How many times have we set goals for ourselves such as losing (or gaining) weight, making more money, starting a relationship, starting a business, quitting smoking, etc., only to fail and end up being disappointed with ourselves? Year after year, we set resolutions for ourselves for the same things only to not reach them. Why aren’t we accomplishing the goals we have set out to achieve?

Contrary to popular belief, the reason we don’t achieve our goals is not necessarily because we don’t take action toward reaching them (which is also important). It is also not because of a lack of commitment, self-discipline, or skills. The reason we don’t achieve them is because we lack the proper mindset needed to reach them.

Here is how we quickly achieve our goals: Start out by setting inspiring goals and then letting them resonate internally. We do that by creating what Steve Pavlina calls “a shift in identity within our ourselves”.

Let me explain by way of an example. Consider losing weight. Let’s say you’re at point A (your current weight) and you want to get to point B (your ideal weight).

What would you do if you suddenly found out one day that you have gained all this weight? First of all, you wouldn’t identify with it; second of all, it would be unacceptable for you to be at point A, because you do not identify with it. It’s not part of your reality. You would immediately stop doing things that a person at point A would do, and start doing things that a person at point B would do. Once you get into the mindset of the person at point B, then it’s just a matter of time before you achieve your goal. Instead of taking the conventional, linear approach of starting with the action steps required toward achieving the goal, we create a shift in identity through our mindset.

In order to get to point B, we need to internalize the value system and identify the side effects of the person at point B while being at point A. Side effects here could include eating right, exercising, and doing both of those things consistently. Once we identify with the side effects of the person at point B, then we simply need to close the gap by doing those things. At this point, you have done the hard work of internalizing the belief system needed to reach the goal. So now it’s only a matter of time before you get there.

To give you another example, let’s discuss money. If you want to become a millionaire (point B), what are the side effects you have to identify with (and internalize) to reach your goal? One thing could be increasing your comfort level with carrying more cash on you, which might seem uncomfortable at first. For instance, you can start keeping a couple hundred dollars on you, take some time to get comfortable with that amount, slowly increase it to five hundred, and so on and so forth. This is not to suggest that you spend all that cash. That would defeat the purpose. The point is to stretch your comfort level so that you’ll slowly grow comfortable with carrying large amounts of cash. Then, it’s a matter of time before large sums of cash (for instance, a couple of thousand dollars) start seeming unimportant to you. This is because if you were a millionaire, you would naturally perceive these amounts to be small and insignificant.

We use physical examples of losing weight and making money because they are easy to measure and you understand the idea quickly. This process can be applied to reaching any goal, which is important because that is the only way we can live life to our fullest potential. Anything less would be a disservice to ourselves and to others.

The more we can identify with the emotions and beliefs that are important to achieving our goals, the quicker we can cause the shift to occur within ourselves, and the higher our chances are of getting there.

Once we set the right goals for ourselves, it’s a matter of internalizing the values of the person we want to be by identifying the side effects associated with reaching our goals. Then, it’s only a matter of time before we close that gap. Of course, we still have to do the work, but the hard part is over.

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