This may sound like a strange question, but are you really excited about your goals? Of course, I'm making the assumption that you have already invested the time to think about what you want your life to be like and identified some of your goals in several areas. If not, please do this immediately. If you don't know where you're going, how will you know when you get there?

Having written goals will change your life; I guarantee it! Spend some time thinking about what you'd like your life to be like. For the sake of this exercise, let's set goals you'd like to have accomplished one year from now. Of course, you can set shorter and longer term goals as well.

What would you like for your relationships? How about your health, career, and finances? How about your mind and emotions? What would you like to experience? What would you like to do, be, or have? Invest some time now to identify these things and write them down. This will greatly increase the likelihood of your accomplishing them. If you want to know more about this, there are lots of books, including mine, to help you. That's not really the topic of this story, however, I'm asking you now to revisit your goals, particularly your short-term, six month to one year ones.

Do they make you want to jump out of bed each day eager to get going? Recently, I was feeling "less than great." I was even bordering on becoming depressed, something I rarely experience. I felt unmotivated, and wound up being pretty sick for a week. Upon closer examination, and because I agree with Plato that an unexamined life is not worth living, I realized one of the things that I had done was to reset some of my short-term goals to be "more realistic."

I think I believed what I was hearing about the current economic situation. Of course, some of what "they" are saying is true. Some people are experiencing an economic downturn. Interestingly enough, the Horchow Catalog, a collection of some of the highest priced, one-of-a-kind items you can find, is expecting another year of double-digit growth. This is as compared to a 1 or 2% for the rest of the catalog industry. They were quoted as saying that "there are always well-healed people willing to pay for fine things." Obviously, not everyone believes in the economic downturn!

What I had noticed about myself was that in the interest of being realistic, I had lowered my expectations. While this may seem like a reasonable thing to do, in reality, it left me totally uninspired and feeling pretty unmotivated about my goals. For example, if you have a goal of making enough money to "pay the bills" how exciting is that? Is that going to make you jump out of bed in the morning saying, "oh wow, I can't wait to get going, so I can make money and pay the bills!" I doubt it.

Year after year, the average sales person will set a goal of earning the same as the previous year plus 5% for inflation. I sense these are the people Henry David Throeau was speaking about when he said, "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."

Interestingly enough, the top salespeople in any industry will set outrageous goals like, "Doubling my income" and then go out and do it. I believe a big part of their success is the excitement they've created in themselves by setting the huge goal.

When I understood what I was doing, I immediately set new goals. I set goals that were way beyond my reach. Goals that were huge enough to really get my juices going. Now, when I think about my new, bigger goals, I get excited just imaging what it would feel like reaching them and what my life would be like having accomplished them. I get jazzed just thinking about my new income goals, for example.

I get excited just thinking about how I will use this new level of income. I spend time getting into the feeling of having this level of income. I ask questions like, "Where will I go on vacation? What will I buy my wife? Which charities will we contribute to?" and so on. I really step into the new income level and see myself enjoying the fruits of my labor. I have been using these techniques for many years and have experienced enormous change in my life. And even if I don't reach the exact amount, I know I will go way beyond what I might have accomplished and will feel better along the way. After all, isn't feeling good what it's all about?

Now, go get your journal, and let's start setting some new goals for the coming year. Following is a simple exercise to help you become clear about your goals and begin creating the life you've always wanted.

1. Write what you don't want. Often, it's easier to become clear about what you don't want. For example, "I don't want all these bills; I don't want to work in a dead end job," etc. What you do want is generally the opposite of this. "I want an abundance of income. I want my own successful business," and so on. Afterwards, you may want to throw this list away.

2. Write what you do want. List everything you want to do, be, and have for the upcoming year and beyond. Really let your imagination run wild. Never mind how you will do it. That will come later. For now, just write what you want without editing.

3. Pick two or three goals from your list and write them in the form of an affirmation. For example, "I am enjoying our fantastic summer house by the ocean." "I am so happy growing my own business. This makes me feel in control of my future." Do this for all the major areas of your life - spirituality, health, relationships, social, business, things, and money.

4. Next to each one, write why you want this and how you will feel when you have accomplished it. "I want this business to have more free time with my family and be in charge of my destiny. I feel powerful and secure."

5. Write at least one action you can take right now to move toward your goal. What simple step can you take immediately (today)? Maybe an immediate action would be to investigate a new opportunity you learned about in this magazine.

Each day, devote some time to reading your list of goals, concentrating on the feelings associated with having them. Feelings like free, valued, loved, secure, safe, prosperous, etc. The more you can feel the feelings your goal will produce, the faster you can draw it to you. After you reread your goals and are feeling the good feelings associated with having them, ask yourself, "What is the next action I can take to move toward this?" Do this daily and watch your life change.

Based on HANDBOOK TO A HAPPIER LIFE: A Simple Guide to Creating the Life You’ve Always Wanted, By: Jim Donovan, Paperback, $12.95 Toll-Free Ordering: 1-800-972-6657 Ext. 18 or

Author's Bio: 

About the author
Jim Donovan began giving seminars on marketing to corporations in 1992, after a career in corporate video and broadcast television that led to a personal meltdown. He started life again, reading self-help books and listening to tapes to help him change his life. His seminar business soon developed into “how to change your life” and from that evolved the stories in this book. He is co-author of Manage I.T. (Lahaska Publishing 2002) and he now speaks regularly to associations, sales organizations and network marketing groups. He and his wife live in Buckingham, Pennsylvania.