Updated: Mar 29
Let’s be honest. How many times have you set goals, made new year’s resolutions, told yourself that “This is it” and “Today’s the day”? And how many times have you wondered why the heck you seem to be able to stick at something for the grand total of a week (if you’re lucky), before you throw in the towel, flop into your armchair, and binge on Netflix and chocolate?
More than once, right?
If you’re wondering what’s wrong with you, the answer is absolutely nothing. You’re just like everyone else, trying to make it and blast through your goals.
So why isn’t it happening?
The answer is simple. It’s because you don’t ‘feel’ anything. Bear with me here for a second. Whether we like to admit it or not, we humans are feeling creatures. And we’re motivated by only two things: Fear and pain, or pleasure and comfort. We run from or freeze in the presence of fear and pain, and we run towards pleasure and comfort. Always. No exceptions.
Think about this for a second. In the corporate world, we’re given lofty goals and the drive to achieve them is fuelled either by the fear of being fired (fear is never a good motivator, by the way), or the promise of promotion, recognition, bonus, incentive trips and so on. In the world of the entrepreneur things are similar. Entrepreneurs need goals too and they're so often buried in a mindset of our own self-created fear: “If I don’t do this, I won’t be able to put food on the table”, “If I don’t succeed, people will think I’m a failure.” Sadly, this kind of thinking results in paralysis and an inability to take action. Or, action for a week and then... Netflix and chocolate. The end result is the same: No action, no success.
So how do you set goals that create those warm, fuzzy feelings you want to run towards? The kind of goals you want to take action on and achieve. The kind of goals that you stubbornly refuse to walk away from no matter how much poop hits the fan.
You write a letter to yourself. I know it sounds crazy doesn’t it? It’s a tool I use with my clients time and time again and it works every-darn-time.
Briefly, here’s how you do it.
You date your letter one year from the day you write it. You address it to yourself, and then you lavish yourself with praise. Congratulate yourself on all the things you achieved that year. Include numbers and when you met your goals. Be specific, and tell yourself how proud you are of your achievements. Tell yourself you’re awesome because you stayed the course, showed up, and threw yourself at your work. You’re a star because you posted on social media five times daily, grew your LinkedIn following by x percent, or you got that promotion. Get really specific with the numbers and the situation and get really specific about how you felt once you’d achieved your goals (remember, you’re writing this letter from the future).
Next, sign it. Then, read it out loud, every morning and every evening for an entire year.
You’ve heard of an ‘abundance mindset’ and the ‘law of attraction’. You know you’re supposed to create the right energy so that your business and career success will come. But it’s near impossible to create such energy when you’re constantly focused on goals you haven’t yet achieved. By telling yourself you’ve already achieved them, anxiety becomes excitement, fear becomes courage, and hesitation turns to action in just a few days.
The ‘letter to yourself’ is incredibly simple yet incredibly powerful. It’s extremely effective in bringing about clarity on what it is you really want. And when it’s written down, in black and white, you see the possibilities. It becomes real and possible and "I'm bloody well doing this" motivating.
If you can imagine it, you can do it.
Everything you need to succeed is right there inside you. Now let it out!
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