Achieving Goals when Willpower Fails You: Key Principles



Presumably, if you are reading this article you have audacious goals, are committed to achieving them, and are curious to learn about Goal-Achievement knowledge and skills.

In the last letter we answered two of the three questions you need answered to thrive and to avoid a life of quiet desperation:
๏    Why do I need to know how to achieve audacious goals?
๏    Why do I repeatedly fail to achieve my goals?

And now we start the process of what to do correctly.  Previously, we determined that everyone has goals (even if very tiny) and that we need goals just to stay alive.  During World War II it was noted that soldiers who had families and close ties or had major life goals were far more likely to survive treacherous and life-threatening injuries than unmarried men or those with weak relationships.  If you have not already read Vitor E. Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning, then I highly recommend it to you.  Frankl observed that those prisoners in concentration and internment camps who had something very big to live for, who could find meaning in their lives (despite their suffering), were more likely to survive the brutality of their imprisonment.

If we wish to thrive then we need to grow and if we want to grow then we need to achieve meaningful & challenging goals.  And who does not want to thrive?

We learned that we repeatedly fail to achieve goals because of a combination of one or more of the following three reasons, (all of which can simply be remedied):
๏    Myths and misconceptions:
➡    We believe that until we know how to achieve the goal we should not set out to achieve it.  By definition, one does not not know how to achieve a big, bold goal.  If one knew, it would not be big or bold.
➡    We fall in to the seductive trap of magical thinking.  “If I wish hard enough it will come.  If I sit back, relax, and magnetically attract what I want it will magically appear.”  While having an open heart and being receptive to a goal is important it is in and of itself insufficient.
➡    We accept the explanations given by successful people.  But research has repeatedly shown that successful people often do not know to what they should attribute their success.  Was it envisioning or hard work?
๏    We do not know how to plan to overcome the inevitable obstacles; and
๏    We cannot stay in Action

The key principles to repeatedly achieving big, bold goals, particularly the ones that require you to change are as follows:
1.   Success is a combination of both hard work (even olf-fashioned grit) & envisioning
2.   There is a Change Process that one goes through and no step can be missed if the achievement of the goal is to stick
3.   Specific planning is required depending on the goal and where one is in the process of achieving the goal
4.   Envisioning is a skill to be acquired and developed.
5.   Obstacles need to be anticipated
6.   Proposals and plans need to be made to overcome the inevitable obstacles
7.   Initiating and staying in action is a combination of the skills acquired above: identifying obstacles, planning and rehearsing

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