Instant Confidence: The Power to Go for Anything You Want by Paul McKenna PH.D. (2016)
MOTIVATE YOURSELF FOR SUCCESS
Goals, Goals, Goals!
The Power of a Goal
Everything I have ever achieved in my life is the result of planning. That doesn’t mean that nothing spontaneous ever happens in my life; it means that I am very clear at all times about the direction in which I am headed.
“Man is a goal-seeking animal. His life only has meaning if he is reaching out and striving for his goals.”
Research studies consistently show that having goals makes a significant difference in creating success, and the biographies of high achievers throughout history bear out the research. So if you want to achieve anything worthwhile you absolutely have to have goals—but how you design your goals can make all the difference in the world.
Size Really Does Matter
Your goals have to be big enough to get you out of bed—to make you feel motivated even before you push the switch. Just being “a little more efficient at work,” or “losing five pounds” is rarely a big enough target to aim at. You need BIG goals—goals that will ignite your passion and get you off your ass and into action. Then all the things you do in your daily life become easier. As Donald Trump says, “You have 50,000 thoughts a day, you might as well make them big ones!”
Years ago I used to take forever to wake up in the morning and get going. I had tried setting goals about “getting up a bit earlier,” or “waking up with energy,” but nothing worked. Then one day I sat down and began creating BIG goals for myself—goals like having my own TV show, creating a business empire, and making a massive positive difference to the world. At first I didn’t really notice the difference—but everyone around me did.
For example, I remember leaping out of bed at 5 A.M. one morning to travel to the north of England for an appearance on the Richard & Judy TV show. My girlfriend asked me why I was so energized. When I thought about it, I realized that I now saw each small action I took as part of the big picture of creating success in my life. With my BIG goals in mind, getting out of bed in the morning simply wasn’t a problem anymore.
Who Cares What You Don’t Want?
When I was a child, my mother repeatedly told myself and my brother, “Don’t smoke cigarettes.” Before she began talking about it, the thought hadn’t even entered my mind—but after repeated exposure to the power of her suggestion, I became so curious that before long I was standing behind the bicycle shed coughing my guts up.
That story came to mind a few years ago when I was working with a champion golfer who had begun consistently hitting balls into the bunkers. When I went with him to the course and watched him play, I was amazed that he not only consistently hit the ball into the bunker, but perfectly into the middle of the sand. After asking him a few questions, it became apparent what he was doing.
Every time he was setting up for a shot, he would make a picture in his mind of the ball going in the bunker, put a red “x” through the picture and tell himself, “I must not hit it in the bunker!” In other words, he was programming his mind to do exactly what he didn’t want.
On the very next hole, I asked the golfer to think about NOT hitting it in the hole. Although he looked at me as if I was nuts, he did what I told him to do. His very next shot landed about 3 feet from the hole.
The reason this worked so well is that in order to “not do” something, you first have to think about doing it. For example, try not to think about elephants right now—go on—no elephants.
This is also why it’s so important that as you work on creating your BIG goals, you focus exclusively on what it is that you DO want. Rehearse achieving it in your mind. And for goodness’ sake, don’t think about succeeding EVERY time you focus on your goals—just imagine what would happen if you did!
It’s All about You
Another mistake people often make when they first begin working on their BIG goals is to describe their goals in terms of how they want other people to change. “I want my husband to take me out more” or “I want my boss to treat me with more respect” aren’t goals—they’re fantasies, and enjoyable as they might be, they won’t change your life until they’re backed up by action.
“We all have the ability. The difference is how we use it.”
No matter how powerful our minds are, no one has yet found a way to control everything that happens to us or everything that other people do. But we do have a great deal of control over our own feelings and behavior. Goals like “I am going to go out at least three times a week,” or “I will command more respect at work” put you back in the driver’s seat.
Break Your Goals Down until It’s Easy to Take Action
A movie actor friend of mine took the lead role in a West End play. Compared to movies, which are filmed in short scenes rarely lasting more than a couple of minutes, the idea of having to learn three hours’ worth of continuous dialogue was overwhelming to him.
“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.”
When he asked me for help, the first thing I did was to get him to divide the play in half. I then had him divide each half into individual scenes. Suddenly he had a number of small pieces to work with rather than one big overwhelming one.
As he mastered each of the small pieces, it became easier and easier to put them together. Even when he was performing the play to rave reviews, he never thought about more than one small piece at a time.
When people first design their own BIG goals, they sometimes get a little bit freaked out by them and think they will never be able to achieve them. But by breaking them down into small enough chunks, you will find that you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
How small should each chunk be?
Small enough that you can take your very next action on it in the next 24 hours!
Four Simple Steps to Success
Here’s all you need to remember:
1. Create goals BIG enough to get you out of bed in the morning.
2. Focus on what you want, and only what you want.
3. Make sure your goals are all about you.
4. Break down your goals to make it easy to take action.
Once you have designed a couple of BIG goals that are truly inspiring to you, you will find your life changing at an extraordinary rate. But in order to sustain this momentum, there is one more thing you need to do …