[Capt. Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell]: Don’t think, just do!
-Top Gun: Maverick (2022)
Setting ambitious goals is the first step on the path to personal and professional success.
However, the journey toward these goals is often hindered by mental barriers that can seem insurmountable. Whether it’s procrastination, self-doubt, or a lack of motivation, these mental walls can prevent us from reaching our full potential.
In this guide, I share some actionable steps to push through these barriers and turn your aspirations into achievements.
The Choice Point
“Rehearsing goals through multi-sensory imagery can increase motivation by up to five times compared to traditional methods.“
-Joanna Grover LCSW, and Jonathan Rhodes PhD, The Choice Point: The Scientifically Proven Method to Push Past Mental Walls and Achieve Your Goals
- Know Your Values:
- Recognize Choice Points, moments where behavior aligns with values and goals.
- Values guide motivation and behavior; aligning actions with values leads to a desired future.
- Addressing Choice Points crucial for personal and global goals.
- Motivation influenced by envisioning a desired future and responding positively to Choice Points.
- Amplify Your Motivation with Your Senses:
- Multi-sensory imagery enhances goal motivation.
- Detailed sensory rehearsal increases motivation up to five times compared to traditional methods.
- Imagining achievement surroundings, sensations, and emotions equips for challenges.
- Milestone visualization and identifying present actions toward goals are key.
- Mindset vs. Attitude:
- Persistent, tenacious attitude vital for progress, more impactful than a fixed mindset.
- Imagining future possibilities fosters positive attitude.
- Curiosity and a positive attitude facilitate learning, fostering evolution.
- Attitude guides mindset; belief in the potential for growth and development.
- Get a Cue to Activate Imagery:
- Cues, deliberate actions, help refocus and maintain attention toward goals.
- Breath as a cue activates vivid goal imagery.
- Cues shift attention, empower at Choice Points, enhance control.
- Greater control over reactions, empowerment to act toward goals.
- Your Rules, Your Way:
- Define three non-negotiable rules aligning with personal values.
- Example: CEO prioritizes family, friendship, and health.
- Plan for Choice Point moments; use imagery to explore solutions.
- Navigating Choice Points leads to desired behavior, maintaining the best version of oneself.
How To Push Mental Walls and Achieve Your Goals
1. Know Your Values and Identify Choice Points
Knowing your values and identifying choice points are pivotal steps in achieving your goals. Begin by introspectively examining and defining your core values—what truly matters to you in life. This self-awareness serves as a compass for decision-making. Simultaneously, recognize choice points, those critical junctures where your actions can either align with your values and future goals or deviate from them.
These choice points often manifest as quick moments requiring a decision—like opting for a healthier choice or succumbing to an unhealthy habit. Mastering your response to these choice points, guided by your values, enables a transformative shift in behavior, directing your thoughts and actions toward the desired goals and a more fulfilling life.
- Actionable Step: Take time to identify your core values. What truly matters to you? Family, health, career, personal growth? Knowing your values provides a compass for your decision-making.
- Actionable Step: Recognize Choice Points – those critical moments when your behavior can either align with your values and goals or take you further away from them.
2. Amplify Motivation with Multi-Sensory Imagery
To enhance motivation and propel yourself toward your goals, engage in multi-sensory imagery. Envision your desired achievements in intricate detail—what you see, hear, feel, and even taste or smell in that moment. This immersive mental rehearsal, likened to a dress rehearsal for success, has been shown to boost motivation significantly compared to traditional methods.
Break down your goals into major milestones, using vivid sensory imagery to not only visualize but experience the journey, reinforcing your commitment and resilience.
- Actionable Step: Practice multi-sensory imagery by vividly imagining your goal achievement. What do you see, hear, feel, and even taste or smell in that moment?
- Actionable Step: Break down your goals into major milestones. Visualize each milestone, celebrating your progress and reinforcing your commitment.
3. Focus on Attitude Over Mindset
While mindset is crucial, fostering a positive and tenacious attitude can be even more impactful. Instead of being confined by fixed beliefs, cultivate an attitude that embraces change, growth, and adaptability.
Envision your future self and see the possibilities for development along your learning curve. Pair this attitude with curiosity, creating a mindset that constantly evolves, asks challenging questions, embraces vulnerability, and relentlessly pursues learning. With the right attitude, seemingly insurmountable goals become achievable, unlocking a world of new possibilities.
- Actionable Step: Cultivate a positive and tenacious attitude. Believe in your ability to adapt, learn, and grow, even in the face of challenges.
- Actionable Step: Embrace curiosity. Ask questions, be open to new perspectives, and see setbacks as opportunities for learning and improvement.
Related content: How Curiosity Can Transform Your Life
4. Use Cues to Activate Imagery and Motivation
When faced with moments of waning motivation, employ cues as deliberate actions to shift your focus and activate goal-oriented imagery. This could be as simple as taking a deep breath or a sip of your drink. As you exhale, vividly imagine your future dream goal—visualize where you are, who you’re with, the sounds, touch, smell, and the accompanying emotions.
These cues serve as conscious triggers, helping you stay focused, refresh your thinking, and provide a mental space for experiencing motivation. Recognize your cue when you need a motivational boost, allowing you to regain control over your actions.
- Actionable Step: Identify a cue that works for you – it could be a deep breath, a specific gesture, or a phrase. Use this cue to shift your focus and activate goal-oriented imagery.
- Actionable Step: Practice using your chosen cue regularly, especially during challenging moments. This will reinforce the connection between the cue, imagery, and motivation.
5. Establish Non-Negotiable Rules Aligned with Values
Define three non-negotiable rules that align with your core values, reflecting what is truly significant to you. For instance, if family, friendship, and health are paramount, establish rules like being present with family daily, scheduling regular friend meetings, and committing to a health routine.
Plan for choice point moments by anticipating situations that might challenge these commitments. Use multi-sensory imagery to explore solutions in advance, equipping yourself with the skills to navigate these moments and ensuring that your behavior remains aligned with your values. These rules act as a guiding framework, shaping your actions and maintaining the best version of yourself.
- Actionable Step: Define three non-negotiable rules that align with your core values. These rules should reflect what truly matters to you in life.
- Actionable Step: Plan for Choice Points by anticipating situations where your commitment to these rules might be tested. Use multi-sensory imagery to explore solutions that keep you aligned with your values.
Putting It All Together
Achieving your goals is not just about setting objectives; it’s about navigating the mental terrain that stands between you and success. By incorporating these actionable steps into your daily life, you can break down mental barriers and build the resilience needed to pursue your goals with determination and purpose.
Remember, the journey is as important as the destination. Celebrate your progress, learn from challenges, and stay committed to pushing through mental walls.
With a clear understanding of your values, a positive attitude, and the power of multi-sensory imagery, you have the tools to turn your aspirations into reality.
Push those mental walls aside and step into a future where your goals are not just dreams but tangible accomplishments.