What dream or vision do you want to turn into reality? I know you. We're just alike. You stay awake at night thinking about some vision for your life. You talk about your dreams with your friends and family. But you just can’t seem to take the steps or get the motivation to change.
You ask yourself, “How can I make it happen?”
Research shows the odds against you making a change in your life is 9 to 1. Do you think you can beat those odds? Yes, you can!
You can live the life you desire. But to achieve it, you must:
• first plan it,
• then see it,
• and then train your brain to execute
Step 1. Plan Your Goal: The S.M.A.R.T Principle
One of the most popular and effective system for defining and setting goals is the S.M.A.R.T. principle. It details five criteria for creating goals.
Let’s see it in action…. you’ve decided to take the plunge and pursue a career in information technology.
Start with a broad goal such as, “I want to learn coding.”
Then apply the S.M.A.R.T. criteria to create something that’s well-defined and achievable. Let’s look at what the acronym means:
Every goal should be specific. “I want to learn coding” is not specific enough because there are so many different coding languages.
Instead, you’ll need to do some research to find which language you want to learn and why. Drill down to define something particular you want to accomplish.
- Let’s assume you know you want to become a web developer and create awesome website.
- You’re creative and artistic and have a good eye for design, so know you’re a good fit for Frontend Development
- Since you’re a newbie to all this computer stuff, you decide to begin learning HTML and CSS. You’ve discovered through your research this coding duo is great for getting your feet wet.
Specific Goal: “I’m going to master HTML and CSS.”
Goals should be measurable so you have tangible, quantifiable results. In other words, you have something to show for it.
Go back to your original goal of “I want to learn to code.” How is that measurable? How will you know you’ve mastered coding?
If your goals are specific enough, they’re automatically measurable.
Now let’s look back at our Specific goal of “I’m going to master HTML & CSS.” How will you know when this goal is mastered?
- You can choose a home page of one of your favorite websites, take that completed design, and convert it into an HTML and CSS webpage.
- Go to Creative Market and download one of the free graphics and try to reconstruct one of the designs in HTML & CSS. Translating a design from a PSD (a layered image file used in Adobe PhotoShop) into code, is a basic skill to have as a front-end developer.
Measurable: “I can convert a webpage and psd files to HTML & CSS.”
A (Achievable or Action-Oriented)
Be careful you keep your goal realistically achievable. Learning HTML & CSS in a month, for example is do-able. Learning to build a complex web app before next week, would set you up for failure.
Action-oriented is another great term to keep in mind. Make sure your goal is something you will actively have to pursue. If there’s no challenge, you’ll end up quitting.
Anything worthwhile pursuing in life will be hard. If it’s not hard, your mind will tell you not to bother. And you’ll give up.
Think about what you want – what you love & sparks a bit of passion- and make sure your goal aligns with that passion.
Your goal should have a target date. For example, “I want to have my first 5 page website created and finished 8 weeks from now. Or, “I will have a portfolio completed and on my resume by the end of the year.”
Make sure you are realistic and take into account your current job, volunteer hours and other commitments. Then carve out the hours needed to complete your goal by a specific date.
Following the S.M.A.R.T. principles for setting goals is the beginning of beating those 9 to 1 odds!
Step 2. See Your Vision: Vision Boards
How do we see our vision? Through a picture or drawing, of course! Did you know we remember things 65% better when they’re attached to a picture?
So, after you’ve planned your goal with the S.M.A.R.T technique, the next step is to create a vision board full of pictures to strengthen and stimulate your emotional attachment to this goal. I know it sounds corny and artsy (especially if you’re a technical geek), but stay with me to see the science behind this.
Scientists have proven the mind responds strongly to visual stimulation and gets the right-side of our brains flooding with creativity. Your brain emits serotonin and Oxytocin when you draw and dream!
Choose pictures that represent your goal as complete. For example, if your goal is to have toned arms, choose a picture of someone with toned arms and include a picture of arm exercises. You can also include motivational phrases.
But the power is not in the vision board. The power is in what we do to make the vision a reality….
Step 3. Make It Happen: Train Your Brain
The board itself doesn't make anything happen. What changes your life is the process of get from here to there — See it, believe it, act on it. You must train your brain to want to accomplish this vision. For you to freely dream this goal into reality, you must first trick your brain.
Why? because the left side of your brain is logical. It contains the critic who is continually trying to keep you safe from harm and make sure you don’t do anything dangerous or stupid.
This instinctual rational side of your brain is going to try to talk you out of your goal.
We must trick our left side and tell it we’re going to use our right side, which is surging with creative imagination. How do you get that creative side to overpower the logical side?
Every day you get up, marinate in your vision board, and walk in the possibility of your dreams.
- When you focus on a goal or vision, this focus truly affects your brain by physically affecting neural pathways and connections
- Your brain can take all your experiences and things you’ve learned, consciously and subconsciously to recognize what resources it will need to help you succeed in reaching your goals
- It teaches your brain and creates an inner motivation to strive for your goals and dreams
Let’s go back to your goal of dreaming of being a sought-after front-end web developer who is known for creating the most unique websites ever known (let’s go ahead and make it larger than life). Make it happen:
Map out a specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based goal. Visualize this goal coming to fruition by creating a Vision Board. Then saturate yourself in your vision each day.
Ask yourself daily, “How long will you watch others do what you want to do?” The distance between your dreams and reality is called action! Get going!
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