place we were the beginning of last year.
Once you’ve determined you have the burning desire, next you must ask if you have a good plan. Does your plan have a reasonable chance for success? Do you have deadlines for accomplishment? When you are trying to stop a certain behavior, do you spell out what you are going to do instead? Are the goals realistic? Are they measurable? Do you have the determination and unwavering resolve to follow through on your plan?
Sometimes there are things that sabotage our efforts. Typically, the things we do throughout our day are things that meet our needs. If we are trying to generate $200/month in passive income but do not invest time, effort, and money to achieve it, we need to look why we are not investing. Often these are unconscious benefits that we really need to do some serious scrutiny to uncover. If the benefits we receive from our current behavior outweigh the benefits of making the change we desire, we will have a difficult time making the change without building in additional features to our plan that will make up for the benefits of the behavior we are giving up.
You need to develop systems to track and measure your progress. Many people require a visual representation of their progress to provide incentive to continue moving forward. You must develop a single-minded focus. You must avoid anything that threatens to pull you off your straight ahead direction toward your goals. You must prioritize and protect your time everyday. The ideal way to measure your progress with respect to my passive income goals is the percentage of my monthly covered by my passive income. It helps me focus on increasing my passive income but also keeping my expenses under control.
Overcome Your Fears
The final thing that will be instrumental in achieving your goals is to overcome your fears. We know how powerful that feeling could be. The fear of height, fear of failure, etc. Fear is a natural and helpful emotion caused by the threat of danger. The source of that fear could be caused by the threat of danger or by a limiting belief. Let’s discuss fear as a threat response first. We know that fear as a threat response is beneficial as long as you consider as an input to your actions instead of how you react. The typical reaction to threat response is fight or flight but if we manage that fear we can respond differently. As an example, you are planning to sign your first offer on a rental property and you feel the anxiety and your mind is racing with all kinds of potentially negative scenarios. Your instinctual reaction is flight meaning to move away from the opportunity. Your conquer this fear by rationalizing or protecting yourself against each negative scenarios.
Limiting beliefs are programmed in your subconscious mind. These are the learned beliefs that we picked up from those close to us. There is a great deal of evidence that shows the neural programming of our subconscious mind often gets in the way of us accomplishing our goals. You may have received these beliefs from your parents that money was the root of all evil, that people who succeed are dishonest, that investing is too risky, that you have bad luck, that you are not smart enough, and it takes money to make money. All those beliefs have formed neural pathways in our brain.
This means that when certain neurons fire, they trigger the firing of other neurons in the same pathway, which makes it extremely difficult to consciously change our behavior. The good news is that there is a way to reprogram the neural pathways by recognizing those limiting beliefs and changing how you would normally behave.
By recognizing those limiting beliefs and changing our behavior we have the ability to change this subconscious programming. As an example, when you are looking to generate passive income you might think subconsciously that if you bought and rented a house you would be a dishonest or evil person. Recognize that feeling and analyze why you are feeling this way. For example that belief might come from the fact that a friend was expelled from his apartment for not paying the rent and at that time you thought the landlord was mean and greedy. Think about this belief from your perspective as a potential investor. Speak with other people about your beliefs and convince them that this belief is preventing them from achieving your goals. Create empowering beliefs instead of limiting ones.
With all of the above goal setting steps and after reading my article “Rock Climbing: A metaphor for Reaching your Goals” you will be well on your way to accomplishing your goals.
“Within you right now is the power to do things you never dreamt possible. This power becomes available to you just as soon as you can change your own beliefs.” Maxwell Maltz.