At the risk of sounding like an inspirational Instagram quote, I have news for you: A goal without work is just a dream.
We all have goals we'd like to achieve, but getting started can be tricky, and frankly a little bit scary. What you need is a practical system for getting things done. Don't talk about it; be about it with the WOOP Method. What's WOOP?
If you could have anything, what would it be?
If you had this thing, how would your life be different?
What are some of the things that might get in your way?
Alright, so how are you going to get it?
Seems simple enough, right? Here's an example of WOOP in action: I would really like to have $1,000 in a savings account by the end of 2017. If I had that savings cushion, I would be able to take care of a money emergency without getting into credit card debt. My regular spending habits might get in the way of my savings goal, and I'm worried I'll be missing out on life by saving. My plan is to put just $50 from every paycheck into a savings account until I reach $1,000.
According to this NYU study, this process of mental contrasting really works.
Why does it work? Because the process either helps people understand their wishes are attainable, giving them energy and direction, heightening their engagement and prompting them to act; or it helps them realize their wishes are unrealistic, leading them to disengage and freeing them up to pursue other, more promising endeavors.
It's not magical thinking; it's positive, practical thinking.