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Transforming the Mind ~ by Peter Shepherd


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Achieving Goals


Setting and achieving goals that fulfill your needs is essential to health and happiness. Striving towards your goals is a statement that you are taking charge of your life, rather than life taking charge of you. You are field-independent rather than field-dependent.

Visualising a goal is more important than knowing every detail or even any details of how you will achieve it. The first step for a painter is to visualise the end result, at least in concept; the means of achieving that result are extremely variable - different materials and styles, for example - and some of the steps may require learning new skills or may depend on ideas and inspiration that the artist knows will arrive at the appropriate time - he doesn't worry about them not being there at the beginning. However it turns out, it will express his feelings and spirit, and that is more than good enough.

Seeking visualised goals is a powerful, natural tendency - like the tendency of plants to seek the light - an insistent drive that can crack the hardest granite. If you don't have a clear image of where you want to go, this creative urge will be frustrated and you may experience your life as meaningless or directionless. Then you may visualise negative goals for yourself - you may see yourself as incompetent, ill, in pain, a failure, and your creative power will tend to make these a reality.

The first step in goal setting is to get in touch with what you really want in life. It may be a lifetime goal or one for a year, month or week ahead. Express it as a statement of fact in the present tense, see yourself with the goal already accomplished. How are you feeling now that you have accomplished it? What are you doing? What are your surroundings? What are people saying to you? Do not generalize in your vision - include tangible details of time, place, facts, figures, persons.

Here are some examples of well expressed goals: 'I am going on a singles club outing once a week and meeting new people I get on really well with'. 'I am swimming a mile three times a week. I feel stronger and more alive'. 'I am living comfortably within my budget for food, clothing and entertainment. I feel financially secure and in control of my spending'. 'Bob and I are understanding each other and really loving and trusting one another. We are having beautiful sex'.

Don't use negatives such as 'I am not over-eating'. The unconscious tends to drop out negatives, so that this sentence would be reduced to 'I am overeating'! Also negative goals, or not being able to see yourself actually achieving the goal, strongly indicate the likelihood of structural conflict taking place, in which case there is no point continuing with the goal in that context - so you need to handle this.

For example, you might learn that you are afraid of how others will respond if you achieve your goal, or that you are unable or unwilling at this time to perform the necessary steps to proceed, or that the goal is really meant to please another or match somebody else. In these cases, you first need to thoroughly grasp and accept the conflicting viewpoints and feelings involved and compare them to the current reality, your actual needs, and to realize any distorted thinking taking place. Then either the goal will be clarified and the problems drop away, or you will see that the goal is not genuine and choose another goal.

As you continue this process you will find yourself acting in ways compatible with creating your vision; ideas and resources will fall into place. It is just as important to focus also as ruthlessly and honestly as possible on the current reality. By comparing your progress with the point at which you started out, you will be encouraged to continue. Goals are achieved step by step and each step needs to be validated - otherwise the goal may seem far away and it may feel you are making little progress, when really you are.

And by comparing your current reality and state of progress with the final vision, the next steps will become apparent and you will be motivated to continue. This is an improvisatory process and cannot be entirely predicted at the outset. Since creating is improvisatory, the vision itself may be revised - you may discover that you now want something very different from what you set out to get. This is, really, the fun and the game of life!

THE FUTURE EXISTS

FIRST IN IMAGINATION

THEN IN WILL

THEN IN REALITY


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