Setting Goals

Every student has a goal they are pursuing.  It could be a degree, knowledge gain, or an investment of one’s spare time.  But there are ways to work the mind to make those goals more realistic.  Here are some ways to control the mindset for optimal performance at school, work, or hobbies

Set goals that get you closer to your dreams and that excite you.  Imagine you are a woman with a severe disability with a goal of one day earning a six-figure salary as a corporate director.  This may sound unrealistic, but it is very attainable.  The only limitations are the ones we impose on ourselves.

Inject positive energy and enthusiasm into your goal.  Catch the negative emotions like fish in a net.  Throw those negative emotions away and replace them with healthy ones.  For instance, if you feel flooded with negative emotions because your professor assigns too many assignments in one week, don’t let fear paralyze you.  Instead, say, “I can do this and here are my strategies.” Variables that could be adjusted include time spent studying, extracurricular distractions, study strategies, tutors, visualizations of meeting deadlines.

Reject or redefine limiting beliefs.  Everybody has self-doubt, self-criticism, and negative thinking.  We must overcome those negativities by first recognizing them.  We then need to reframe the negatives into positives.  Imagine someone at work directs a negative comment at you and you feel crushed.  Perhaps this feeling has been exasperated by memories of the past when you were ganged up on by fellow students, scarring you emotionally.  Thus, it’s important to overcome the tendency to feel over-sensitive in such scenarios.  Specifically, you need to reframe the situation so you come across as confident and pleasant—the person people love to be around.

As another example, the barista at a coffee shop may see serving coffee as her upper limit for careers.  But if she reduced her limiting beliefs, she could apply for professional careers, perhaps pursuing a degree as a medical doctor.

Think, “I’m going to get the best skills for the best job imaginable.” Don’t go for the F, no matter what your past might try to dictate.  Only you know what the best is.  Everybody has different ambitions, and everybody defines success differently.  Imagine you have no past holding you back.  You are brand new to this world.  Given this, what skills will you acquire and what best possible education and career will you claim?  You are writing over past limiting beliefs, replacing them with your best possible outcome.  Everyone is plagued with limiting beliefs, but everyone has the power to overcome them.

Lose fixed beliefs.  Striving for new heights can at first be uncomfortable.  For instance, if to advance in our career path we need to get a degree and we don’t even have our high-school, this can cause pain.  But if we see the new life trajectory as an adventure—an opportunity to flourish—then we’ve bypassed much of the discomfort that can prevent us from moving forward.

Manage emotions and fears.  Get centered to achieve this state.  Centering helps you overlook past mistakes and minimize worries.  This enables you to focus more clearly on your objectives.  Visualizing success and allowing your emotions to meet that higher state helps with getting centered.  Let go of the negative shadows of your past, your weaker perceptions of your self-image, or the opinions of others.

Research the best possible outcomes.  You can look at examples.  If you are looking for a new job, search for ten-year trends for job demand.  Also, look at which careers are in high demand.  Also, talk to career counsellors at local universities.

Make constant adjustments.  This may include pursuing studies or skills development through courses, books, coaches, or any other resources.  A stock trader has changes throughout the day and they need to redirect their strategies at any given moment to prevent losses.  Adjusting is necessary when operating under uncertainty.  And everything in life is uncertain.

Get hyper-focused on the goal.  Remove as many distractions as possible.  Also, spend 90% or more of your time focused on your goal realization.

Reflect on what could be improved.  This means don’t keep applying to jobs that are disappearing, for instance.  Or don’t go into a university program that has a high probability of obsolescence over the next decade.

Consider an imaginary person named Jane Doe.  In the past, Jane Doe saw her disability or skin color as a limiting factor to what she could achieve.  She had her part-time job for fifteen years but recently lost her job.  She thought that was the best she could achieve.

But instead of seeing the job loss as a negative, she decided to neutralize the response and apply positive energy.  She discovers that orthopedic services have been backed up due to lack of staff.  So she takes a two-year licensed practical nurse program and starts work at a higher income in a job that she loves.

If you like learning, then why wouldn’t you get thoroughly educated to realize your best imaginable future?

The biggest ingredient for realizing any goal is the willingness to change.

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