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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Who will you be in five years?

Long-time readers know my feelings about positive-thinking and surrounding yourself with positive influences. Every week I feed my mind with positive thoughts (check this blog for motivational quotes) - I believe it is critical to success.

I have had a long-standing relationship with the creator of "The T.A.D. Principle"...you can read more about it here. Last month I asked him if he would write a short post on goals. I think everyone will find his thoughts and suggestions meaningful as we head towards another year.



Who will you be in five years?

Every year the majority of us start out with grand aspirations and a handful of "New Year's Resolutions". This year I am going to ask you to do something different - take a longer-term outlook.

I want you to think about what you want every aspect of your life to be like in five years:

  • What will you be doing to earn a living? What kind of company are you working for, or are you self-employed? What is your title? How much money do you have in the bank?
  • What do you look like physically? How much do you weigh? What does your body look like? What do you eat? How do you feel?
  • What is your personal life like? Are you happily married? Do you have children? Are you single and playing the field?
  • What do you do for fun? What are your hobbies?

Brainstorm every detail. You have a blank canvas before you - create the masterpiece that you want for your life. Once you are done brainstorming WRITE out the details. Use strong, empowering statements that assume you have achieved your goals:

  • I am physically fit. I weigh 175lbs, and I have well defined muscles and a "six pack" of abs.
  • I am Vice-President of Sales at a software company, and I have 20 people reporting to me. I make $250,000 a year.
  • I am happily married. My wife and I love each other and every day we do something exciting, new, and fun.
  • I have $200,000 in the bank.

Continue writing all of your statements until every aspect of your life is addressed. I cannot stress the importance of writing it out - doing so makes you accountable. It takes goals from being thoughts in your mind - a "that would be cool" feeling - to something more serious; something you can see, touch, and feel. You are making a commitment.

This is the first step in achieving any goal. You brainstorm, you become clear on what you want, you commit to it by writing it out, and you review it on a regular basis - preferably daily.

Remember - you can be the best marksman in the world but you will never be able to hit a target you cannot see. If you don't take the time - right now - to perform the above analysis and take the associated actions you will not achieve your goals.

Of course you don't stop at this point. Now that you are clear on what you want you need to take the first step towards your goals. And then the second step. And then the third step. You may not know exactly how you are going to achieve your goals, but you can take steps right now that - once completed - will give you a better idea of what to do next. There is an old saying - "you go as far as you can see and when you get to that point you can see farther". Working on long-term goals is the same way.

Finally, one of the most important steps is to visualize yourself achieving your goals. What does it look like? What does it feel like? I cover all of these steps in more detail in "The T.A.D. Principle".

Back to the five year concept - why is five years important? Having a longer-term outlook keeps you focused on what you want from your life, whereas a shorter-term outlook facilitates the old adage of "not being able to see the forest for the trees". With a five year outlook, a bad day or week will not derail your longer-term goals...provided you stay focused and work your plan as noted above. As challenges arise, always ask yourself "will this matter in five years?":

  • You get cut off in traffic - will it matter in five years?
  • You have an argument with a co-worker or a family member - will it matter in five years?
  • Your cable goes out, or you lose your Internet connection - will it matter in five years?
  • The store is out of what you need, the line at the restaurant is too long, you are almost out of gas - will it matter in five years?

Adopting this outlook helps you keep things in perspective. Little problems don't seem so big. None of these "frustrations" will have an impact on what you want your life to be like in five years. They are just noise.

I will close by saying no one can make you do anything. It is up to you to make a decision and take action on that decision. What are you going to do now that you have finished reading this post?

Why not sit down and brainstorm who you will be in five years?

David, "The T.A.D. Principle"



Attitude Trader said...

Getting clear about it, visualizing it, feeling it, persevering toward it, and minimizing focus on negative aspects…a powerful state of mind. Nice post.


Roger B. said...

Great post, thanks David. I am a big fan of TAD but because of my laziness and procrastination I have yet to properly apply it. I am going to pull it out and give it another try.

FuturesPro said...

Great advice, thanks for sharing.

Srinivas said...

I agree with the lt outlook. I have never sat down and thought about what I wanted to be in five years, but it makes perfect sense. I usually get caught up in the cycle of resolutions that I keep for the first 30 days but are forgotten by February.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

wow, i really needed that today. i woke-up after a fitful sleep in a depressed & melancholy mood. i have some things going on that could be pretty bad on a worst case basis, but nothing that would ruin my life (at least i dont think thats gonna happen).

i was sitting here thinking why i felt this way... usually the best answer is to do some strenuous exercise today and get into action - focus on the solutions & not the problem.

funny how timely your post is...


Anonymous said...

Great post David.


David said...

Thanks for the positive feedback everyone. Attitude Trader, nice blog!

I wish everyone the best in December and 2009!

Attitude Trader said...

Thanks David. We share a similar perspective about how this world (and each of our lives) works.

Albert Einstein said, "Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means."

You and X set a positive example for others, which is something I aspire to as well. Thanks for sharing.


Arthur said...

Great post. If only you could come to my house and kick me in my ass!

Mac said...

November should have been a great month for me, but I managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. This post was timely just like QQQ said.


Barbara said...

Cool and informative. I am doing it today.