Choosing To Focus On The Positive Continued…
Focus On Existing Goals Or Create Meaningful Goals
Exert from ‘How To Turn Your Dreams Into Reality’…
Bill Copeland, a well respected author, once said “the trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” The truth is that in today’s society whereby instant communication is the norm with sites like Facebook, Hotmail and Twitter constantly vying for our attention, it can be challenging to sit down and assess what we want to achieve on a deeper level, let alone make time for those activities.
In Tony Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness, he pin points ‘perceived progress’ as an essential component of our overall happiness and, as the field of positive psychology develops, this principle is becoming widely accepted.
The process of making our dreams reality can be a very exciting and creative one. Essentially we are creating a map to get us from where we are now (Point A) to where we want to be (Point B). Though there is much advice surrounding the area of setting goals there is generally a consensus that all goals must be S.M.A.R.T.
S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timescaled.
Let’s explore the meaning of S.M.A.R.T. in this context further…
Specific goals identify what we want to achieve on a practical level and are often grounded in weekly participation of your chosen pursuit. For example, a vague goal would be to become a pop star. Although becoming a pop star is an admirable goal we need to think of how we are going to achieve that and add these interim steps to our main goal.
A specific goal in order to achieve chart success might therefore be to take weekly singing lessons and practice singing exercises for thirty minutes a day. Once we have specific goals we immediately feel energized as we know on a practical level what needs to be done.
Goals also need to be measurable; ideally goals should be measured in the short-term and medium-term. For example, you can easily measure whether you have been attending weekly singing lessons and practicing each day.
Every six months you can review whether you have made progress by seeing if you have attended any open mike nights or have started writing your own lyrics. The main objective is to outline how and when we will measure our progress. This helps us adjust our goals when necessary and keeps us motivated down the line.
In order to ensure our motivation remains high it is vital that our goals are achievable. This needn’t mean thinking small, but it is essential that we plan the steps of our goals methodically and that we allow a realistic timeframe to achieve those goals.
When our goals are truly achievable they will cease to be the dreams and fantasies they set out as and will start to appear more feasible, thereby increasing our drive to achieve them.
Most of us struggle with creating realistic goals but once we realize what realistic in this context means, setting realistic goals becomes much easier. Having realistic goals does not mean we have to abandon our dreams, it simply means we need to be able (and willing) to put in the amount of time and effort necessary. This often means re-prioritizing so less important tasks or activities are shunned in favor of working on our goal.
This process can be challenging and involves shifting our focus from short-term pleasures to longer term gains. A great way to attain this shift in focus is to reward ourselves along the way when we achieve a step towards our goal. For example, a shopping trip or meal out after you perform at your very first open mike night.
Lastly, our goals should have a timeframe. When we attach a timeframe to our goals we immediately have a sense of urgency and importance. Psychologically we become more geared for action and, as a consequence, more motivated.
When choosing a timeframe it is essential to understand how much time we need in order to reach our goal. Looking at others who have already achieved our goals is often a good way of finding out the amount of time required and can give us an insight into how long it may take us to reach the goal for ourselves.
For example, many famous singers have taken singing lessons for ten or more years, have been performing regularly and have found an agent. Once we have an accurate picture of how much time is involved we then need to work out if we have both the time and resources necessary. If our motivation is strong enough we can usually shift our use of time and resources to fit more in line with our new goal.
Engage With Hobbies and Interests You Are Passionate About
It is so important for our sense of well being to have hobbies and interests we are passionate about. Before I had by breakdown in 2009 I lacked any real hobbies. With one of my friends suggesting we do loads of fun creative activities for our upcoming sleepover, I discovered my love for scrapbooking now have many creative pursuits which I am passionate about. I have found these help me on a fundamental level to get completely lost in myself, giving me a deep sense of fulfillment and joy.
Below I have listed a wide range of creative hobbies, choose the one that appeals to you the most and begin your creative journey today!
- Painting (watercolor, oil, acrylic)
- Drawing (pencil, pen, pastels, charcoal)
- Writing non-fiction
- Creative writing
- Writing poetry
- Song writing
- Playing an instrument
- Composing music
- Card making
- Origami and quelling
- Jewelry making
- Mosaics (E.g. mirror frames, tables, pots)
- Cake decorating, baking or cooking
Likewise having interests we are passionate about engages our minds and expands our knowledge, fuelling our natural curiosity and keeping us mentally young. Below is a list of interests which may take your fancy…
- Quantum physics
- The study of the universe
- Interior design
- Vintage cars
- Greek mythology
- Modern history
- Ancient Civilizations
Stay tuned – next Monday we will continue looking at choosing to focus on the positive and will go into how to use gratitude, affirmations, visualization, hope and optimism to heighten your positivity to new levels.
Do you have meaningful goals you are working towards? What are they? What hobbies and interests would you like to pursue? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, understanding and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.