Guest Post – How to turn your dreams into a reality

Hey guys! I’m Alicia from Mind Marvels. I’m really excited to take over Niraj’s blog for today!

Are there days where you feel you’re sleepwalking through life, unmoored, or unanchored? Or maybe you know your long-term goal but are not making enough progress and thus not getting exactly where you want to in life? A key reason you may be feeling this way is because you’ve not set yourself tight goals. Before we go into more detail, I need you to understand that you can have a long-term vision, but the daily/ weekly goals you set for yourself, are what help you journey towards that vision.

Back in 1990, before goal-setting could emerge as a theory, psychologists Latham and Locke discovered a simple but interesting finding. On a big scale of tasks, people did much better when they were working towards specific goals rather than just being told: “do your best.” Further findings stipulated how goal setting was based on 5 key principles: *first image*

Goal-setting can be most effective when there is commitment and determination towards the goal. With a good amount of both, one will work towards the goal despite the hurdles along the way. Less commitment towards the goal also increases the likelihood of people giving up soon. When you’re dedicated towards the goal but your performance isn’t as much as required for attaining the goal, you’ll put in more effort or develop new strategies in order to get there. It’s crucial to remember that if goals are set by someone else and the person is not committed to reaching them, the whole process can turn out ineffective and even backfire.

The goals you set have also to be specific. You should know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish and what is required. An imprecise or a vague goal may not keep you motivated enough in the long run. Set small and specific goals, putting in dates, times, precise measures in short. A study also showed how the overall level of satisfaction and motivation at workplaces were linked to setting specific goals. And specific and challenging goals are also linked with high efficacy.

Another important factor is attainability.Now when I say attainable, I mean challenging enough, but yet attainable. You should believe that you can reach those goals. When you know it is within your capacity and limits, it will boost your motivation and you’ll be ready to do whatever it takes to get there. Start by breaking up your goal into smaller digestible goals. Writing also helps it take shape and gives you the push you need to start your work. If the first goal you set was too easy, set the next one a little harder.  

A crucial part of goal-setting also depends on the goal’s complexity. When you have several goals, give each a priority. This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by having too many goals, and helps to direct your attention to the most important ones. Excessively challenging goals can not only kill your motivation and get you overwhelmed, but also result in feelings of frustration. You can always review your goals after a considerable amount of time.

The last and the most important feature of goal-setting is feedback. When people receive feedback about their progress towards meeting their goals, they realize their loopholes and weaknesses and work on them. In an experiment conducted by Wood and Locke, that aimed at using goal-setting as a method to increase performance and comply with other safety regulations, it was found that goal-setting worked best under the following 4 conditions I mentioned above. Thereafter, the experimenters added one more factor to this research. Every week, they posted large charts on feedback on the performance of each worker. Here’s what the results observed: 

GOAL VISUALIZATION Picture this scenario. You’re a football player playing in the Olympics about to kick the winning goal. A million people watching you. Keeping in mind this shot determines whether you’ll bring back the medal for your country or not,the worst thoughts are racing through your mind of any possible mishaps. While this may be found reasonable to amateurs like us, professional sports players are trained to visualize their goals, maybe scoring that winning goal, or even winning that race before the event. This is because imagining or visualizing the worst only increases the likelihood of us making those mistakes. Our minds are created in a way to think of troubles and danger and thus we end up focusing on the worst. Goal visualization is a technique used to help you reach your goals by acknowledging good things that can and will happen to you in your life. Here, you prepare your mind and body for what you want to happen. Be it a relationship or an academic goal, visualizing and imagining future events has proved to be beneficial, studies suggest. Besides boosting motivation and confidence, it also helps develop goal-directed behavior. Positive psychology also points out how social cognition research has found how mental imagery of future events also increases the likeliness of those events occurring. Goal visualization, an important aspect of goal-setting, is also a good way of practicing success. Evaluating and processing every step of your journey prepares your body and mind to actually take those steps, in reality. The more you practice this, the better and more confident you’ll get at it. 

A final word: As I had mentioned at the beginning of this article, here is the bonus I promised. I’ve compiled a pdf with some practice methods to inculcate before setting up goals, a goal tree to help you prioritize the goals that’ll lead you to your long-term vision, some self-reflection questions, a very brief summary of principles to keep in mind before setting goals so that you can set it in accordance with that and finally a template to turn those dreams into a reality starting today. (PS: Do subscribe to my newsletter for a lot more freebies like this!) Goal-setting might not seem as important as it is at this point, but even research has shown a considerable amount of improvement and motivation in performance levels. If you’re someone who doesn’t set goals, try it today. When you incorporate this habit in your life, watch every part of your life flourish, grow, and glow. It’s worth a try, because in the end, what do you have to lose?  


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