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Pin yourself down to ensure success

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Achieving your goals is much easier if you visualise your dreams and set a deadline

Around new year we often reflect on the past year and set new resolutions. Are your 2013 goals the same as those you set for 2012 but failed to attain? If so, how can you make 2013 the year you achieve your goals? The key is to learn how to set goals - and they need to be more than just SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound).

Traditional goal setting involves writing down goals on paper but when we dream, we do so in pictures not words. Goals are just dreams with a deadline. It’s a dream to get a postgraduate degree or a new job; it becomes a goal when you set a deadline.

It is often said a picture paints a thousand words. When we use pictures with words to set our goals, we get to use both sides of the brain - the left (the logical side) and the right (the emotional side).

Tips on how to create a successful goal map

There are seven simple steps to effective goal mapping:
● Dream What do you want to achieve?
● Order Which goals take priority?
● Draw Communicate your goals to your subconscious
● Why Identify your emotional drivers
● When Define your timeline
● How What are the actions you will need to take?
● Who Whose support do you require and how will they help you?

Using words engages the conscious side of our brains, whereas pictures tap into the subconscious part. To make your goals compelling, whole-brain use is required. You can liken it to a genie and a master of a lamp - the master does not grant the wish, the genie does. But the genie relies on the master to ask for the wish. They have to work together. Similarly, your subconscious mind is always seeking a target and requires your conscious mind to choose one. When you consciously set a goal, the subconscious mind regards it as a command. When none is set, it selects your dominant thought - positive or negative.

So how can you make your goals compelling? Map them. Begin with the end in mind. Imagine that you have achieved your goals and how it will make you feel. Your goals need to be personal, in the present tense and stated positively as this will become a command for your subconscious mind.

For each goal write down what you want in a statement of about 10 words and draw a picture symbolising the goal. Then plan how to achieve each goal using “why?”, “when?”, “how?” and “who?”. These steps will enable you to create a goal map.

Once you have done this, like any other map, it has to be used. View your goal map just before you go to bed and read the words aloud, stating them as affirmations. Do the same thing again when you wake up. Throughout the day, act as if you have already achieved your goal.

Follow through with the plan you have drawn up and make sure you evaluate and celebrate your progress. Once you achieve your goals, set new ones so you continue to grow. Enjoy making 2013 your best year ever.

● To download a free goal-mapping template, visit


Ruth Oshikanlu is a nurse, midwife and practising health visitor in London. A coach and managing director of Goal Mind, she also works with individuals to uncover and analyse their key motivators, and coach them to perform at their best. She is also a Queen’s Nurse








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