So you want to lose weight, buy a yacht, or retire young and in good health?.
Imagining success helps, but it isn't enough. Positivity and optimism help too, but probably not enough to get you through the inevitable setbacks.
Here's my summary of the best evidence available - from researchers who have tested various techniques on large numbers of goal-strivers.
Recognise some things you are doing already? Good, but 'I knew that' is also a trap. What really matters is whether we are making the most of those ideas - using every one that's relevant to us.
Let's be realistic. Achieving goals is hard, unless the goals are so easy they're just a 'to do' list. Most people give up within a few weeks. People whose goal is to change entrenched behaviours, such as smoking, usually need several attempts.
We improve our chances if we see achieving goals as a process, not an exam that we pass or fail. Use the list to stay focused.
Interested in a workshop on achieving goals for your team? Contact us. We'll put you in touch with a trainer, not a salesperson.
Choosing to be courageous liberates us to achieve more.
Courage should be an everyday event - not necessarily worthy of a bravery award, or even something others would notice. It may be something personal to you.
I'm sometimes down at our local country school for an hour on Fridays, to help with writing and speaking skills. One week I was working with a nine-year old lad who had been 'volunteered' for the district's public speaking competiton. There would be competitors from several schools and an audience of about 100. He was speaking so quietly that only the front row could have heard him. His teacher asked if I could help him project a bit more.
But there was a more important barrier to success: He didn't want to do it. He was telling his teacher that he wouldn't be able to go. I was sure he was terrified.
The next week, he rushed up to me. 'I did it! I went in the competition!'
Did he win? I didn't ask, because that would have masked his real achievement. He had felt the fear and done it anyway. That's courage. That's success and a foundation for more risks and more success.
In business, courage is facing up to challenging conversations with colleagues, a supplier or client.
It's developing a new product or service and seeing how it goes.
Courage is applying for promotion or quitting our current career for something more challenging.
It's willingly taking on a new project or enrolling in a study course, knowing that we could fail.
It's taking the intiative at parties or networking events - introducing ourselves and starting conversations.
It's saying, 'I'll do that' when your team needs someone to speak at a public meeting or to the media.
With courage, we take more opportunitiies. We fail more often, but overall, the result is more resilience, more success, more confidence - and a more satisfying and even longer life.