How To Achieve Your Goals In 3 Simple Steps

image of beautiful view

“You rise to a higher level of consciousness by taking your attention away from your present limitations and placing it upon that which you desire to be. Do not attempt this in day-dreaming or wishful thinking but in a positive manner. Claim yourself to be the thing desired. I AM that; no sacrifice, no diet, no human tricks. All that is asked of you is to accept your desire. If you dare claim it, you will express it.”

– Neville, Your Faith Is Your Fortune, p. 33

 

Almost all of us are looking at things backwards.

We think in terms of quick fixes and get rich quick schemes.

We are so focused on having what it is we want, that we don’t seriously consider the process it takes to get there.

You want to have untold riches. Once you hold massive wealth, you’ll start doing the things that a wealthy person would do. Things like saving money and donating to charity can wait until after you have all that money; normal people can’t afford to do that.

And once you’ve started to do these things that wealthy people do, you at last will feel fulfilled by being the prosperous person you have always wanted to be.

Wrong!

Things simply do not work that way.

This completely ignores the important question of how to get to that point of wealth. In other words, the process.

 

The Be-Do-Have Mentality

You can take the previous example I gave and call it the Have-Do-Be Mentality.

First you have the wealth, then you do what a wealthy person does, and then you become the prosperous person that you wanted.

A much better alternative is the reverse, or the Be-Do-Have Mentality.

First you must be a prosperous person, then you will do the things that a wealthy person does, and then you will have true wealth.

If you are sane right now and you just read that, there should be an obvious question on your mind: how the heck are you supposed to be the person you want to be before you have what they have?

I’ll get to that in a moment, but first I want to very briefly outline the 3 step process for achieving anything you want.

Step 1: Define what it is you want. Figure out what beliefs a person who has already achieved your goal has. Adopt those beliefs.

Step 2: What actions would a person who has achieved your goal take? Do the same actions.

Step 3: Your goal will manifest itself.

Alright, let’s get started!

You will want to bookmark this page and skim through it once to get an idea of the process and then go back through it again to do the exercises.

 

Step 1: The “Be” Phase

If the Be phase is the first step in this process, it must be something that you can accomplish now.

Go back and read the quote at the beginning of this post again. Much wisdom can be distilled from it. “Claim yourself to be the thing desired…if you dare claim it, you will express it.”

You must make a decision to be the person who you want to be.

You aren’t deciding that you want to try and eventually become that person.

No.

You are that person right now.

Does this sound like being delusional? Am I crazy?

At first it can be hard to see how it is possible to simply “be” this ideal person. This is completely understandable if you have been using the Have-Do-Be Mentality your entire life.

First we need to define what it means to be a successful person for the sake of this discussion. A successful person embodies the vision of the successes that they want to have. In other words, to “be” is a mindset rather than a result.

Therefore, the Be phase requires acting as if you have already achieved the success that you want.

Note: Finding out what it is you actually want to be can be challenging in itself. I encourage you to consider finding your values,  writing a mission statement, and using the starting from zero technique to help you determine this.

The next obvious question: how do you embody the vision of the success you want to have?

How Our Beliefs Impact Who We Are

Your beliefs are a very fundamental part of who you are.

It is your beliefs that give you the unique lens through which you view the world.

Since the Do phase involves you acting as if you achieved the success you were looking for, you must first believe in that success.

This doesn’t mean you must be delusional (“I have $100 million and it’s time to spend it all because I’m rich!”), but rather that you should put yourself into the mind of this successful person.

image of a man with a wad of cash

Therefore, the answer to the above question is that to embody the success you want, you must think like a person who already has it!

Most people don’t realize it, but you have the power to choose your beliefs. They were not written in stone before you were born, leaving you powerless to change them.

In fact, your beliefs are constantly changing.

The trick to the Be phase, then, is to choose empowering beliefs.

After all, beliefs don’t cost anything and they are for you alone, so you might as well pick the most useful beliefs that you possibly can.

For example, if you want to have wealth, you must think like a wealthy person. One of the beliefs that a wealthy person might have would be: “I don’t work for money, I make my money work for me.”

So when you go into work, you don’t think about how you need to work just to get by, but rather you work because it is an investment of some sort.

There is no difference in action here, just a change of mindset.

This can be applied to anything you want to have, not just wealth.

Do you want to date lots of beautiful women? Then you need to think like Casanova.

Do you want to have an A-list blog? Then you need to think like an A-list blogger.

Exercise #1: Visualize what you want to have.

Take a moment and consider what you want to have.

Now imagine that you already have it.

Put yourself into some common situations while imagining that you have what you want.

What thoughts go through your head in these situations? What beliefs do you have? How do you act, and how do your actions reflect those beliefs?

Exercise #2: Learn from others.

Sometimes it can be difficult to imagine yourself thinking in a different way.

But if someone else has the result you want, you can learn a lot from that person.

If you know them, talk to them. Maybe you can find an autobiography of somebody relevant. Either way, try and get into that person’s head. See if they have beliefs that differ from your own.

Let’s say you want to have a great library in your house. One of your current beliefs might be “I’ll probably have another opportunity to pick up any great books that I see.”

But most likely a person with a great library would believe just the opposite: “If I see a great book, I may not come across it again.”

Which person is more likely to add a great book to their library when they see it?

Any specific result you want will have a large variety of possible beliefs that you can adopt that will help you to be the person you want.

You should keep in mind that it is more important to find beliefs that are useful and empowering than ones that are necessarily true.

It’s ok to pick beliefs that at first don’t seem to have much truth value, so long as the belief is useful.

This is your excuse to be just a little bit delusional :)

Here are two beliefs that will be useful to you no matter what your goal:

Belief #1: There is abundance in the universe.

There is more than enough to go around.

Whatever it is that you are seeking is readily available.

If you know that when you go to the store, there is always dark chocolate there, you wouldn’t worry about running out of dark chocolate, right?

But when you don’t believe in abundance, you feel like you have less choice or control, and you feel stuck.

Don’t worry about not having enough of what it is you seek; there is plenty.

The more it seems as though there is no abundance, the more important it is that you hold this belief.

I highly suggest you read this post on the abundance mentality in order to strengthen this belief.

Belief #2: The world is ok the way it is, and I am grateful for it.

You must accept yourself fully.

While you may observe shortcomings in your life, you do not approach them with hope and desire. Instead of wanting more of something, show gratitude for it’s abundance.

You may not have seen a good book to add to your library in months, but rather than lamenting their absence, you show gratitude for what you do have and therefore accept the presence of good books in your life.

And rather than merely hoping that you will come across some good books soon, you fully expect to. After all, there is abundance in the universe!

Before moving on, take some time to write down a list of beliefs that would be useful to you and that a person with the results you want would believe.

How Do You Change Your Beliefs?

Even though it can seem like a daunting task to change your beliefs, it’s actually not that difficult.

The beliefs you currently hold are there because of conditioning.

Over the years, you have “practiced” holding a belief, so it’s no surprise that your current beliefs may seem more natural or more “correct” than the new ones.

Baloney.

The majority of your beliefs are a product of being indoctrinated as a child by your parents, your peers, and many others.

You didn’t choose these beliefs. Most of them were instilled in you by accident.

There is no reason to think that your current belief set is any more “natural” or true than the belief set of any other human being who’s beliefs were instilled accidentally (aka, all of us).

Your current beliefs are mostly accidental, but wouldn’t it make more sense to have beliefs that are strategically designed to be as useful to you as possible?

Adding and removing beliefs is a matter of conditioning.

You must “practice” having new beliefs and “practice” not having old ones that aren’t useful.

Exercise #3: Use affirmations to help add new beliefs.

An affirmation is simply a statement of belief, and can be written or verbal.

If you decide to do them verbally, you should try saying your affirmations in front of a mirror. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I always prefer to write things down.

First, you need to take your list of new beliefs and convert them into high quality affirmations.

Remember the three P’s: positive, personal, and present tense.

Positive means phrasing it in the way you want things to be rather than the way you don’t want. Use “I take advantage of opportunities I come across” instead of  “I don’t miss opportunities.”

Our brains can’t process negatives, so your unconscious mind would interpret “I don’t miss opportunities” as “I miss opportunities”, or it just wouldn’t register at all. Either way, it’s bad.

Personal means using the first person. Use “I am…” rather than “You are…”

Lastly, keep your affirmation in the present tense. Use “I am…” instead of “I was…” or “I will be…”

Make writing down your affirmations the first thing you do in your morning routine.

Commit to doing this daily for the next thirty days. Feel free to continue doing this beyond the thirty days, but promise yourself that you will do it for a full month.

Exercise #4: Use visualization to help add or remove beliefs.

We’re always told how powerful of a tool visualization is, and changing your beliefs is arguably the best use of it.

Imagine a picture of yourself embodying the ideal result that you seek, and make it as vivid as possible. Include as many of the five senses as you possibly can in your visualization, because the more real it seems, the more effective it will be.

The longer you can keep this picture of the ideal vision of yourself in your mind, the more “practice” you are giving your new beliefs.

Exercise #5: Fake it til you make it.

Even if you cant possibly imagine holding the beliefs that you want to instill, you can at least pretend that you hold them.

Start acting as though you already have the result that you want (here we are delving into the Do phase, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves).

If you want to be wealthy, you can “pretend” to already be wealthy by wearing your suit. Get creative here, and don’t take it too seriously.

Read ahead through the Do phase (and Exercise #11 in particular) section to get a better idea of what specific actions you can take for this exercise.

Exercise #6: Utilize your Reticular Activating System  (RAS) to change your beliefs. 

The RAS is the part of your brain responsible for arousal and motivation (among many other things), but what is especially important for our purposes is that it controls attention.

The RAS is the unconscious “filter” of your mind, picking out bits of information relevant to whatever your conscious mind finds important.

When you focus your attention on something, your RAS immediately begins to look for reinforcement. If you hold a belief, your RAS will seek out evidence to reinforce that belief.

Can you see where I’m going with this?

image of a brain

This exercise generally works best with no more than one or two beliefs at a time. Despite that drawback, I don’t know of anything more effective in changing your beliefs than utilizing your RAS.

First, pick a belief you want to adopt and write it down on the top of a piece of paper. You will be carrying this piece of paper around with you. Anytime you see evidence in support of that belief, write it down on that paper. If paper is too inconvenient, you can use your phone or some other method, but it must get logged somewhere.

At the end of the day, take out your piece of paper and look over the evidence you have written down. Consider the evidence for a few moments, and then put the paper away.

Do this every day for a week and you will be well on your way to re-programming your brain.

I want to give an example of using the RAS to help clarify the exercise. Let’s say the belief you want to add is “there is abundance in the universe.”

You carry your piece of paper around with you when you leave your apartment and head to the train station. A homeless man comes up to you and you give him $5. That’s extra money that you were able to share! Write it down.

While sitting at your desk, a coworker approaches you and asks you to help him with a project. You have enough time to help him! Write it down. Continue doing this for the rest of the day.

I’ve covered four exercises that can help you change your beliefs. I highly recommend trying all of them. If you find some work better than others for you, then feel free to take what works and discard the rest.

I know you probably want to skip over these exercises.

“Whatever Mike, this stuff is useless. Just tell me the secret to achieving anything!”

Well let me tell you, the Be phase is most certainly not useless ya whippersnapper! If there were a “secret” to achieving anything, this phase would be it!

 

Step 2: The “Do” Phase

The Do phase is all about action.

You must do the things that a person who has achieved the result you seek would do.

Not coincidentally, these should be the same things that you would automatically begin doing after you complete the Be phase.

By taking the Be phase seriously, you are at a huge advantage during the Do phase.

In fact, the biggest threat to succeeding in the Do phase is that you might regress back in the Be phase.

If you don’t do the actions consistent with the ideal vision you created during the Be phase, you have regressed.

This is fine; just spend more time on the Be phase, and particularly Exercise #6, utilizing your RAS.

Exercise #7: Ask yourself: “Am I being the person I decided that I want to be?”

Do this regularly (at least once per day).

If the answer is yes, great! If the answer is no (be honest!), accept it, and then go back to the Be phase and continue doing those exercises.

Finding Your Triggers

A trigger is just a cue or a prompt to exhibit a certain behavior.

For example, a trigger of mine is the time of 10:00 PM on Sundays. As soon as the trigger hits, I know that I must immediately find a couch to sit on with a good view of Breaking Bad.

Triggers are an important concept for people recovering from an addiction.

People who smoke cigarettes daily almost always have at least one behavioral trigger (usually many more) that cues them that it is time to smoke a cigarette, and leads to a massive craving.

Many smokers will always have a smoke when they wake up, right before bed, after meals, whenever they see or smell somebody else smoking a cigarette, or when exposed to any number of other possible triggers.

To fight the addiction, smokers will analyze themselves to find out what their triggers are.

For triggers that are avoidable (i.e. when they hang out with a certain person), a common strategy is to avoid it, and thus not trigger the strong desire to smoke.

Many triggers are unavoidable, however. If waking up is a trigger, it would not be a very effective strategy to “avoid” waking up.

Rather, they will come up with a healthy replacement behavior decided upon in advance. When the smoker wakes up, he’ll brew a cup of green tea instead of smoking.

You are going to learn from the recovering smoker.

But for you, the trigger is not necessarily something that makes you crave a cigarette.

Rather, it is something that causes you to behave in a way incongruent with your ideal self.

image of a gun

Exercise #8: Determine your triggers.

Think about your daily life and the situations you are in regularly.

Your triggers will be defined as the situations or stimuli that cause you to do (or crave doing) a behavior that isn’t in alignment with the character that you are being.

For example, if Joel wants to be a fitness model, he needs to be someone who eats healthy. But every time he walks past the candy store he just has to buy some candy.

This behavior is not in alignment, and therefore walking past a candy store is one of Joel’s triggers.

In addition to situations being triggers, things like emotions can function that way as well. Perhaps Joel will binge eat when he is bored. Here, boredom is the trigger.

For this exercise, you should spend some time thinking about your typical day.

You will almost certainly think of several possible triggers. These are just the obvious ones, but it’s a good start.

To really help understand your triggers better, you will need to carry a notepad or piece of paper with you “out in the field”.

Just go about your day as usual. Anytime you notice a significant increase in your desire to do something incongruent, write down the time of day as well as a sentence or two describing your emotional state and the circumstances you are in.

Doing this for a few days will help you find all sorts of triggers that you would never have thought of on your own.

It can also be helpful to go back to exercise #7 and ask yourself, “Am I Being the person I decided that I want to be?”

This question gets to the heart of the matter, and gives you a strong criteria for whether or not a behavior is congruent.

Choosing The Right Behaviors

The list of triggers that you have created has armed you well for the Do phase.

By performing the previous exercise, you now have a good idea of which scenarios might be troublesome for you.

This process leaves nothing to chance. That is why you are going to come up with a replacement behavior for your triggers.

A replacement behavior is an action that would be in alignment with who you are being and you can do instead of the incongruent action.

Exercise #9: Plan your replacement behaviors and avoidance strategies.

You might be able to use the same replacement behavior for a number of different triggers, but some triggers may require a unique replacement behavior.

The point of this exercise is to have a plan so that you know in advance how you will react to a trigger.

Let’s use Joel, the future fitness model, as an example.

Some of his triggers are: walking past a candy store, being bored while at home, seeing other people eating dessert foods, smelling sweet foods, anxiety, being tired, and being in a rush. All of these triggers give him a craving to either binge eat or consume junk food.

Are there any triggers that can be avoided?

If there is a particular candy store that Joel tends to walk past on his commute, he can take a detour and walk an extra three blocks to get to and from work. He gets an extra few minutes of walking in per day, plus he avoids a situation that would often have him eating junk food.

Joel can use a replacement behavior to deal with his trigger of being bored at home. Whenever he feels bored, that is his cue to drop down and do ten push ups. This will stimulate him and thus help cope with his boredom.

The other triggers are harder to predict, so they are slightly trickier.

I would suggest that he keep fruit or some other healthy snack on his person at all times when he is not home. That way he can replace unhealthy eating behavior with a healthier alternative.

He knows that when he sees his coworkers going to the vending machine, he can take a bite out of his apple instead. As long as he keeps food on him, he can hastily respond to any of the triggers.

Since one of Joel’s triggers is being tired, he can take steps to reduce his tiredness. He can develop better sleep habits, which would leave him exposed to the trigger less often, as well as providing its own health benefits.

If you have any good examples of creative replacement behaviors or if you need help coming up with them, leave a comment below.

Success Is A Habit

Dealing with your triggers is only half of the Do phase.

The previous exercises helped you to stop doing things that are incongruent, but what about proactively doing the extra things that the person you are being would do?

Joel needs to act as if he were a fitness model, and that entails much more than simply avoiding junk food.

He must have a workout program, a nutrition plan, a good sleep schedule, and maybe some supplementation.

image of a muscular dude

Since you have done your due diligence during the Be phase, it should be much easier to be proactive during the Do phase.

Exercise #10: Figure out what actions you would take if you had the result you are looking for.

A lot of these behaviors are things that you have thought of during the Be phase, so compile a list of those.

Add in any behaviors that you thought of while working with your triggers.

You should consider doing additional research on people who already have achieved the goal, by talking to them and spending more time with them, looking online for information, or reading their biographies and autobiographies.

Lastly, as you go about being, act the way you feel appropriate and take note of any new situations or behaviors that you hadn’t considered yet.

Now you have a list of new behaviors that you’ll want to begin implementing.

And because you are being the ideal vision of yourself, these behaviors should take hold effortlessly!

…not.

Unfortunately it’s never quite that easy in practice.

The fact of the matter is, you are a creature of habit. This means that at least in the beginning, until you have established the new behaviors as habits, you will experience some difficulty and resistance to change.

That’s ok. You don’t need to completely change overnight.

I have a number of tips for helping make new habits stick, but first I want you to remember this: success is a habit, not a result.

Your measure of success is your ability to persist with these habits and be able to align your being and your doing.

This is the path of mastery, and it is a worthy path to travel.

It is also far and away the most effective way to achieve what you wanted!

Here are a few of the best ways to form new habits that stick:

  1. Take it slow. You cant expect to go from never working out a day in your life to 4 days a week if you do it all at once. If you do everything at once you WILL be overwhelmed. Instead, focus on making progress by working out once or twice a week and then increasing your commitment when you are used to that lower level.
  2. Start with habits that require little to no time. It can be hard to schedule a workout program into your week, but it doesn’t take any time to stop drinking soda and replace it with water or green tea. These habits don’t interfere as much with your life, so it can be less of a shock to implement them.
  3. Perform a 30 Day Trial. Commit to just thirty days of fully implementing the new behavior. Make sure it is something that you are capable of sticking with for the full 30 days. At the end of the trial, feel free to ditch the new behavior if it just isn’t working for you. Of course, by the time you have done it for 30 days straight, it will already be a habit and it should be easy to stick with.
  4. Make yourself accountable. I think the best way of doing this is to tell one or two of your close friends what you are trying to do, and have them be harsh with you if you don’t follow through on it. If you can somehow tie in a financial interest it’s even better. Let’s say you wanted to go to the gym three days per week. Give your buddy $240 at the beginning of the month and have him give you back $20 each time you go. At the end of the month he can keep the money that you haven’t earned back.
  5. Have a mentor. If you know someone who already has achieved the result you are after, have them mentor you. Get them to help you and encourage you to start up habits that are new for you but trivial for them.
  6. Don’t let setbacks derail you. You are not perfect. There is precisely a 0% chance that you will do everything right the first time. If you have to slow down or only do one thing at a time, fine. If you miss a day on a new habit, don’t worry about it! The worst thing you can do is use that as an excuse (“Well…I guess if I didn’t do it yesterday, I don’t have to do it today…”) to fall off the horse. Just hop right back on.

Here it is again: success is a habit, not a result.

Exercise #11: Whatever it is you seek, you must give it away to someone else.

If you ultimately seek wealth, donate more to charity. If you want more love, make someone else feel loved. If you want people to compliment you on how good you look, complement someone else about how good they look. If you want to feel happiness, make someone else feel happier.

This is far and away the most important exercise of the Do phase, if not the whole process itself. If you were to only do one thing contained in this post, it would be this exercise.

I know, it sounds useless if not counter-productive.

But I guarantee you there is no more effective of a technique than this.

How does it work?

Think back, several thousand words ago, to the first belief I asked you to adopt.

Remember, there is abundance in the universe. There is more than enough to go around.

In fact, what you give away is something that you must already have in the first place!

By giving something away you experience that you have it to give away. Having that experience is a shortcut to having your being in alignment with your doing.

Suddenly, it is so much easier to be congruent with the image of your ideal self, because you actually got to experience it for real.

 

Step 3: The “Have” Phase

The Have phase can manifest in two different ways.

First, after being your ideal vision of yourself and doing the things that you would do as that person, you directly and objectively accomplish your goal.

Or, after being your ideal vision of yourself and doing the things that you would do as that person, your experience reflects that of someone who objectively accomplished your goal.

If you put in a good effort on both the Be and the Do phases, you will inevitably reach the Have phase, in one of its manifestations.

I know EXACTLY what some of you out there are thinking right now:

“What a bunch of BS! I have to put in all this hard work and there is still a good chance of not objectively achieving my goal!?!?”

This is a completely understandable thought process.

After all, if you haven’t even begun putting in the work yet, the task can seem quite daunting, and the reward ephemeral.

What this viewpoint neglects is that even without objectively “having” what it was you sought, you still have the entirety of the experience of being who you wanted to be.

If you have the same belief set, or lens through which to view the world, and you act in the same way, you end up with the same feeling of fulfillment regardless of what happens.

image of meditating man

Success is a habit, not a result.

Whenever you observe success in any field or endeavor, ignore the result and look for the process. Observing somebody else’s result gives you no useful information.

Most people are motivated to get in shape when they see someone else who has a great body, but seeing the great body doesn’t actually help you get one.

The real value, the real success, is in how they got to that point.

There is one remaining exercise for you.

It can be tempting to just pat yourself on the back for having read over 5000 words and just ignore it, but that would be a mistake.

Exercise #12: Express gratitude.

You did it!

But you didn’t do it alone.

All along your journey to achieving your goals you have received assistance from others.

Take a moment to appreciate their contributions.

When you are done with that, contact the people who contributed the most, and personally thank them.

 

Conclusion

Be grateful for the abundance of the universe. This abundance provides you with a world of unlimited possibilities and opportunities.

No matter what you want to achieve, it is within your reach. You are so close!

By taking advantage of the Be-Do-Have Mentality, you can create a very clear path to success and building the life you desire.

I would like to thank you, anonymous reader, for making it this far down the page with me.

If you try using this process, please let me know how it works for you!

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Comments

  1. Marion Moonsommy says:

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  2. Thank you so much for outlining a roadmap to helping us achieve the life we wish to lead. Your “Be. Do. Have. Model” is one that I can use in my daily practices and is simple to understand. Of course the challenge will be the ongoing execution but a worthy endeavor to take on as the new year rolls in. Thanks again!
    Beckcy Densmore recently posted..Letting GoMy Profile

    • Yes, perhaps when I called them “simple steps” it was a slight…exaggeration. That being said, the concept is not hard to understand and is totally doable. As you said, the challenge is continuing to stick with it, but I found that when I put it into this mental framework, a lot of positive results happened.

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  4. Thank you, that was very useful!

    • Your welcome! I wrote this partly to have it be a reference for myself, so I tried to make it as useful/comprehensive as possible.

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  15. […] we are emotionally and intellectually aware of what it is we want in our lives, and yet we delay action on […]

  16. […] I’ll bet you do care about your own personal goals. And I’ll bet it bothers you considerably when you experience setbacks. It certainly bothers […]

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