Thoughts on Leadership: Visualizing And Realizing Your Goals

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels find me in Scottsdale, AZ for the 2019 Executive Leadership Conference, hosted by Berkshire Hathaway Energy. I’m excited to spend time among such visionary business leaders, who not only set goals but also achieve—and surpass—them.

The idea of setting goals is undoubtedly the reigning concept this week, as we make resolutions to change, grow and prosper in the new year. However, as prolific as these goals may be, it’s just as well-known that many of the things we set out to accomplish fall flat by Feb. 1. Why is it that we can be so resolute at the page break of a new year but come next month, can barely finish one chapter of our new story, let alone complete the entire book?

Last week we talked about the importance of journaling, and on Jan. 1, I always begin with a fresh, new journal. It’s the clean start needed to mentally prepare for change. There’s something almost poetic about unwrapping this blank book, replete with untapped possibility and unwritten inspiration.

But beyond the daily recording and cataloguing, there are two more pieces to this goal-setting puzzle and they must be put in place to ensure that what we say we’ll do gets done.

While it’s important to write down goals, we must also regularly review and visualize them.  At the beginning of January, I always review my life plan, which contains all my goals, and read it into my phone, creating a voice memo. This way, I can listen to my goals on my morning walk, while waiting to board a plane or even in line at Starbucks. Again, it’s all part of the importance of visualizing our goals. You speak them, listen to them and internalize them into the non-conscious part of your brain.

Here are 10 ways to visualize your goals and ensure that 2019 is filled not with resolutions broken but resolutions crushed and completed:

  1. If you didn’t take time to write down your goals yet, spend a few minutes this week and write down 10 goals that you want to accomplish in 2019. Make this the first page of your new journal. These goals can be financial, personal, professional … whatever it is you want to do and whomever it is you want to become, include that in your 10 goals.
  2. Record your goals into your phone and make sure they’re spoken in the positive and present tense. Listen to your goals at least once per day, ideally more.
  3. As the last activity before you close your eyes and go to sleep, picture your goals in your mind—all ten of them—and recite them aloud. After the first week, you should have them committed to memory, but you may need to have your journal handy as you begin this nightly routine.
  4. And speaking of your journal, in addition to using it as a written to-do list, you should also rewrite your goals each day, without referencing the previous page. This way, your mind will rewrite the goal to fit your present circumstances. The words may change slightly but the intention will remain the same.
  5. For each goal, write down three actions you can take to achieve the goal. These actions can be big or small, but they have to be something tangible that will move you closer to the accomplishment of the goal.
  6. Each morning as you review your goals, think forward to the ideal life you want to live. Picture every aspect of your perfect existence. Keep this image at the forefront of your mind each time you review your goals.
  7. Create a goal board. As you peruse magazines or blogs, or listen to podcasts, jot down words of wisdom that resonate with you, cut out pictures that stand out as impactful or print out images of people you find motivating. Hang this goal board in a prominent spot in your office and as you glance at it, think about what you could do to make the visions you see a reality.
  8. Use the technique of a “mental rehearsal.” Before any big meeting or conference this year, mentally rehearse how it will go in your mind, and make sure that you see yourself performing at your very best.
  9. Visualize success not as a possibility but as an inevitability. Success is just a matter of time, not a matter of chance.
  10. On a page in your journal, design your dream career. Write down every single aspect of it, from what your morning routine will look like to how much you’ll earn. Did you know at Amazon, when a new initiative or product is proposed, a project manager drafts the press release for the yet-built product? This is a form of visualization. With press release in hand, the team knows how the product will be written about in exacting detail well before it’s even created.

So, what’s the message? Goals set are not goals successfully achieved. There’s a lot of hard work that must go into seeing goals through, and that’s why resolutions are so infamously broken. This year, as we turn to a fresh page in the proverbial new journal of our lives, let’s not only write down our goals but also review them regularly and visualize them into existence. Let’s make 2019 the year we set goals then achieve them all.

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