Reflecting on my past year and my goals for the new year, I re-read Brian Tracy’s famous book “Goals”. In this book he identified three principles that are necessary to “program our subconscious minds” to achieve our goals. I found this to be a valuable resource and wanted to share his suggestions with you as you embark on the process of casting your vision for the new year.
Tracy suggests that we write goals with the 3Ps in mind: present, positive, and personal. Writing goals using these three principles dramatically increases both the probability and speed with which we achieve our goals.
1. Present. Our goals are more effective in the present tense. Rather than saying “I will exercise three times per week”, we can say “I exercise three times per week”. By writing our goals as if we have already accomplished them, we practice seeing ourselves as successfully achieving our dreams. This is similar to the “mental rehearsals” that many high-performing athletes use to prepare themselves.
2. Positive. Our goals are more effective when written as positive statements. This is one principle that I have often broken in my previous goal setting activities. Stating goals positively means focusing on the presence of what we desire in our lives, not the absence of something we dislike. I’ve often included on my goal setting lists, statements such as “get rid of the clutter in the office”. However, if stated positively my goal would read “I have a clean and organized office.” I can literally feel the difference in my emotions when I switch to the positive statement. Stating goals positively takes our focus off what we don’t want and onto what we DO want. Remember what we focus on, gets magnified.
3. Personal. Our goals are more effective when stated using the word “I”. Instead of writing “my goal is…”, we can write ” I weigh X lbs., I am a nonsmoker, I am the senior administrator of X company”. Tracy describes the power of “I” statements as submitting a factory order to your subconscious mind who will immediately go to work trying to figure out how to deliver.
Goals are an important and powerful component of both success and happiness. I hope this helps you in writing better goals and achieving them. Happy New Year!