Are you a goal-setting, goal-driven human being or are you a processionary caterpillar?
Yeah, I know, it’s a strange question. But your answer will make all the difference in YOUR life.
Let me explain. Highly effective human beings have goals. Low-achieving people and caterpillars just follow along.
As we approach a new year, let me tell you how to release the power of goals into your life, work and relationships.
► 1. Do not confuse activity with accomplishment.
Back in the 1800’s the noted French naturalist, Jean Henri Fabre` studied the pine processionary caterpillar by taking a flowerpot and placing a number of caterpillars in single-file around the circumference of the pot’s rim. Each caterpillar’s head touched the caterpillar in front of it. After placing the caterpillars’ favorite food in the flowerpot, Fabre` watched to see what would happen.
Each caterpillar followed the one ahead thinking that it was heading for the food. Round and round went those silly insects–for seven days! Until they dropped dead of exhaustion and starvation.
Unfortunately, the caterpillars made a fatal mistake. They confused activity with accomplishment.
And that’s the same mistake that almost every low-achieving person makes. They’re active; they’re busy, busy, busy, but they don’t have much to show for all their busyness.
By contrast, highly effective people turn all their busyness into accomplishment because their busyness is guided by their goals. They have clear, specific, meaningful, written goals.
Do you have such goals? If so, I congratulate you. If not, I challenge you to follow these next few tips.
► 2. Ask yourself the no-fail question.
When it comes to setting your goals, don’t ask if it’s possible or impossible. Don’t worry about failing. Don’t worry about how you’re going to do it. Just focus on what you want and let that be your guideline for setting your goals.
Ask yourself this question: “What goals would you set for yourself if you could not fail?” Let your mind wander a bit. Get out a piece of paper and write down every possible thing you would like to become, do, achieve, or experience. That’s where you need to start.
Of course that sounds a bit outlandish. But that’s what winners do. Winners would rather attempt something great and fail than attempt nothing and succeed.
► 3. Visualize your goal.
Picture it in your mind as though it were already accomplished. The clearer your picture and the more often you view it, the easier it will be to accomplish your goal.
It’s like the legend of the prince with the crooked back. He asked a sculptor, “Make me a statue of how I would have looked with a straight back. I’d like to see myself as I might have been.”
When the statue was finished, the prince put it in a secret place. Month after month, he would slip away to look lovingly and earnestly at the statue. And people began to notice the prince’s back was not as crooked as it used to be.
Still the prince continued to look at the perfect statue. Each time he did, the sight of it set his blood tingling and his heart throbbing, until one day he realized his back was straight.
Just like the prince, we all have faults. But you start the process of achieving your goals when you visualize your goals.
Of course, that may sound a little too touchy-feely or woo-woo for some of you. So listen to what Kayla Hermann, a Program Coordinator at Community Options and Resources, had to say after learning this process at my Journey-to-the-Extraordinary program.
Kayla wrote to me, saying, “I discovered something quite amazing after I wrote down my goals and filed them in my subconscious mind … just the way you taught us at the Journey. Two of my goals were having a deeper relationship with my husband and the other was to be self-employed.”
“Then one day I looked around and saw what was happening. I started to see the results of a deeper relationship with my husband. We are spending more time together and I am making a conscious effort to listen to him with my full attention. He can tell something has changed and he likes it.”
“Then another amazing thing happened with regard to the self-employment goal I’ve had for years and years. I was approached to buy a business that I occasionally work at as a hobby. Because I had written down that goal and because I had been using the mental programming techniques you taught us, I believe that I unknowingly attracted this offer.”
“I thank Dr. Zimmerman and his ‘Journey to the Extraordinary’ experience for helping me turn my goals into reality.”
(F.Y.I. You can register now for my next Journey program at the lowest price ever with our December special.)
► 4. Accept the unpleasant necessities.
If you have set your goals, you will achieve more than the person without any goals. That’s a given.
But having a set of goals doesn’t mean you won’t have some challenges along the way. Winners accept those challenges as part of their journey towards success; losers just quit.
David Ulrich made that clear in his book, Human Resource Champions. He found that only 5% of the people in Weight Watchers reach their target weight. Only 0.5% maintain their target weight. And only 17% of people who quit smoking never start again.
His point is obvious. In each case, people had some goals, but they refused to accept the fact that they would have to do some unpleasant things in the process of achieving their goals. After all, goals, goal setting, and goal achieving is all about a method that works, not a miracle that happens.
You can say that’s unfair. You can say you don’t like it. But that’s just the way it is. So get over it.
As Winston Churchill said, “It’s no use saying you are doing your best. You have got to do what is necessary.”