Saturday, April 24, 2010

Achieving Your Goals - Staying Positive

By: Will Edwards

Having unclear objectives or unrealistic expectations are sure-fire ways of sabotaging your goal-achieving, but so too are lack of self-belief, fear of failure and lack of motivation. If you have defined your goals properly using the SMART procedure, they should indeed be clear and realistic. In this article, we are going to consider the importance of staying positive in relation to goal-achieving.

Sometimes, in my workshops, I ask people if they are optimists or pessimists. Generally, what happens is that the optimists will happily reveal themselves, but the pessimists are usually a little more reticent; indeed, often preferring to use the term ‘realist’ rather than ‘pessimist’. I think this is completely understandable: no one, to my knowledge, has ever written a book on the subject of the power of negative thinking; but, by contrast, there are very many books on the market that deal with the power of positive thinking.

Every attitude of mind we take – and optimism and pessimism are exactly that – is a choice that we make; even if it does not feel like we are making a choice. But, after years of habitually adopting a pessimistic mindset, it can be hard to dump this habit in favour of adopting the new, empowering habit of optimism. Why? Because, pessimists have good reason – or perhaps we should say justification - for being pessimistic. Pessimists simply believe they are generally right – things don’t usually go their way.

Of course, optimists believe exactly the same thing – things do generally go right for optimists. Both optimists and pessimists and making use of exactly the same principle to attract outcomes into their lives. It cuts both ways: you can indeed attract both good and bad outcomes through your attitude; and that’s why it is so important to try to foster a positive outlook on life.

There are many ways to do this, but one we will briefly consider here is the use of affirmation. An affirmation is a sentence that declares something to be true. Generally such sentences begin with the words ‘I am’ for example: I am calm; I am confident; I am in control. If you are a pessimist, try to open your mind to the possibility of change; and then try making use of positive affirmations like these.

All you need do is repeatedly say the sentence to yourself. Try this three times per day; and on each occasion, say each affirmation three times with purpose. It may sound silly or even ridiculous, but such words have the power to change our attitudes and the outcomes we attract into our lives are, to a very great extent, a product of attitude.

Finally, even if you are an optimistic person, you should still practice using affirmations. Even optimists don’t always manage to stay positive. We all lose sight of our self-belief and motivation from time to time and have to sometimes contend with the fear of failure too. So remember to make use of this very powerful technique to help you to stay positive – it is a vital ingredient for achieving those important goals.

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