Have you ever met someone who is able to create the life of their dreams? They seem to have it “all together” so to speak. What ever they touch – turns to gold.
What is their secret? How did they keep themselves motivated? What is their attitude? What obstacles did they overcome?
Without a doubt, people who achieve their life’s ambitions set themselves apart by setting goals. But, there is more to it than just setting goals – as they have to follow through and accomplish those goals as well!
For the first time, Swami Satyananda Saraswati shares with us his personal goal setting process and some key secrets to success! It is all included in the Devi Mandir Goal Setting Template (below).
He developed this process himself, and uses it frequently in his own life. Read and practice this process and learn some of Swamiji’s techniques – like understanding your strengths and weakness, how to get leverage in any situation, and finding role models to follow.
Learn – Apply – Achieve! Jai Maa!
The Devi Mandir Goal Setting Template
This Goal Setting Template consists of eight process steps consisting of twelve key questions in total. Keep a journal handy and document your thoughts and answers to the twelve questions.
It is recommended that you schedule some dedicated time slots each day over the next few weeks and thoroughly evaluate the questions and develop your answers.
There is no hurry to complete the template – in fact, it may be more effective if you pace yourself and complete one step, or one question, each day for the next eight to twelve days, than if you tried to rush them all in one sitting.
In this process, quality is more important than speed, as this will allow you the necessary time to develop meaningful solutions. However, if you are familiar with goal setting, then you may work through the eight steps faster.
Use this template at least annually to set your goals, or more frequently to modify them as you continue to develop yourself along your chosen path.
You may notice that some aspects of Swamiji’s approach are so powerful that you may want to re-visit those more frequently – even daily! This is highly recommended as repetition increases the chance of success.
Swamiji updates his goals at least annually, and sometimes more frequently, if he finds it necessary to refocus his efforts in some part of his life.
We wish you success in all of your endeavors. Now, it is time to move forward to Step One!
Step One: Define What You Want Your Life to be About
Question 1: What is it that you wish for in your life? What do you want your life to be about?
If you could have anything you want, what would it be? Think through all aspects of your life, such as:
- Relationships – Who do I have in my life? What is the quality of my relationships?
- Accomplishments – What do I want to accomplish?
- Spiritual Disciplines – What spiritual practices will I commit to? What sankalpa do I want to compelete?
- Family – Do I have a significant other? What about marriage….. and children?
- Financial – What do I need financially to support myself and my obligations?
- Education – What degrees do I have? What subjects? What other focus areas of learning are interesting?
TASK: Pull out your journal and make a wish list of everything you may want in your life as of now.
Go Ahead! Be Creative!
Don’t judge what you write – just write it down!
Congratulations! You have completed Step One!
Let’s move to Step Two!
Step Two: Make a Timeline for Your Wishes
Question 2: When do you want your wishes to come true?
TASK: Pull out your wish list and, next to each wish, put the date of when you would like to accomplish this wish. When done, develop a timeline by placing your wishes in chronological order.
This step is important because it will help you focus your activities over the next year. But there is a secret – the secret is to keep focused.
For example, some of you may have very long wish lists. If this is the case, it is helpful to get focused on those goals that are most important, or life changing.
A few ideas to guide you along: identify the top three to five wishes that you feel, if accomplished soon, would change the destiny of your life, or alter your future in a positive way.
Another technique is to write the goals on sticky notes, and reorder as your priorities change.
Remember, those wishes which are life changing, need to be prioritized first on your timeline.
Take the time to prioritize now!
You are doing GREAT!
Keep up the good work and move on to Step Three!
Step Three: Get Leverage!
Question 3: Why are these wishes desirable to me?
TASK: Pull out your journal and write down why these goals are desirable.
Understanding why you want to accomplish these goals is the key to keeping yourself motivated.
It is recommended to answer this question from two perspectives. First, ask yourself all the benefits, or pleasures, that you will experience when these goals are accomplished.
For the best results, Swamiji recommends to take a few minutes and visualize that you have already accomplished your goals. How does it make you feel? How will it change your future, your relationships, your finances, the way you live, the way you feel about yourself? Jot it all down right now!
The second perspective, which is equally as effective, is it to visualize the pain you will experience if you DON’T accomplish your goals.
When you envision the pain, your mind will naturally try to avoid experiencing this. This avoidance of pain can create maximum leverage to move you to action towards your goals.
So – go ahead – visualize your future assuming that you did not achieve your goal. What would it be like? What pains and frustration would you experience? Why is it important to take action now to avoid this future outcome?
Completing this pleasure/pain exercise will give you the leverage to make the changes in your life. This step is one of the secret ingredients to manifesting your goals!
Step Four: Identify and Overcome Difficulties
Question 4. What stopped you from attaining these goals in the past?
Question 5. What would you do differently with the wisdom you have now?
Another ingredient to accomplishing your goals is to measure your impact – assess if you are getting the results you want – and make mid-course corrections.
This way of thinking is quite natural for people whose minds are conditioned for success. They constantly assess where they are compared to where they want to be, and they are clever at making mid-course adjustments in response to their environment.
Task: Pull out your journal and jot down all the difficulties and obstacles from the past that have held you back.
When finished, move to question five and jot down the wisdom that you have acquired that can move you beyond these difficulties in the future.
Take the time to rationalize this and feel in your heart that this wisdom will move you beyond the obstacles.
To help think this through, you could ask yourself:
- How could I have handled this situation differently?
- What do I know now that may have helped me?
- How would my role model, or the person I most highly respect, handle these situations?
If you made it this far, you are half way through!
Step 5: Understand and Transform Yourself!
Question 6. What personality traits keep me from the goal?
Questions 7. What personality traits are strengths that will help me get there sooner?
When you understand yourself, and bring the light of awareness to your personal strengths and weakness, you then have the opportunity to transform yourself.
Task: Pull out your journal and write down all of the traits you see in yourself that could be holding you back.
Remember, don’t just think of the obvious items – like I have too much anger or I am not confident.
But rather, take a deep dive into your own mind – into your thinking process – and see what limiting beliefs may be holding you back.
To guide you, here is a list of some common limiting beliefs, that, if you shine your awareness on them, will be a positive first step in transforming them:
- I am too old
- I am too young
- I don’t have a degree
- I am inexperienced
- I am female/male
- Too much success will be lonely at the top
- It’s my metabolism
- I don’t have time
- I am not smart enough
When you are finished with the limiting beliefs, move to question 7 and self assess what positive qualities you possess that will help you achieve your goals sooner. It is these qualities that you can leverage to move you forward.
Some examples of positive traits are: compassion, understanding, empathy, determination, reliability, efficiency, compassion, kindness, attitude of giving, patience, stamina. There are so many positive traits you can capitalize on!
To get a more accurate reading of your strengths, ask a friend, your significant other, or family members. Most will be happy to give you feedback.
Don’t forget to also write down the beliefs that inspire you.
Some examples of inspiring beliefs are – “I can do anything I put my mind to – I have trust in God – faith is everything – harmonious relationships are more important than the task at hand.”
Really investigate these beliefs as they are the underlying driving force in your life. These positive traits and beliefs are what you will lean on when the going gets tough and you need some encouragement.
Well Done! You now have a valuable assessment of strengths and opportunities.
Time to Move to Step Six!
Step 6: The Application of a Role Model
Question 8. Who are the examples of people who attained, or who came the closest to attaining, what you want?
Question 9. What do you like most about them? What did they do to get to where they are at?
Question 10. What do you like least about them?
Finding and replicating a role model is yet another secret to success. It is a shortcut!
It has been proven time and time again that the most efficient path to accomplish your goals is to replicate another who has already tread the path.
This means that we should find role models and apply their approach, methodology, and insights. Many successful people are excellent mentors and it is a blessing to find one who will share their learnings.
TASK: Pull out your journal and list some of those very special people that are living your dream.
Document what they did to get where they are. If possible, contact these potential mentors to ask for advice.
Then, assess what you like about them. What traits do they have which you would like to develop? Also, identify traits and approaches that you would not wish to replicate. Do this now!
Congratulations! You are close to completion!
Step 7: Step back and see how it all fits together
Question 11. How do all of your desires fit together?
Task: Step back and review everything you have written in your journal and contemplate what you have learned in this process.
Document in your journal all of your thoughts.
How does it feel?
How does it all fit together?
Are all aspects of your life balanced?
How do you plan to apply what you have learned?
Do your desires seem achievable in the timeframe?
Is anything missing? If so, jot down those thoughts now!
Wow! You are one step away from completing the process.
Special Blessings to you as approach the final step!
Step 8:Take Action!
Question 12. How would you describe the perfect day?
This last step integrates all of your learnings, ideas, strengths and weakness and inspires you to write down what your perfect day would look like.
Indeed, it is a true blessing to be the creator of your life’s destiny.
TASK: In your journal, write down your perfect day.
Start from the very minute you wake up and think through what you would do.
Ask yourself: What time would I arise? What do I do after I arise?
What am I doing in the morning, afternoon, and evening?
What are my spiritual disciplines and committments?
What do I learn? What do I accomplish?
What do I contribute? What do I give to others?
Where do I work?
What am I grateful for?
Who do I interact with? How are my relationships?
The more clarity you can apply to this step, the better! Visualize the day and create the emotion that you would have if you were actually living it. Clarify and feeling will improve the likelihood of manifesting.
This is your life that you are creating. Write it down and live it! Make it Yours!
Congratulations you have completed the Eight Steps.
May Goddess Lakshmi Bless You With Every Success!
Jai Maa! Jai Swamiji!