Now that you understand the importance of goal orientation, you are ready to learn how to set goals for growth and change. You are ready to learn how to affirm and imprint them in your subconscious belief system, often and vividly, until your future goal becomes your present reality.

When I left high school teaching, I couldn’t imagine myself living or thinking the way I do now. It would have been way out of my comfort zone, and much too unrealistic. You see, I grew up in poverty. My dad died when I was 12, so I had to help raise our family. I sold newspapers, and did all kinds of odd jobs just to eat and stay alive. By the time I left teaching to start my own business, my vision of the future was very narrow. In fact, all I could imagine at the time was making enough money to survive. Diane and I had $1,000 in the bank, bills to pay, nine kids to feed, and one seminar with seven people and most of them were relatives. I thought, “If I can just make twice as much as when I was teaching, I can run my business and feed my family.” But because I started setting bigger goals and affirming them, I have continually managed to stretch my comfort zone and expand what is “realistic” for me.

Affirmations are simply a blueprint for growth and change. Transforming imagery into written affirmations is a reliable way of programming your subconscious mind to anticipate desired changes as if they have already happened.

Here’s how it’s done.

1. Consider where to change.

change photo

Before setting goals, consider how and how much you would like to grow and change. Maybe you want to improve in an area you’re already good at. Perhaps you want to try something new. Maybe you want to alter some personality or character traits, or some behavioral habits, or some outdated attitudes. Or maybe you’d like to enhance self-image, self-esteem, and self-confidence, naturally, so you create a new picture of you. You might want to improve your financial situation. Or maybe you want to improve your memory, your concentration, or your stamina. You might want to sharpen your views on education, politics, religion. Maybe you’d like to exercise regularly, read more books, or cultivate a garden. You might wish to show more love to your kids. In any case, the first step is to give some thought to where you would like to grow and change.

2. Write goals down.

how to write goals

Why write your goals in the form of affirmations? First, so you don’t forget them. Second, you remove them from the realm of chance. Rather than passively wishing, hoping, or intending to change and leaving it to circumstance, you write affirmations to start deliberately changing “the way things are supposed to be” for you. Third, by writing affirmations, you can achieve goals effortlessly and safely, without the stress of “trying hard” and “enduring pain.”

A written goal prompts vivid imagery of an end result. That imagery, along with the emotions it stimulates, imprints the goal in the subconscious as if the goal is already accomplished. The subconscious doesn’t know the difference between something real and something vividly imagined.

Suppose you set a goal to build a home. Once you select a lot and a basic plan, then, in your mind’s eye, you visualize the end result: the finished home. Through repetition and anticipation, you imprint the vivid image of the home so powerfully that you can almost walk right in the front door. Now you start anticipating the pleasure of living in it: “I can hardly wait to move into our new home.” At this point, even though you have only changed your picture inside, you feel as if you’ve already moved. Then, when you perceive that you don’t have a new home yet, you create the energy and motivation you need to build it.

Now, the emotion the “I can hardly wait” anticipation is essential to this process. Without that anticipation, your goals turn into half hearted intentions that never happen. Writing goals starts the process of targeting your goals by imagining them vividly. Wishing, hoping, or intending to change is like waiting for the Fairy Godmother to transform you into a prince or princess. She isn’t coming, and neither are your desired changes unless you deliberately write your goals and follow through on them.

3. Now write one or more short affirmations for each goal.

affirmations photo

Written affirmations are goals about “the way things are supposed to be” in the future: “This is the way my life is supposed to be,” “This is the way my family is supposed to be,” “This is the way I am supposed to look.” An affirmation is a way of stretching present reality by imagining a new “supposed to be.” If you have many areas in which you want to grow, you might feel overwhelmed. Then you might end up setting goals haphazardly, leaving them to chance. One way to commit yourself to setting new goals regularly is to write them down in clear, concise definitions.

A two-sentence goal statement, as opposed to a paragraph or a whole page, provides a manageable definition that is easy to visualize and imprint into your subconscious mind. Remember: It isn’t the writing that makes the change; it’s the process of visualizing with feeling, and then imprinting. So it is essential that each goal, or each aspect of a goal, be written simply, clearly, concretely.

You don’t need to limit yourself to just one brief affirmation per goal, because some goals will be more complex than others. If you are working on an elaborate change in one area of your life, you may need several brief affirmations, each one covering a particular quality or characteristic.

For example, suppose you want to affirm an overall improvement in your personal relationships. You can write a broad, general affirmation like “I am receptive and friendly toward all the people I meet. I treat everyone with respect and consideration.” If you want to set specific goals within that category, you can write additional affirmations for each one. For instance, “I am thoughtful and patient with my mother.” “I am sensitive to my brother.” ”I listen to my daughter with care and interest, especially when she talks about herself.”

Or suppose you want to improve your golf game. You might want one affirmation for your short game, another one for your long game, another one for handling pressure.

How could you describe, in just one brief goal statement, what kind of parent you want to be? You might need one affirmation to cover your overall attitude on parenting, and another on improving your relationship with your son, another on relating to your daughter, another for their education, another for the emotional support you want to provide at home. If each aspect of the overall goal is written in a one- or two-sentence definition, it will aid in the imprinting process because each one will imprint separately and distinctly.

4. Trigger experiential imagery.

imagery

In writing affirmations, you want to trigger an experiential image of you doing, having, being something, as though it’s actually happening right now. Whenever we vividly imagine something and we hold it long enough in our mind, it becomes reality on the subconscious level. So you want to visualize your goal in such vivid imagery that it creates a new reality in your belief system.

When you trigger experiential imagery, your mind becomes a simulator. You create such powerful imagery in your mind that you actually feel as though you’re living the experience. Only then will your subconscious record the imagined event, or goal, as if it was actually happening.

A properly written affirmation triggers experiential images which stimulate the right emotions. These eventually imprint in your belief system as your new present reality. It works like the car commercials where the camera places you in the driver’s seat. You “experience” the feeling of driving, and you record, “This is my car. I own it.”

For example, do you know of anyone who has bungy-jumped and has recorded the jump on video? If so, you could watch that video 100 times or even observe the person doing it 100 times and still have no desire to make a bungy jump, unless you imagine yourself doing it. It does no good to have someone show us a model of what this company runs like, or that person lives their life like, unless we can see it happening to us.

What limits how far you can stretch is how far you can see yourself experiencing what you want to have, do, or be. You must not only see it, but you must see it with positive emotion. If you force yourself to imagine the jump, you will fill yourself with terror. Now every time you envision it, you don’t need to experience the jump to feel terror you simply imagine it. You record the negative emotion. So, when the real event occurs, the stored emotion comes out, which causes you to engage in avoidant behavior. You create reasons why you should not do it.

So it isn’t just what you visualize, it is the emotion with which you visualize that has a lot to do with whether you’re going to positively seek or negatively avoid the vision or goal that you have the potential to reach.

The experiential imagery must feature you at the center. In visualizing your own goals, you don’t see someone else achieving them, you see yourself achieving them. Did you ever point out to your kid, “Look at how those other children behave. Why can’t you behave like them?” Well, one reason might be, “Oh, I can see how they behave. But I can’t see me doing that.”

What would happen if the car commercial showed someone else driving the car? Instead of feeling “It’s my car,” you’d feel “It’s their new car”and that wouldn’t create the motivation for you to buy the new car. That’s why the imagery must be personal and experiential. If just any image worked, all we would do is observe someone, and we’d immediately become just like them. But it doesn’t happen that way.

Years ago, I was in Arizona visiting a friend who had just bought a beautiful new home at the edge of a golf course in Phoenix. We went to see this house and I said, “I’m happy for you. I’m glad you have this new home.” But as I was driving away, I told myself, “I will never have a house like that if I keep talking this way.” I realized that I could see my friend in that house, but not myself. I always wanted to live like that, but I couldn’t see myself into that situation yet. So I knew I had to work on seeing me into my goals, not somebody else. Otherwise, instead of creating the change, I’d end up creating envy, wishes, or idle dreams.

The imagery triggered by your affirmation must stimulate strong experiential emotion that tells your subconscious, “This is happening to me.” Until you see you doing, having, being something, it doesn’t affect your present image of reality.

5. Record specific details.

details photo

Your goal-setting affirmations must convey specific and detailed imagery, so your subconscious can record the goal concretely. You can set a goal, for example, to wake up in the morning. But that goal is too narrow. You can improve it by adding small details: “I am going to awaken at 6 a.m. full of energy and enthusiasm, feeling strong and looking forward to my work.”

You must set clear, concrete goals. If you say, “I am a nice person,” that will be difficult for you to visualize. If you say, “I am a strong leader,” that still isn’t specific enough. Pinpoint exactly what you choose to be, and how you choose to be it. Otherwise, it will be like telling the waiter in a restaurant, “Bring me some food.” The waiter has no idea what you want because you don’t know.

Having an accurately defined target is essential for both individual and group goal-setting. You and your people could goal-set for your company to have “a good year.” But why would you only want to have a “good” year? If you are vague about your target, you won’t get any feedback, and if you don’t get feedback, your system won’t know when you’re off target.

If you don’t have feedback, you don’t get the tension; on the other hand, you also don’t get the motivation to attain your goal. That’s why coaches say, “It’s going to be a building year.” Or someone asks a supervisor, “How do you think business will be this year?” and the supervisor says, “Oh, better.” These statements mean “Keep the heat off me.” It’s like someone who doesn’t want to exercise saying, ”I’ll do a little jogging.” You know how much “a little” is? Maybe 50 feet. You must pinpoint what you want the exact distance, the exact amount of new business, the exact income, the exact career because then your subconscious holds you accountable, gives you feedback, and makes you act as you believe yourself to be.

Effective goal-setting means deliberately determining what is important. As soon as you determine what is most important to you, you become very “lucky.” Your mind opens up and filters through the pertinent information. The less specific the visualization, the less information gets through. For example, if you go shopping for “something” for your children for Christmas, you probably won’t find anything. How do you visualize “something?” But if you’re looking for a 24-inch trail bike with quick release wheels, you’ll find one!

Years ago, I decided I wanted a swimming pool. But I was a teacher and football coach; I couldn’t afford it. So I decided to get a swimming pool for free. As soon as I decided, information about swimming pools started coming through. I saw them, I heard about them, I read about them but none were free. So I asked an informed friend, “Where can I get a swimming pool for free?” He immediately took me to the north end of the Seattle-Tacoma Airport where they were extending the runway. Workers were preparing to move a big brick home, which had a nice swimming pool. My friend said, “You can probably get that one for nothing.” How did I move the swimming pool? That’s another story. But, believe me, I found a way.

6. Use positive images.

positive images

A key to effective goal-setting is affirming your goals in the positive. Always write your goals based upon what you want, not what you don’t want. It’s a process of moving away from the negative, away from restrictive and coercive motivation, away from the flames of hell. The images in your goal statements must be positive images of something you want to possess. Instead of visualizing your old impatience, you visualize distinct situations in which you act patient; instead of visualizing short, bitten fingernails, you visualize long, elegant fingernails; instead of affirming, “I don’t want to drop the football when the pressure is on,” you affirm, “I always catch the football when the pressure is on.”

Suppose you think, “I’ve got this terrible temper.” That is your problem. So you ask yourself, “How would it be if I didn’t have my terrible temper?” And you might answer, ”I would remain cool, calm, and poised under pressure.” From that, you develop your positive goal statement for any given circumstance: ”Whenever the kids fight with each other, I am always cool, calm, and poised.” “Whenever a crisis at the office occurs, I am always cool, calm and poised.” It’s that easy.

Or suppose your problem is “I don’t have any money.” If you affirm the problem, what happens? Your subconscious confirms that reality”Okay, if that’s the way you want it”and it keeps you in poverty. But suppose you ask yourself, “What would it be like if I had enough money to live happily for a few years?” Then, instead of affirming the problem (“I’m broke”), you affirm the solution: “Money flows toward me.”

It’s the difference between negatively affirming the problem: “My teenage sister and I don’t get along” and positively affirming the solution: “Because of the caring way I treat my teenage sister, we get along like best friends.”

The key is to trigger positive images of what you want, not negative images of what you don’t want, even though you haven’t the slightest idea how you will accomplish the goal. Creating the positive image of what you want, and looking at the way things are now creates the motivation to make the pictures match.

7. Set realistic goals.

realistic goals

What is “realistic”? If you can vividly see and feel yourself experientially attaining the goal, then it’s realistic for you. If not, then you need to back it up a little closer to your vision. If you’re 50 pounds overweight at age 50, you can’t realistically imagine yourself being as slim as you were at 20. If you can’t imagine your goal vividly, experientially, with the right emotion, your subconscious will know it’s unrealistic, and the goal won’t imprint in your mind.

How far into the future can you see yourself doing, having, or being what you want? You can’t just say you want to be something and change your picture. If you can’t realistically visualize yourself as a billionaire, nothing will happen. How do billionaires think and act? What do their homes look like inside? Where do they shop? Where do they eat? Who are their friends? Can you see yourself as a billionaire? I can’t. I don’t know what they do or how they live. But I can see myself doubling my present income. Like a lot of people, I feel as though I’m spending that much now!

Visualize your goal close enough so you can see yourself into it. If you set your goals too close, you will lose motivation, energy, drive. So set your goals with about 50 percent believability for now. Later, when you are more proficient, you’ll gauge how far into your future you can see. Setting “realistic” goals doesn’t mean your goals can’t stretch you it just means one stretch at a time.

Being realistic when visualizing the future may seem contradictory. But remember: It’s the gap between the two which creates the internal tension that you need to stimulate change. The gap between current reality and your vision causes your system to say, “You’ve got a problem!” The problem might be the difference between your vision of the career you want and the career you currently have; between your vision of the income you want and the income you currently have; between your vision of the way you want to get along with your family and the way you get along with them now. That gap is the dissonance in your system that eventually drives you to achieve the goal. But because of that same uncomfortable tension, people sometimes won’t set stretch goals.

Be honest with yourself; did you ever dream about having, doing, or being something new, and feel miserable just thinking about it?

That’s the dissonance of current reality that’s the problem. But remember: Don’t shut it off. You want the problem. That’s what will bring out the best in you. What you must do is learn how to make the vision in your imagination stronger than the sting of current reality. If you can do that through affirmations, visualization, and proper imprinting of your goal eventually you will attain your goal. But if you shut if off, you won’t realistically see yourself into the change.

8. Write your goals in first person, present tense.

present tense photo

Write all of your goals with you at the center: “I am a warm, compassionate mother.” “I am a decisive father.” ”I treat everybody fairly.” “I am a leader in my company.” It may sound selfish, but it’s necessary if you want to change your picture. You can’t affirm to change someone else; you can only affirm to change yourself. I only have the power to affirm changes in me, not in you.

If you want your goals to imprint your belief system, you must affirm them in the present tense in the “now”as though you already are that person: “I am the new manager.” “I am friendly and outgoing.” You affirm that you already live in the new house, even though you still live in the old one; that you’ve already won the game before it’s played; that you have enough money to take that vacation, even though you only have $20 in the bank. If you weigh 140 pounds and you want to weight 120, you might write an affirmation like “I look young and feel confident and attractive at 120 pounds.” You write the goal as though it is already achieved, even though it isn’t. If you trigger the right imagery and emotion, your subconscious will believe you.

You aren’t lying to yourself. You are simply altering your image of reality. Affirmations are neither moral nor immoral. They are a moral or neutral. They are just the trigger tools for creating the right imagery for change. By using first-person, present-tense affirmations, you deliberately trigger a conflict to stimulate the impetus and make the pictures match.

Goal-setting is simply a process of constantly stretching what is presently “just like me.” Write your affirmations in the present tense; otherwise, you end up affirming ability or potential. For example, if instead of affirming, “I am patient with my kids,” you affirm, “I can be patient with my kids,” nothing happens. You have nothing to change because you already possess the ability to be patient with your kids.

In affirming your potential, you don’t create any drive for change. When you think, “I can be” or “I intend to be” or “I’d like to be,” you also think, “but right now, I’m not.” And when you affirm, ”I can be a nice person,” it records, “I can be a nice person, but right now I’m a jerk.” See? “I can be rich, but right now I’m poor.” “I’d like to be brave, but right now I’m scared.”

Affirming your ability or potential doesn’t alter your present reality. You must affirm achievement: “I am a loving father.” “I am a winning athlete.” ”I am a dynamic leader.”

If you don’t affirm in the present tense, you won’t create the motivation to achieve the end result that you want. And you will end up wondering, “Why can’t I change?”

If you don’t affirm in the present tense, you might get trapped affirming the past, the way things used to be, while immersed in the present, the way things are. You complain, “This is awful.” And your self-talk affirms: “Things are crummy. People are mean. Values are dead.” What will your tomorrow look like if this is how you describe today?

What blocks most change? People keep reproducing, in their minds, the way things are now, or the way things used to be. What about the people around you family, friends, business associates? What are they talking and thinking about? History or the future? High performance people think future tense as though it’s done: “The money’s earned.” “The game is won.” “The house is built.” They continually invent their own future before it happens. Remember: The future is now. So affirm all your goals in the present tense or your tomorrow will look like your yesterday.

9. Make no comparisons.

comparison photo

If you feel you can only grow by comparing yourself to somebody else, you will always think that somebody else is better than you or worse than you. If you feel they’re better, that’s like adding a negative weight to your attitudinal balance scale: “I am not as handsome as he is.” “I’m not as pretty as she is.” “He’s a better hitter.” “She’s a better doctor.” That’s restrictive motivation. Instead of feeling, “I choose to set this goal for my own personal growth,” you always feel you “have to” become better than someone else. Or, if you feel they’re worse, you relieve your dissonance, not by getting what you want, but by finding someone who has even less. Comparing is like saying, “I’ll achieve their goal, only I have to do it better than they do.” It’s negative, ineffective goal-setting.

You don’t grow by comparisons. Why would you want, or need, to be better than somebody else? You have your own unique visions, fears, comfort zones, attitudes, goals, dreams, desires, talents and tests that other people don’t know about. It does no good to compare yourself with somebody else when it is you who must do the growing and changing. You must choose to grow for more significant reasons than just to beat somebody else.

There is a place for a healthy competitiveness. For example, I work a lot with college and professional athletes. They need a competitive mentality to achieve their personal and team goals to be better than their opponents so they can win. That’s different than competing with family members, with friends, or with fellow employees. The very nature of putting together a winning athletic team demands competition with other teams, whereas competing against family members produces only disharmony and discontent. Competing against friends might ruin friendships. Competing against fellow employees in a company can breed selfish attitudes and habits that will be counterproductive to the overall company goals.

The best salesperson in any particular company may not be very good. So if you are better than that person, you might still be mediocre. Yet, if your goal is not to be the best salesperson you can possibly be, but rather to merely be better than the company’s best salesperson, you might feel satisfied with beating the company’s best. The danger in that goal-setting is that you can “flatten out” in mediocrity, thinking you’re the best.

You are in the business of personal growth and change for your own reasons. You already have enough internal competition that can detour your growth: your own restrictive motivation; your own flat worlds; your own blocks, traps, and lids. You are trying to become the best possible you, and to improve your personal relationships with everyone in your own world. So a healthy, personal goal-setting attitude would be “I am trying to build a better world and a better me.”

There is a healthy, positive way to incorporate in your own goal setting whatever you admire in others. You can observe people you admire and try to emulate them. You can tell yourself, “I like the way she treats her family.” “I like the way they run their company.” “I like that quality.” ”I like that attitude.” “I like.” That is not comparing yourself to somebody else. You are just observing qualities you like, and making affirmations to assimilate them into your own belief system.

10. Guard your spirit of intent.

spirit photo

Written affirmations will have no power to change your belief system unless they are buttressed by a strong spirit of commitment. Just as when you compliment someone else with genuine feeling, it is the spirit of genuine and deliberate intent in your own affirmations that creates the dynamic change inside of you. Words that are empty of commitment are merely worthless platitudes.

When you invest as much credibility in your own word to yourself as you’ve invested in the words of “the experts” in your life, you will not need to keep repeating your affirmations until your picture changes. When you really get good at this, one affirmation like the “I do” wedding vow will be enough to make the change.

Affirmations make you more aware of the immense power of words. You will discover that sometimes, when you set a goal, you will be unconsciously kidding yourself. You won’t be seriously committed to your goal. Eventually, if you want to grow and change, you will stop using words idly both to yourself and to others. Words are only seeds. They have to be nourished with your intent to transform you from within. Some people will need to repeat their affirmations often to talk themselves into it. Some will visualize and affirm often to build up their sense of worthiness before they are willing to believe, “It’s over, it’s done.” Some already feel worthy enough to immediately believe, “It’s mine.” It is all a matter of how good your word is to you and to everyone else.

Years ago, I was about 30 pounds overweight, but I didn’t really care. Every so often, I would half-heartedly make an affirmation about losing some weight, but nothing would happen. Sometimes, I would get up in the morning, glance in the mirror and say to myself, “Today’s the day.” Of course, what I meant was, “Today’s the day if nothing gets in the way.” You know what got in the way? Lunch. Or, if I skipped lunch, two dinners would get in the way to correct for the mistake. It was funny. I could make all kinds of things happen in my personal and professional worlds with just one affirmation, yet when it came to losing weight, I had affirmation cards stacked as high as a table. I wonder why.

Obviously, my word on that issue was worthless to me. Yet there I was at the office, talking about bouncing information off satellites, doing business in many parts of the world, and starting this and venturing into that. I had to sometimes ask myself, “Hey, is this nonsense, too?”

Finally, a few summers ago, I decided to quit fooling around. I said, “Okay, that’s it. No more.” And I lost 30 pounds in six weeks. I wasn’t hungry even once. What was the difference between 15 years of affirming “Today’s the day,” and one morning of affirming “No more fooling myself”? My spirit of intent.

All of your well-meaning goals are worthless without the spirit of total commitment behind them. But if you combine real intent with properly written affirmations, nothing can get in your way. You can change belief and you can change your life. It’s that easy. Do you know why I finally decided to lose that weight? I wanted to make myself tougher so I could move on to bigger accomplishments in life like helping millions of other people build a better world. I wanted it so powerfully that I now believe I can do just about anything.

So when you say, “I think I’ll quit smoking,” or “I think I’ll be a better person,” I say, “Save your breath.” One thing you might consider, in fact, is affirming the power of your own word to yourself. That could be your first affirmation: granting yourself the ability to do what you say you will do.

11. Keep your goals private at first.

When you set private goals, keep them to yourself. You might want to share some mutual goals with family members, teammates, or fellow employees. If so, share them only with those people who will help you achieve them. Do not share your goals with people who will work against you. Only you know who those people are.

Sometimes when we tell people about our goals, we start to feel as though we can’t back out: “Well, I said it. Now I have to do it.” You don’t need that kind of restrictive motivation. Set all your goals on a “want to, like to, choose to” basis. Otherwise, you will feel coerced into achieving them. Another pitfall might be losing your flexibility to attain the goal.

I remember when we told our children that we were moving to a new home before we found one. We sold the old one and prepared to move out. Our daughter, Nancy, was only in second grade at the time, and we thought she would be unhappy about having to move away from her friends. So we assured her that we would rent a house in the neighborhood until we found a house to buy, and she could stay in her old school. I will never forget her reaction. She said, “No! I’ll run away!” I said, “Run away? The kids love you at school.” She said, “I’m running away!” I said, ”Why?” She said, “I told everyone we were moving, and they gave me a going-away party. I can’t go back!” See, once we shared the goal, we lost our flexibility in terms of the timing. When you keep your goal to yourself, you have greater flexibility, and the timing is always in your control.

Also, the people with whom you share your goal might not be very supportive. Suppose you affirm a goal about being more patient with your spouse, and you tell him or her about it. If you have a temporary setback, your spouse might say, “Well, this stuff isn’t working, is it? I thought you were going to be patient.” Then your attitude might change, to, “Well, I was. But I’ll be darned if I will now!”

Or, the people who love you might try to talk you out of your goals because, as you change, you are changing their reality, too: “What are you moving for?” “Are you studying French so you can be better than I am?” “Why did you invest in that business? You should have saved the money to fix up the house.” Change can threaten people who have grown accustomed to “the way things are supposed to be” for you. Those closest to you may give you all kinds of advice: “Why don’t you just be satisfied with what you’ve got? Don’t try to reach too high or you’ll get hurt. I’m just trying to protect you because I love you.” See? You don’t want that aggravation. They don’t mean to do it, but you are changing their comfort zones, so they’re fighting for their own sanity. That’s why it might be best to set your goals silently, and let the changes speak for themselves.

12. Align and balance your goals and affirmations with your life mission .

You need to ask yourself, “All of this goal-setting, company expanding, career enhancing, business promoting, how does it all fit? Is it based on fairness, on justice, on an ethical value system?” Try to get the big picture. Visualize in your mind the life goals you want to achieve, including the kind of person you want to become. Are you under- or over-emphasizing important aspects of your life? If you set out goals in just one area, say business, you can get quickly out of balance. To achieve life balance, your goals should cover the major aspects of your life.

Look at your life as a round wheel. If you place your goals and affirmations in just one area, you quickly get out of the round. Your wheel will only go around so far before it becomes stuck. Your happiness and fulfillment depend on balance in your life. Balance means an emphasis in each area that is rewarding to you and to the important people in your life: professional, spiritual, family, health, social, community, etc.

A bar of iron has many uses even though its molecules go in all directions. When an electric current was passed through it, the molecules were aligned and the iron, without losing any of its old strengths, gained a new one: It became magnetic.

We can achieve some goals in diverging directions, but we can achieve many more with less effort when the goals are aligned with our personal vision and our mission in life. When our goals are aligned, we generate tremendous power. Lack of alignment causes energy diffusion. Our personal goals should also be consistent with our family, team, and corporate goals.

Smart goals are balanced, aligned, clear, focused, specific, and constructive. The more vividly we visualize our intent, the more commanding is the call to action. Smart goals are measurable, attainable, structured, relevant, and written. Writing your goals and affirmations gives them precision. Imprinting gives them strength.

Writing affirmations is not magic. It is only one step in a conscious, deliberate process of change. The imprinting of your goals is what makes the difference. In the next chapter, we’ll talk more about imprinting goals and affirmations.