Developing & Achieving Goals!

In order to have success in a given area, it is helpful to set tangible and so achievable goals. It is less valuable and less practical to think of goals in terms of the ultimate outcome one hopes to achieve. Certainly, knowing what we want to achieve is important, but it is far more important think of goals in terms of the actions necessary to get to our final destination. Simply put, think of goals in terms of cause first and effect second.

This simple distinction enables one to actually create rapid progress and is essential to actualizing our dreams and visions. I believe there is a fundamental flaw, generally speaking, in the way we think in modern society regarding how to manifest the things we want. That flaw has to do with the way we perceive the word outcome. We don’t give the word it’s full weight by emphasizing the come aspect; thinking just in terms of what will come to us or what we will get. Yet, the out element should be emphasized or at least given equal weight as a two part equation. What we put out is the pre-curser to what will come to us.

Setting Effective Goals

Having an effective relationship with our goals begins with expressing them positively, “I’ll be determined and committed,” versus “I need to stop being lazy and uncommitted.” Specificity is also very important. Be sure to state very specific goals, while including dates, times, and quantities. This helps determine how you are progressing by offering you a way to measure your results. Measurable results are absolutely necessary to assess your degree of progress. And again, this doesn’t mean if you reached your final destination, but rather helps you see your steps of success. Prioritize the goals that you have so that you don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of goals you have. You can’t work on all of them at the same time, and if they are not prioritized it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Always right them down! By writing them down, you free your mind up from thinking about them as much. The extra energy you save by doing this can be put into focusing on your goals that you have prioritized first. Believe it or not, you expend much energy thinking about the things you want to do. Which is such a waste of energy. Tools that decrease this tendency are essential to success and help you have an enjoyable process of creation. When it comes to setting effective goals, the most interesting part has to do with determining whether or not our goals are realistic. What determines whether a goal is “realistic” or not? Personally, I think we should always set goals that are “unrealistic” or beyond what we think is possible. All of the greatest inventions throughout history did not seem realistic at the outset. Yet, in the end they were achieved. Alexander bell and his telephone transmitter was nothing more than a human being with a cool idea and the determination to follow it through. If we can look at our everyday goals with this same light and passion, we will always succeed.

When I work with clients, I spend quite a lot of time assisting them in creating what I call an Overall Vision for their entire life. It is a vision that has as its fundamental nature specificity and chronology. One might think that such a vision would be easy to create, but in fact it can take quite a long time if it is done correctly. My foremost challenge is to encourage them to really say what they desire and to assist them in tapping into those interests with as much passion as Mr. Alexander Bell did with his telephone. Once the vision has been created, it is time to set it in motion by creating the habit of scheduling the necessary actions needed for success in a daily planner. For some, this is an easy thing to do, but for others it is not so easy. Especially when it includes all the areas of a person’s life. For example, a person may be highly successful at work, but may not be healthy physically or may not have a good relationship with their family. When we challenge ourselves to succeed in areas that we struggle with, we must also tackle the emotional blocks that are associated with this difficulty. This can be very challenging, and yet with the right attitude in can also be quite rewarding and fun. Establishing a harmonious balance between all the areas of our “total self,” as I like to call it, makes life a joyous adventure. gives a nice breakdown of all important areas in a person’s life that could be considered when deciding which areas to begin implementing regularly: artistic, attitude, career, education, family, financial, physical, pleasure & public service. There are of course others, but these are a good place to start.

4 Ways of Creating ‘Cause’

The next step is developing a complete understanding of the types of “outs” or causes that are available to us and understanding that each type is equally important as a practical guide to achieving the things we desire. Each of the four types of causes listed below are viewed as “behaviors.”

1. Thoughts and Thinking Habits: How do we view our thoughts? Are they random and unnecessary? Can we control them? How do they effect our physical health? Is there a relationship to what we can manifest in our daily lives and how we think? All of these question need to be answered and contemplated on very seriously. Yes, thoughts are random until we learn how to control them. Once we learn how to control them, we can source or create the thinking habits we desire versus being victims to old unhealthy ones. It has been scientifically proven that desires begin with our thinking habits. In order to intensify our desires so that we have the necessary passion to fight for the goals that we create for ourselves we have to connect deeply to those desires. Challenging ourselves to think positively allows this connection to happen. We have impulses that are transmitted via electro-chemical processes across the synapses (tiny spaces less than one millionth of an inch between each other) that separate the brain cells or neurons. Patterns and tracks are formed within our physical brain that comprise our thinking habits. Research shows that thinking different thoughts can change these patterns and so the physical makeup of our brain. When we challenge ourselves to think positively over an extended period of time about our desires, those desires become very very strong, which results in action. This is how a person can maintain strong levels of motivation and determination. Unfortunately, we have been conditioned to think of motivation in terms of the positive effects that we get. Yet, it is far more powerful to create intense motivation and desire regardless of the circumstances in our lives.

2. Feelings: Have you ever heard of the saying, “What you resist persists.” It is more true than you could possibly imagine. Feelings are our bridge to motivation, fulfillment in what we do, and ultimately our success. Notice that I use the word fulfillment instead of a word like enjoyment. Seeking a fulfilling experience is more valuable than seeking to enjoy yourself. Needing to be entertained can become a huge block to continued motivation because hard work is rarely enjoyable. Yet, it can be hugely fulfilling. It may seem like I am mincing words, but this type of distinction is necessary to allow for a clear perspective regarding what we are trying to achieve. Personally, I believe that the cause of resistance is largely due to our need to be entertained versus fulfilled. Challenging yourself to overcome cancer for instance wouldn’t be enjoyable, yet determining to do your best to overcome it and never be defeated allows for powerful versus defeated choices. In essence, I am saying that we can control our feelings by challenging our perspective. That doesn’t mean that I am saying that we should stuff or ignore or feelings. I am just suggesting that we don’t let our feelings dictate the choices we make. It is possible to feel depressed and sad and make an optimistic choice with a high degree of determination to succeed. Again, notice that I don’t suggest that a person can make a happy choice when feeling sad or depressed. That is impossible. If a person tried to make a “happy” choice when feeling sad or depressee they would, I believe, be resisting their authentic feelings. Acknowledging a feeling of sadness or depression, by allowing ourselves to feel what we feel, and choosing an optimistic choice based on the desire to succeed is the first step to a non-resistant demenor and outlook.

3. Physical Activity: How do you know if you are taking the best or right amount of action in order to acheive success. It is generally believed that the more action a person takes the more success he or she will have; more work equates to more success. I’m not sure that is necessaryily the case. Yes, of course we have to work hard. But what constitutes ” hard work?” The idea of hard work often has a negative connotation to it. You can’t work hard and have fun or hard work can’t be easy. Why not? This sort of thinking can get in the way of a fulfilling experience. There’s that word again; fulfilling. Yes, hard work can be easy. For one person, doing a hundred pushups is easy and effortless, while for another doing ten is very difficult and painful.I have worked 10 straight hours with clients and the experience was effortless and easy. That is because I have found what I am best at and made it a business. Ask me to do 10 straight hours of cooking and I will have a very difficult time. The point is this, more action does not equal more success. Right action equals more success. Meaning, taking action that is conducive to a particular situation equals the best results. For example, a person could have been at the office for 12 hours woking and notices that their attention span is severely waning. Is it better for that person to keep working or take a break. They should take a break, even if they face the possibility of not meeting a deadline. I’m not saying that people should be lazy, and continuously missing deadlines is never acceptable. If this is happening a lot, it may not have anything to do with hard work. Instead, it may be a time management or prioritizing issue. We have distorted the truth regarding hard work. We should be thinking in terms of effectiveness. AND…the only person who can determine this is ourselves from moment to moment.

4. Intuition: Intuition has been defined as, “something known or beleived instinctively without actual evidence for it.” If that is the case, then how does an individual learn to identify with their intuitive function? Well, that is difficult to say. Personally in my experience with listening to my mind & body through various meditative techniques, one’s intuition is the quietist voice that speaks from deep deep down inside. That’s about all I can say. First and foremost, as the definition states, it rarely makes any sense and is often very illogical. Yet, it is never wrong; ever! If you say that your intuition was telling you to do something that you knew would benefit you and things didn’t work out the way your intuition said, then you were not listening to your true intuition. I’ll leave this section as is, barring this final quote, “Albert Einstein wrote about mental experiments involving visual images and muscular feelings. And the mathematician Stanislaw M. Ulam said that he used mental images and tactile sensations to perform calculations, replacing numerical values with the weights and sizes of imagined objects. Those descriptions of scientific thinking may surprise you. Many people are unaware of the secret hiding in the cognitive closet that, as Einstein repeatedly stated, ‘No scientist thinks in equations’” (Root-Bernstein, Robert S. “Learning to Think With Emotion,” The Guardian 00095982 (14 Jan. 2000): A64pp. Online. Internet.

Information from this newsletter was assisted by the following website:

About Shawn Athanasios

A little bit about me. I received my BA from California State University, Northridge in Speech Communication and my MA in Culture and Communication from New York University (NYU). My Master’s degree was within the field of Interpersonal Communication and Conflict Management and my thesis topic was Meta-Cognition and Human Defensiveness. I wrote about the importance of individuals learning how to understand their defensiveness and negative thinking habits as a way to improve the overall cohesiveness within their human relationships. Curerently, I am an Adjunct Professor at SAE Institute, and my pasrt teaching experience includes several of the top Universities in the U.S. (NYU, LIM College, Pace University, Manhattan College & Georgia State University). My teaching experience includes the following courses: Interviewing Strategies, Intro to Human Communication and Culture, Interpersonal Communication, Small Group Communication, Principals and Theories of Communication, Public Speaking and Theories of Speech Communication I decided to create my own Coaching Business (JAAS Coaching) under the umbrella of Personal and Career Development for those looking to enhance their current profession, change careers, discover their deepest passions, communicate and manage conflict more effectively, achieve high levels of motivation, and find balance with their total self by offering a holistic approach to career and personal development. My eBook, "The Soul Search Before the Job Search," encompasses all of my work as a Personal and Executive Coach. My website/blog is www.JAAScoaching.comLinks to an external site. I have had many fulfilling experiences that include being raised in Laos, Ghana, India & Egypt by parents of the U.S. Foreign Service and Diplomatic community, teaching ESL in South Korea, serving as a Primary Counselor for kids out of Juvenile Hall, and mentoring grade school children through a Psychologist’s referred program. In addition, I am proud to have received a full scholarship for my Masters Degree at NYU, to have been the sole recipient of the Rosenberg scholarship and for graduating Magna Cum Laude upon completion of my graduate degree. I also presented two papers at the New York Speech Communication Association (NYSCA) conference while at Graduate School where I discussed the importance of taking full ownership of one’s shortcomings as essential to inducing change within oneself and one’s environment and how to be an effective interpersonal communicator. And finally, I was voted Faculty of The Year and Georgia State University after just one semester on the job! The article can be found on my website/blog. My volunteer work is reflected through participating in Buddhist Activities as a member of the Soka Gakkai International, the largest Buddhist lay organization in the world. Previously, I was the Young Men’s Division Leader for Houston District, I transcribed the World Tribune to audiotapes for the blind Buddhist members, I published an article in the Soka Gakkai’s Living Buddhism magazine and was a volunteer staff writer for the organization’s newspaper (The World Tribune). I continues to lead group discussions on Nichiren Buddhist Theory.
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