Identifying and Visualizing the Benefits
Last week, I talked about understanding the “WHY” of a goal. I examined the importance of understanding why you feel a particular goal is important to achieve. I concluded with the concept that if the goal you’re working towards doesn’t really belong to you (i.e., if it’s being imposed on you by someone else, or you’re doing it to please someone else), then you probably won’t experience sustainability with it even if you do reach it momentarily. Sustainability is what you’re after when you work towards a goal that brings a desired change.
In order to have sustainability, you need to fully embrace and consider how successfully attaining your goal will affect your life. It’s important to visualize your life as you imagine it will be once you’ve attained the goal. When you allow yourself to experience what successfully reaching the goal will feel like, you are giving yourself an upfront taste of the change it brings. Consider what aspects of your life will be different – better – after you’ve realized this goal. How will you feel? What are the emotions that come with this? What will be different about you – what will others see that is different? How will your life be improved by realizing this goal? Will you be healthier? Will you be wealthier? Will you be happier? Will you weigh less? Will you look different? Will you be more professionally fulfilled? Sometimes a goal you are working towards will impact other people. If this is the case for your goal, imagine how those other people will feel as well. What will be different in your relationship with them? How will their lives be enriched?
When you allow yourself to develop the image and visualize how your life will be after you successfully reach your goal, then you not only have an image but a feeling to carry with you during your journey to get there. You are beginning – as Stephen Covey says – with the “end” in mind. You are drawing a picture of the end result to put in your pocket and keep with you on your travels to get there. It serves as a constant reminder to you of what you are working towards and why.
So many times, we allow ourselves to get pulled off the road to achieving a goal. At the first sign of turbulence on the journey, we forget why we wanted to take the trip in the first place. This happens because we haven’t really bought into the end result before we ever took the first step towards it. If we can allow ourselves to concentrate on how victory will feel and what it will mean in our lives and possibly the lives of others, then we are more apt to “stay the course” when the road to it gets bumpy.
Next Week: Putting together the plan – the “How” and the “When” of goal setting.