As 2016 comes to an end, another year passing far too quickly as we ask where is time going and we approach the start of yet another new year, before we start asking the same questions at the end of next year, now is as good a time as any other to discuss the importance of setting goals for yourself.
When people discuss goals, it is almost always associated with health, such as losing weight, with this being a fitness site then this would be a relevant suggestion, but goals should be applied to all aspects of life, including both health and financial goals among others, such as spending more time with your family, start studying again or joining that club you’ve always wanted.
Do not underestimate the power of setting goals for yourself. The brain is a goal seeking mechanism, you must give your life direction by giving yourself goals. Whatever goals you create and give to your subconscious mind, your brain will figure out ways on how it can achieve them. How effective this is will depend on the strength of your goals, if you give yourself low targets and weak goals, then you will produce only weak results. The famous motivation speaker Les Brown said it right when he proclaimed ‘Most people fail in life not because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit.’ So don’t underestimate what you are capable of achieving, believe in yourself and set some goals for yourself which will move you and excite you.
An often overlooked factor of creating goals is writing them down, make sure you write them down, there is something about the power of writing your goals down which gives them greater meaning and gives them life. Success psychologists say that 95% – 97% of the people in the world do NOT have written goals and fail, while 3-5% have written goals and succeed. By writing down your goals, looking at them every day(keep it in your wallet for example) you have already started on your way to success. Writing down goals forces you to select something specific and decide what you want, if you want to lose weight don’t just write down ‘I want to lose weight’ be specific by choosing how much you want to lose and by when, an example would be writing down you want to lose 20lbs by May 1st or you want to weigh a certain weight ie 12st by the end of march. It was Earl Nightingale who said ‘the definition of success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.’ By writing down your goals, the very act spurs you into action, you are already on the road to success.
With the mentioning of Earl Nightingale, it brings me very nicely into my comment of the brain being a goal seeking mechanism, to quote Earl Nightingale ‘Think of a ship with the complete voyage mapped out and planned. The captain and crew know exactly where the ship is going and how long it will take and it has a definite goal. And 9,999 times out of 10,000, it will get there.
Now let’s take another ship and just like the first and only let’s not put a crew on it, or a captain at the helm. Let’s give it no aiming point, no goal, and no destination. We just start the engines and let it go. I think you’ll agree that if it gets out of the harbor at all, it will either sink or wind up on some deserted beach and a derelict. It can’t go anyplace because it has no destination and no guidance. It’s the same with a human being.’
You wouldn’t go on vacation without planning your trip, so why should you live your life, something of far greater importance, without planning your next step?
Think positive when setting your goals and writing them down, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale said ‘If you think in negative terms, you will get negative results. If you think in positive terms, you will achieve positive results.’ We all know or have worked with someone who is always complaining of not feeling well or worried about falling ill and inevitably they fulfill their own words by being the one who is most often ill, this is often just plain negative thinking, if you keep thinking of something, positive or negative, you will subconsciously attract it to you, good or bad. As Marcus Aurelius, the great Roman Emperor, said: ‘A man’s life is what his thoughts make of it.’ As you sow, so shall you reap or you become what you think about, this latter quote was even used by Muhammad Ali, a man who was big on positive thinking and setting himself goals, his life ended with him being recognized the world over and as the greatest sportsman in history. As Muhammad Ali himself said ‘Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.’
I will end the article by including my own experiences with goal setting. In January 2015, I had been working in the same IT job for 6yrs, the job was in my home town so I had become comfortable, and becoming comfortable is the worst thing that can happen to you, it kills ambition. I decided I wanted to change jobs so I decided to write down on a piece of paper what I was going to study and how much money per day I wanted. Granted, it wasn’t a massive amount of money but enough to motivate me. I began to study the IT subjects I had listed on the paper, every day for at least 45mins. A few months later I began applying for new jobs, for one reason or another I kept on failing at my interviews(I was even turned down for being too ambitious!) It had now been 7months since writing down my goals and I had attended 7 job interviews and not been offered any of them! Then I attended my 8th job interview, it was a contract position and was the highest paying job of all the interviews I had attended – I was offered the job an hour later and I had just missed out on the figure I had written down on my little piece of paper with my goals 7 months earlier.
It doesn’t end there, I soon discovered not even the extra money made me happy, the job was boring I just didn’t like or enjoy IT. I learned a valuable lesson, not to base my goals around money. To be successful you must be happy with what you are doing with your life. If you enjoy what you are doing, you can eventually become a master of what you are doing, the only way to become a master of something is to love what you are doing, and when you do become a master of it, you can then command a good fee for the service you are providing. I made some more goals in January 2016, I would do what made me happy and turned my attention to Personal Training and Boxing. With the extra money I was making from contracting, I invested in some courses, first, the Team Hatton Boxing courses. Then I decided I would learn from the best and began training every week with former champion and Sky Sports pundit Spencer Oliver, which I still do every weekend. Then I enrolled in two Strength and Conditioning courses and began making plans for going full time with Personal Training. It still doesn’t end there, a week before my IT contract was going to end, I was offered another IT Contract in London, but this one was paying more than the sum of money I had written down on my goals paper back in January of 2015! I still carry the piece of paper in my wallet. I decided to take the contract whilst still working on my PT skills and improving my web presence for my website Fayz Fitness and Facebook. The seeds have been planted and I expect them to grow strong enough so that when this contract ends, I am ready to begin my journey full time on what I love to do. I will be setting myself some more goals next month so I will put my head on the line and re-visit this article in a years time to see if I made made any progress – now it is your turn to make a change for the better in your life.