Are you familiar with the steps necessary to reach a goal?  First, define what you want and write it down. Second, make sure your goal is congruent with the other aspects of your life. Third, build an actionable blueprint by developing a detailed plan. Unfortunately, since goals push us out of our comfort zones and put us in unfamiliar territory where we have no idea what we’re doing, we inevitably encounter one obstacle after another. Consequently, when we reach a point of frustration, we usually call the whole thing off because it’s too overwhelming to continue. That said, not everyone who tries goal setting fails. Not everyone’s goals break down. A few people have breakthroughs.   

How can you do it, too?

Add a few extra steps, such as visualization, intermediate rewards, and recalibration to sustain your motivation through all of the errors and terrors of trying to achieve your lofty purpose. 

Visualize: Achieve Your Goal Before You Achieve It  

Envisioning yourself as already having achieved your goal does far more than charge you with enthusiasm. You are also giving your subconscious mind clear instructions on the target you want to hit. While you may not consciously know the details of how to go from where you are now to where you want to be, visualization primes your subconscious mind to search your memory banks and scan your environment for all possible clues on how to complete your mission. When you visualize your ideal future, you are creating mental images and emotions about your outcome.  

Reward: Celebrate Every Milestone  

Although you might consider your goal as a reward, it’s a better practice to reward yourself with intermediate goals along the way to keep your spirits up. Reward yourself for milestones achieved. 

If your goal is to build a million-dollar business, then reward yourself after your first sale. A tangible reward will reinforce the message that you are on your way to achieving your big, hairy, audacious goal. The rewards should be something to look forward to and in line with the feat. For example, you might not want to buy yourself a Porsche based on the first sale, but a spa day might be good. Other rewards could be a round of golf at your favorite course, a new pair of shoes or even  

Recalibrate: Getting Lost Is Part of the Game

Since childhood, authority figures have vigorously discouraged us from making mistakes — although this is the primary way humans learn anything. Worse still, they criticized us for making mistakes. Our parents criticized our behavior; our teachers, our academic work; and our coaches, our athletic skills. After many years of criticism, we’ve developed a fear of making mistakes and now condemn ourselves for making them. But this self-critical attitude is anthemic to goal-setting. If you already know how to do everything perfectly, it would not be a goal; it would be an activity. 

Setting a goal means that you’re trying to do something that you don’t yet know how to do. Since you don’t know how to do it, it’s irrational to assume that you’ll adeptly avoid blunders. Rather than seeing mistakes as obstacles, view them as feedback loops. Learn from your mistakes by analyzing them. 

Ask yourself provocative questions: 

  • What were you trying to do? 
  • Where and when did things go wrong? 
  • Why and how did you make the mistake? 

Similar to the GPS in your car, recalibrate when you turn on the wrong street. By recalibrating, you will find the right street. By recalibrating often enough, you will eventually head in the correct direction toward your destination. 

Do: Something Good

Nothing feels better than doing something good for someone else. This can be on a small personal scale or something good for the environment. Volunteer at a local shelter, take your elderly neighbor a meal and check on them  —  these are great ways to make someone’s day and yours too.

Another way is to do something to help the planet, which in turn is good for the human race. Recycle your coffee cup, walk to work once in a while, or enjoy “meatless” Monday. You can even help by making your car more energy efficient. If, for example, you drive a Subaru, check out an upgrade like an Accessport V3, an ECU from a Subaru aftermarket parts automotive engineering company. It allows you to make insightful calibrations the use less gas.

The reason people start a project but don’t finish it is because they have only worked out a goal and a plan. They did not have psychological systems in place to stay the course. By adding visualization, intermediate rewards, and recalibration, you’ll have the effective tools you need to finish what you start.