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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What is your goal?

"Wondering: do you have goals or just wishes?" It seemed to have struck a chord with people. There's a wide gulf between wishes and goals, my friends. A very wide gulf indeed.

This week I'm working on fine tuning my future plans. I journal out my vision of my "ideal life" in as detailed a manner as possible. Where I'd like to live, what it will be like to entertain, what I'll feel like, what I'll wear, where we'll vacation, what we'll do for fun, what we'll do for fulfillment. Details. Tiny details. These aren't wishes. These are plans.

How sad to have a book of wishes? You're tapping into vastly different emotions when you conjure up these images and categorize them as wishes. Think about it for a moment. Close your eyes and "hope" you get to work safely this morning. Hope traffic is easy. Hope your engine runs smoothly. Now....what did hope feel like? Did you feel an undercurrent of anxiety? Stress? Did you also see yourself getting to your destination in a less than positive mood?

With "hope" we are leaving the possibility in our minds that this thing we want might not happen. That doesn't feel good. Hope leaves the option of failure.

Let's try it again. Only this time "expect" to get to work just fine. Imagine the sun shining, you're listening to something great on the radio, traffic may be busy but things are going fine. Imagine yourself walking in and being greeted by your coworkers.

Now that's a much better day. Was the traffic, the weather or your office any different? No. But you were. You expected a good day, a great drive and a positive experience. And guess what? You gave yourself one. You're in control of much more than you realize, just use that noggin of yours correctly.

There's a physiology that accompanies stress and one that is present when we expect good things. When you're anxious or "down" about something you use your body differently. But when we are confident and sure of ourselves we stand straight. We feel good inside. We carry our bodies in a way that tells our minds to feel good.

{Don't believe any of this? Have you ever been to a party or a friends house and observed how confidently someone entered the room? They didn't speak a word to you yet, but you were drawn to their body language. They seemed at ease. There is absolutely a mind/body connection going on there.}

And the results are vastly different when we tell our minds to "expect" things. What if you were headed in for surgery. No one wants the surgeon who "hopes" things go well. That guy is nervous inside. I want the surgeon who expects the procedure to go well. He walks taller, comes off more confidently and has steadier hands. You might say this is a subtle difference in language and you'd be right. But just pay attention to how you talk to yourself. If you're wishing or hoping for a lot rather than planning or expecting, you might need a little adjustment.

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