From the vantage point of January, personal dreams with just a little bit of luck will be fulfilled this year and appear in the immediate future. The emotions of hope, the beliefs of potential and possibility are strong. Foremost in the mind is "This is the year I will put my company on the top, my division will be the most profitable, I'll start my own business, or I'll get promoted.
Why is it that as January becomes February the emotion fades and the foremost thought becomes "Next Year," as the gap between the future and reality widens?
The odds of making your New Year's resolutions a reality are stacked against you as many factors work against the power of the future. I'd like to address four factors that cause drag on human energy and enthusiasm for achieving dreams and goals:
Immediacy of Human Needs. The immediacy of human needs such as eating, sleeping, house and yard work, errands, "relaxing from pressure" take the focus from events that may or may not happen in the distant future. Urgencies, deadlines, overtime at work also diffuse the future and deplete energy used for working on personal goals.
Now Vs. Then. It is difficult for the human mind to take time out from the urgencies of the NOW, the immediate, to think, focus, and act on something that may become reality in a fuzzy place in the future. Sacrificing the immediate payoff of producing in the "now" out weighs performing tasks where the payoff comes at an unknown future time.
Change Resistance. The human psychic fights change and thus sabotages our efforts to be different in the future. Personal habits are strong and keep us going down the same road every day, creating a rut if we are not careful. To change engrained habits takes great personal discipline, determination and an iron will. Making change happen in your life requires dedication to the process of achieving goals and usually involves outside support.
The Power of the Future Process. The actual process of using the power of the future to make your dreams a reality is to root your dreams firmly in the coming days through a goal setting process.
First, dreams must be morphed from figments of imagination to written goals. This process brings clarity of thought and adds the muscle of critical thinking. What is realistic about my dreams and what is puffy cloud material?
Second, the goals must have time frames attached to them with intended dates for completion on a calendar you look at every day. I call this time-lining your goals. If you don't construct a written form of your goals and timeline them, they will every stay in the "Someday" place or become ghosts of what could have been. It was American writer John Greenleaf Whittier (1807 -1892) who said, "For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, 'It might have been'."
The secret to the power of the future is to get the dream out of your heart and into a planning tool. The power of the future only comes when you have put effort into plotting how to achieve your goal, broken the goal down into steps and have given each mini-goal a base in time. This work of committing goals to paper and putting them on a calendar with deadlines on is not sexy work, but it is a sure-fire way to achievement. This process can revitalize goals made on January 1st and make them become a reality.
If your goal is to be more competent, use the power of the future by picking up your pencil and writing down what it means to you to be more competent. Describe in detail what it will look like when you become more competent. Then take that description and fashion it into a list of things to do. When you have checked off all items, you will be more competent.
The process is to give you specific, tangible targets that give you immediate direction and lead you to your destination in the future. Here is a sample check list to commit your thought process to tangible, doable items.
Be More Competent
Put the power of the future to work for you on a life-changing level by blocking time out on your daily calendar, as an appointment with yourself, to learn the new software. In the time blocked out, you can experiment with the software, read the online help, or get a buddy from IT to explain the package to you and the specific tweaks for your organization. Then when a colleague calls and wants to brainstorm the spring picnic you are co-chairing, you can honestly say, "Could we do that in the morning? I have an appointment!" Do they have to know it is with yourself?
You will experience the power of the future when you sign up for the management program, take the class and make mini-goals for implementation of the subject matter. You put the power of the future into your life as you take on leadership responsibilities in a civic group or association. Each proactive step brings you closer to the blue skies of the future.
The author of "Think and Grow Rich," Napoleon Hill, summarizes the power of the future process best when he said, "Reduce your plan to writing. The moment you complete this, you will have definitely given concrete form to the intangible desire."
It is not too late to write your name in the blue skies of 2007. Plot and plan your future today, infuse goal tasks into your daily routine and the future will belong to you!
- Write your dream down.
- Describe your dream in detail.
- Plot it into your future by making tasks with deadlines on a calendar.
- Check your dreams against your activities on a daily basis.
Karla Brandau, CSP is a speaker, trainer & successful entrepreneur. She is "A wealth of empowerment information" who provides "real help, not theory" to improve, enhance & energize your leadership skills.
Need Help Now? Call Karla on 770.923.0883 or email her email@example.com