We’ve always been goal setters and we’ve done pretty well, I think, my friends. But there is always that one (you know which I mean). “Yes, I’ve done well with my financial planning, but my lifestyle is so unhealthy,” we sigh. “I just lack discipline.” Or: “I’ve led an interesting life and overcome many challenges. I know people would be interested in my memoirs, but I never sit down to write.”

And again, the deep exhale, and the beating up on yourself: “I just lack discipline.”
Here’s the lowdown on discipline: it’s like a battery, great while it lasts, but it never does. So, what does make for accomplishing goals? I went to a bunch of people I admire and asked, and they said, passion and practical action, an unbeatable combo to set the world on fire.
Okay, how do you get passionate about a goal? They answered: Start by writing it down—people who write down their goals achieve them. Write it all down in detail, in living color – what do you really want, how will you feel when you achieve this goal, what will you look like, how will you act? Keep this writing handy and read it often, several times a day.

Next, daydream a little. Let yourself fantasize about what you have written. This is the realm of creative visualization, which is a surefire technique for realizing dreams. It will trigger your brain, specifically your reticular activating formation, to become aware of opportunities to achieve your intentions. This works!
Feeling the passion? Now let’s put a foundation under your dreams. You remember that seminar on S.M.A.R.T. goal planning at the office? Yes, you probably gave it. It was new to me. For a refresher, a S.M.A.R.T. goal is:

Specific: Be specific to be terrific!
Measurable: How will you know you are achieving your goal?
Achievable: Start small and doable and build;
Relevant: Move toward where you want to be;
Timebound: Commit to a timeframe for your action.

So, “I want to write my memoirs” becomes “I research memoir classes for an hour this Saturday” and “I write for 15 minutes a day Monday through Friday for the next month.” Healthy living becomes, “I shop for organic fruits and vegetables every Wednesday” and “I do asana every day for 10 minutes.”

Don’t be afraid of actions in small increments of time, 15 minutes or half an hour—if you write one page a day, you will have a full-length book ready for an editor in a year. And I was advised to lose my 34-item things-to-do list – I now keep a short, simple, and doable list of actions for each day to move me forward.

Daydreaming is wonderful, but alone, it lacks the footwork needed to get to where you want to be;
S.M.A.R.T. planning alone may seem dry, lacking the vision to inspire you throughout your journey. But together, they manifest things beyond your wildest dreams – for now!

Yael