We all have dreams, big and small. We wish for:
- a six-bedroom cottage in the Cotswolds
- a 2,000€ raise
- or luxury retreat in the Maldives.
We have pleasant phantasies that we like to escape to when the real-world hits us harsh. But no one ever seems to talk about how to make these dreams come true.
For some of us, there’s the social stigma that weighs down on us, or it’s the money holding us back: Maybe we just don’t take enough home at the end of the month to afford a 14-day trip to Christmas Island.
And so, our dreams forever remain our dreams. They’ve become a distant memory, pushed to the back of our minds, and haunt us only when we yearn for a better world. A world in which we feel good about ourselves, where we’re confident and happy.
But our dreams don’t have to be ‘impossible’ to achieve or unrealistic.
If you read last week’s post, you’ll remember how I said that our thoughts are incredibly powerful. I showed you how a single belief can transform our lives for better or worse, and how the stories we tell ourselves eventually come true.
In this week’s edition, I want to look at the exact steps we can take to rewrite our limiting beliefs. I’ll show you how to use the power of your thoughts to make your dreams come true – whether you want to get into a Russel Group university, or sweat it at the gym till you have six-pack abs.
Before we start, just a word of caution: if you want to get results, you need to put in the work. If you’re not willing to spend at least 30 minutes a day on mental mastery, forget about this technique. You may be up against challenging beliefs, and you will a ton of patience, persistence and trust in yourself for you to succeed.
But now, let’s look at exact system that has helped me get hired at a big consulting firm, negotiate a significant raise on my internship salary and overcome anxiety and panic attacks.
Step 1: Set a clear goal for yourself
Most people are way too vague when setting goals. In fact, I’d say that’s probably the #1 reason why so many new Year’s resolutions fail.
Every January, we say things like “I want to get in shape” or “I need to get a better job”. But come June, we’ve only hit the gym once or twice, and we’re still stuck in the same job.
This is sad. Year after year, we get super motivated about our new goal, and with each successive failure, we start doubting our abilities and feeling disappointed more and more.
But, really that’s not our fault. Most of us simply haven’t learnt how to set good goals. We want something, but have no idea how to get it.
Let’s tackle this problem right away – and talk about what a good goal looks like.
An example of a great goal would be ‘I want to put aside 50€ of my salary each month to save up for a 500€ holiday in Greece at the end of the year.’
Notice how much more specific that is than something like: ‘I really should start saving more.’ or ‘I want to get better with my money, so I can go on holiday with my friends’
What makes the first goal so much better than the second and third, is the fact that’s SMART. SMART goals are:
- Specific – do you know exactly what you want?
- Measurable – can you track your progress towards your goal?
- Actionable – do you have a clear action or roadmap to accomplish your goal?
- Realistic – do you have the resources available to accomplish your goal?
- Time bound – have you set time constraints to achieving your goal?
The challenge, of course, is to transform your vague goal into something you can accomplish. Especially with intangible goals, it can be hard to see how you can accomplish this.
Maybe you’re a shy person and always wanted to be ‘more confident’. No matter how hard you tried, you’re probably still shy today. Instead, you want to focus on something more SPECIFIC like ‘I want to feel confident walking up a stranger and introducing myself to them.’
That’s a good start. Now, we need to make it MEASURABLE.
How do you plan to track your level of confidence? If you think about a confident person, apart from not feeling any butterflies in the stomach when talking to people, they also smile, look others in the eye and have a generally open posture. These outward signs are probably the easiest way you can measure your level confidence.
And so, your goal could become: ‘I want to smile and look people in the eye, when I introduce myself and meet them for the first time.’ It’s much easier to see whether you’ve accomplished this or not.
Next, think about what you’re going to do, to make your goal happen?
Will you introduce yourself to a new person each day? Or will you take an improv class to feel more natural about having conversations?
Either of these can make your goal ACTIONABLE, and both of them sound like fairly REALISTIC steps to take.
The only thing that’s missing is a TIME CONSTRAINT. How long do you plan to work on your goal, and what results do you want to see in that time?
Ultimately, your goal could be:
‘I want to introduce myself to a stranger in the streets on my daily errand run at 11.00 am. I want to do this for the next 30 days, and in each conversation I have I aim to smile and make eye contact at least once. By the end of these 30 days, walking up to people and striking up a conversation should feel natural to me.’
In addition to the SMART goal you set for yourself, also visualise what success will feel like to you. How would achieving this goal change your life for the better? How does it contribute to a perfect world, where you feel 100% comfortable and happy? What would change and how would accomplishing your dream feel to you?
That mental image, that emotion of success is going to be your ULTIMATE GOAL.
The richer that image of confidence, the more powerful the positive emotions behind it, the better.
A word of caution
People often make the mistake of shifting their attention to what they don’t want. If you need proof – just look at protestors.
In the UK; people were protesting against the construction of the HS2 high speed railway line between Birmingham and London, because of the environmental damage it would cause. But in line with the law of attraction, they got the exact opposite of what they wanted: the railway is being constructed and the ecology in the area is irreversibly damaged.
To have even the slightest glimmer of success, they should have focussed their messaging on protecting and preserving the environment (rather than the damage the new railway would do.
Similarly, many people are out in the streets saying ‘no mandatory vaccines’, leads to, you guessed it, more energy being directed to mandatory vaccines.
The solution is simple: focus on what you want, rather than what you don’t want.
Step 2: Envision what success looks like
There is a simple formula to start manifesting the goal the you set for yourself:
Good posture + positive emotions -> good results
Basically, what this means is that your success depends on your ability to visualise the idea, sate. Imagine how you continuously improve and make quick progress towards your goal. Then, bring these images to life by adding positive emotions.
Think about the joy you will experience when you finally land your dream job or come together with your crush.
See it in your mind’s eye how you become stronger, more successful and better every single day. If your goal was to negotiate a higher salary for your new job, imagine the conversation you will have your manager.
What will you say, what will you wear to impress them? Imagine that you give them all the right answers, that you have a lovely and productive conversation and how excited the two of you will feel to start working together. They would be so eager to work with you that your salary would be mere triviality.
You would do incredible work and they’d be so impressed that they’d be happy to pay whatever you ask for. Envision how you would get a raise in your first year, and how happy you would be with your work. Think about your future you and how you would use the extra cash to improve your life. What problems would money help you solve?
And it’s not just about money – I want you to understand that visualising a great outcome can help you realise ANY of your dreams. It can help you improve the quality of your friendship, feel more confident in your first job or even start your own business.
The only limit to what you can accomplish are the limiting beliefs that you set for yourself.
Ditch all the doubts
It doesn’t matter how good of visualiser you are, if you are still reluctant and believe you can’t accomplish something you won’t. Your conviction, your mental model of success needs to become so strong that it sweeps any doubts away in an instant.
Overcome any feelings of disbelief and have faith, that the more you want something, the more you likely you are to achieve it. The stronger your image of success, the sooner you will see incredible results.
As you make good progress, be aware of these two obstacles: your inner critic and the doubts of others.
YOUR INNER CRITIC: The biggest enemy of any progress are your negative thoughts, your fears and insecurities. You will need to overcome all of these to see meaningful results.
Your belief in yourself must be stronger than any doubt of your ego. Have faith and trust that you CAN become a leader, that you CAN do incredible things, including the goal you have just set for yourself.
You just need to believe and keep convincing yourself that it’s possible. Focus on the strong craving to see your end goal come true.
can linger at the back of your mind, so even if you defeat them once, don’t expect them to disappear. Doubts come in all shapes and sizes, and may sneak up on you when you least expect them.Don’t give in to your laziness, but keep pushing even when things get tough. Reinforce your mental image of success.
OTHER PEOPLE’S DOUBTS: Don’t let other people who don’t believe in your goals drag you down. Stay away from anyone who tells you something isn’t possible – surround yourself with people who support your goals, who are willing and able to help, and who firmly believe in your success.
If you don’t have any people like that, find your inner strength and use that as a guide and light on your creative journey. Your thoughts are your reality.
Step 3: Stop whining and take action
While a strong enough visualisation means that this stage can follow almost automatically, you wouldn’t want to sit around on the sofa and pray a miracle to happen.
While a miracle will happen if you do a good enough job of visualising and combining your ideal mental image with positive emotions, you can drastically speed up the results by taking immediate action towards your goal.
Suppose your goal was to get six-pack abs, and you visualised how you were going to accomplish this by hiring a personal trainer, doing regular home workouts and changing up your diet.
If you did a good enough job at visualising, these actions will come naturally to you. Working out regularly and eating a healthy diet will become so joyful that you do them automatically, without a second thought.
So even though your action will follow naturally from your visualisation, remember that action can be a powerful complement to your visualisation. The most important part remains, however, the visualisation, as our thoughts are much more powerful than our actions (remember I talked about this last week, when I brought up the hierarchy of manifestation).
That’s why it’s easier to improve your visualisation that to force yourself to take more and more action.
In a nutshell, these are the insights you need for realising your dream:
- Set a clear goal & have a mental image of what success would look like
- Visualise every aspect of achieving that goal, from the steps you will take to the happiness you feel
- Be grateful for the work you do and ditch any doubts you have
- Work on manifesting your goal for at least 30 minutes a day
- Take action to speed up the accomplishment of your goal