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A dear friend once told me, "Success is something you attract by the person you become."
When I first heard those words, they really hit me. They made me think long and hard. As I pondered I kept asking myself, "What does that really mean? What kind of person would I need to become to attract the success I want?" Urged by my curiosity, my search for the meaning of those words began. In time I learned that the goals we set for ourselves and what we do each day determines our outcome. Our surroundings, friends, books, magazines, music, movies, and even video games influence the decisions we make and who we ultimately become.
We're affected by what we see, hear and feel. Unless we consciously choose how we want our lives to be, we'll just drift along with little or no sense of direction. If we don't know where we're going, then any road is good enough. More than likely, we'll end up where we don't want to be. However, when we take the time to decide what we want and work towards its attainment, we take control of our lives and where we end up. We become the creator of our own destiny. Instead of just drifting with the current, we chart our own course.
When we decide what we want and write them down, we set our goals. But what power do goals have? Why are they important? Simply put, we create our future in advance by the goals we set for ourselves. We create our destiny. We mold and shape our lives. Our goals become the map that guides us towards our destination. As we chart our course, our goals help us to stay on track. They help us develop confidence, personal power and drive. They give us something to look forward to.
In 1953, a study about goal setting was conducted with the graduating class of a leading University. Of the graduates that were surveyed, only 3% had written goals with a specific plan to achieve them. The other 97% of graduates didn't have clear, written goals. They just had a general idea of what they wanted. Twenty years later, a follow up study was conducted. The results of the study were amazing. When questioned on happiness, health and so on, the results were subjective. However, a measurable result was the net worth of the graduates. The financial wealth of the 3% that had clearly defined goals and a plan to achieve them was worth more than that of the remaining 97% combined. Think of it ... The 3% that had clear, written goals had more money than the combined net worth of the 97% who didn't have written goals! Incredible isn't it? That's the difference goals can make.
Set your goals so it will be easy to track your progress. Make SMART goals. This basically means that your goals are:
Specific – You have clearly defined what you want.
Measurable – It's easy to track your progress.
Attainable – Your goal is within your reach.
Realistic – What you've identified can be achieved when you want it to.
Time-sensitive – You have a target date to accomplish what you want.
Write Down Your Goals
The mere act of writing something down creates a deeper impression in your mind. People who write down their dreams and aspirations are more likely to fulfill them than those who don't. That's regardless of the goal or dream. That's why it's important to write down your goals. So grab a pen and a notebook. As we examine the five core areas of life, write down your goals for each category:
1. What are your Spiritual goals?
Let's face it. Not everyone views spirituality as being important. However, building a relationship with our Creator yields many rich rewards. That's why it's good to cultivate such a relationship. There's a certain inner calm and peace that comes from filling our spiritual need.
What kind of relationship would you like to have with your Creator? It's good to take the time to think about this. From personal experience, the quality of my life has improved significantly since I have started reading the Bible daily and reflecting on what I read. You too can experience the blessings and inner peace that comes from drawing close to God. For example, you could set a goal to read one chapter of the Bible each day.
2. What Do You Want Financially?
We all need money to survive. It is an essential part of life. Some people have mixed feelings about money. Others find it noble to be poor. They think it's materialistic and selfish to be rich. As a result, a lot of people don't even want to talk about money. It's like a sacred subject that should never be discussed. On the other extreme, some people spend their lives chasing after money. Making money becomes their chief aim in life. In their greed for money and what it can buy, they alienate people around them and take their loved ones for granted.
Neither of the two extremes is healthy. Constantly worrying about money, because you have too little or because you have too much, is not productive. Like any other tool, money must be handled with care. This is especially important to avoid undue stress. Just as how a butcher needs to handle the chopper carefully so he doesn't cut off his fingers, money must be handled with care so we don't sever important relationships or cause harm to ourselves.
There's nothing wrong with having lots of money. However, it's good to have a balanced view of money. Unlike popular beliefs, money in of itself is not the root of evil. The love of money is what we need to be careful of. The Bible says "Those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and hurtful desires, which plunge men into destruction and ruin. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things, and by reaching out for this love some have ... stabbed themselves all over with many pains." (2 Timothy 6:10-11)
Being rich doesn't necessarily mean being greedy. It's okay to have financial abundance. After all, some people inherit wealth. Others earn it by rendering honest service to others. However, the key is to put the right priority and value on money. Earning an income should not be at the sacrifice of other important things in our life. It shouldn't be at the loss of someone else's life savings. Neither should its acquisition cause harm to others.
We need to exercise good judgment when it comes to acquiring money so that we don't miss out on other important aspects of our lives like our spirituality or a good relationship with others. As we strive to make a living we need to bear in mind that money is just a tool to enable us to care for ourselves and our families. Of course it's also important to give back and help others as our circumstances permit.
To be good at any trade, you need to acquire new skills. The same principle applies to money. You need to acquire some financial smarts to get good at using money wisely. Make it a practice to keep a part of all you earn. Start where you can but strive to set aside ten percent or more. Basically for every dollar you make, put aside ten cents. This will mean that you have to develop self-control to avoid spending everything. The good thing about this is that you will have some money left over which will make you feel better over time as it starts to add up.
However, if you fail to do this you could become enslaved to debt. Then much of your focus will be on your bills which in turn will sap your energy and squeeze the joy out of life. It will be like you're on a treadmill that never stops. Instead of being excited to wake up each day, you'll dread getting up. However, if that's how you feel right now, don't be discouraged. If you wise up, you can reverse that and turn things around. You will just need to pay close attention to what you are reading now and actually apply it.
Okay. It's time to write down your financial goals. Write down where you are now and where you want to be. Then write down a few actions you will take to get you to where you want to be. Just remember, only money gained from honest efforts will last so make sure the steps you have in mind are legal and ethical!
3. HOW GOOD DO YOU WANT YOUR RELATIONSHIPS TO BE?
No one is an island. We all need a sense of connection with others to feel complete. Even the shyest person needs to be loved and touched. We are born with the need to connect with others. However, we also need time alone to refresh our spirit. As you write your relationship goals, be sure to set goals to build up: 1) yourself, 2) your family and 3) your friends.
4. What Do You Want to Do as a Career?
Remember when you were a kid? Can you recall what you wanted to be when you grew up? Back then everything seemed possible. You didn't even wonder how it was going to happen. You just knew things would work out. When you were done talking, everyone believed you. You spoke with passion, a sense of purpose and a sense of pride. What about now? Are you doing what you want to do? Or did you give up on your dreams? Did life get in the way?
If you're not doing what you would like to do, it's still within reach. You can still realize your dreams. It's not too late. If 70 and 80 year olds can go back to school and complete their High School Diploma or graduate from University, you can do whatever you're still dreaming of doing!
Take the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) for example. Colonel Saunders never gave up on his dreams. Even in his sixties he still cherished his dreams and took steps to make them come true. Today, KFC is a worldwide phenomenon because he never viewed himself as too old to go for what he wanted.
Another example is Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb. Before he figured out how to make bulbs, he first discovered over a thousand ways not to create the light bulb. Yet those 'failed' experiments didn't deter him. He kept going. He didn't waste his time talking to himself about why he couldn't do it. He just kept going until he did. Just take a page from his book and learn from him. Never give up on yourself!
But what if you're already doing what you want to do? Is there anything else you would like to accomplish? Anything you want to change? Think about it. If there's anything you still want to go for, just put it in writing and go for it. Go ahead ... get your pen and paper. Write down what you want. Next write down how you plan to go about getting there.
Just remember to never use your age as an excuse to avoid going after your dreams. Regardless or whether you think you're too young or you're too old. Just set your goals and do one thing each day towards it. Before you know it, you will have some good momentum going and each day you will get closer and closer towards fulfilling your dream!
5. What Kind of Health do you want?
I don't know about you, but I like having nice flat abs and a toned body. I'm also a straight woman so I pay attention to how men carry themselves. In men, I like a nice six pack and muscular biceps. You can laugh. I was laughing too when I wrote this. Physically, I'm drawn to that stuff. Of course, a handsome face is also a given.
Very few people have the natural metabolism that requires little effort to maintain a nice physique. Besides, our bodies change as we grow. So it does take some effort to maintain the kind of look that you want. One of the things that I constantly strive for is the same physique and energy level that I had as a teenager. I'm taller now, so I have grown out of most of my clothes. But it still feels good to be able to try on a dress that I wore when I was nineteen and know it still fits. On the other hand, I don't mind giving up some lousy habits that I've had since I was young. One particular weakness I can think of is my love for sweets. I love candies. This doesn't go so well when you have a family history of diabetes. To help me stay in shape I set health goals, monitor what I eat and exercise regularly.
What about you? Have you thought about your health goals? What kind of body do you want? How low do you want to keep your cholesterol level? How about your blood pressure? Remember there will be sacrifices involved but stay focused on the rewards at the end.
It's also important to build friendships with people who enjoy working out and eating healthy. If you can find one or more reliable friends with similar health goals as you, partner up with them. It's good to have someone to hold you accountable. Having one or more friends to hold you accountable could mean the difference between sticking to your goals versus giving up.
Being healthy goes beyond what you look like. That's why it's important to feed your mind and nourish your emotions. What you feed your mind with affects your outlook on life. In turn, your outlook affects your physical health. How many books would you like to read per month? How often do you want to go out and socialize? These are both factors that affect your health.
Take the time now to jot down some health goals. Set some goals to improve your physical, emotional and mental well being. Then act in harmony with your goals. It's pointless to have a goal to lose weight then feast on burgers all day long and never exercise. So make sure your actions support your goals.
As you work on your written goals, your efforts will compound. Over time you will attract what you want by the actions you take. This will prove true in all areas that you focus on. Yes, it takes focus and discipline. That's the part of the puzzle that makes it all work!
"It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not." ~Author Unknown
The main reason people hold back from going after their dreams can be summed up in one word: fear. Fear of failure. Fear of the unknown. Fear of what their family and friends will think. Before embarking on their dreams they hesitate, often thinking what if I lose all my money? What if I don't make it? What if I get sick? What if? What if? What if ...
It's natural to feel nervous when undertaking an endeavor that takes you out of your comfort zone. This is where the element of fear comes in. It's not that you can't do something. In most instances the actual work is quite easy to do. Yet, if you give way to doubt, it's easier to not even try.
Sometimes it takes courage
Personally, I'm a pretty outgoing person who makes friends easily. Recently, I went to an event for some spiritual encouragement and to make some new friends. The first half of the event was good. I took notes diligently as I listened to each speaker. I was totally in my element as I took notes. Though I went to the event by myself, there were about nine hundred other people present. A pretty good size crowd. Hence, there was plenty of opportunity to fulfill my second objective to make new friends.
The real test came at lunch time when it was time to get up and branch out to make friends. Now, I'm not a shy person but in that moment I was both shy and nervous. A million thoughts ran through my mind. Who do I talk to first? What will I say? There are some young people like me; maybe I'll go talk to them. Oh no, there's too many of them. I'll go later. I don't want to draw too much attention to myself by going over there now. Those are just a few thoughts that popped in my head. Why was I so nervous? I think it was because I went to the event alone. Because of that, I felt a bit awkward when it was time to strike up a conversation. The funny thing is, when I'm around my friends it's easy to make conversations with strangers. But in this case, the comfort of having someone else there was missing. I felt alone in that moment. As a result, it took a lot more courage to get that first conversation going.
To shake off the nervousness, I got up and went to the bathroom. As I was on my way out of the bathroom, I bumped into an old friend. This is someone I knew from when I was a teenager. We both went to the same high school. The last time I saw her was about five years ago. As I pushed the door open, our eyes connected. In unison we exclaimed, "Oh Hi!"
We were both happy and surprised to see each other. Here was my friend with a newborn baby in one hand and a phone to her ear in the other hand. Using discretion, I just smiled and walked back to my seat. I figured I would try to touch base with her again before the lunch break was up. Her hands were full, and it wasn't a good time to talk. Besides, she was on the phone and it's always best to avoid blocking the bathroom entrance. Blocking it would be an invitation to get run over by someone who really had to use to the bathroom.
Excerpted from Attract Success Every Day by Menacole O'Sullivan Copyright © 2011 by Menacole O'Sullivan. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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