Category Archives for "Week Seven – What do I want? Establishing your aims"

Week Seven / Day One – Moving on from the Reality step to the Aim Step

 

Click here for the audio version of the lesson

It’s time to get excited because you are about to recreate your life!!

Now that you have learnt a lot about accepting the reality of a troublesome situation and have learnt how to look at that situation from a different, more expanded perspective, it’s time to start doing something about that situation.

Because even though you are able to accept the situation, as mentioned, this is only the second step of the TRACK process.  So now with that acceptance you move onto step three of the TRACK Process – Aim.

The reality is that challenges will occur, both in motherhood and in most other areas of your life.  It is the way that you accept and handle these challenges that will make a difference to your level of overall happiness about your life.

If you allow challenges to be bigger than what they are then you become consumed by them and they will start to define your existence.  If you acknowledge their presence, put yourself into learn and grow mode and be graceful about the fact that, once again it’s time to experience something challenging, then you will already be looking at this situation in a different way.

Setting an aim helps you to attack these challenges with a solution focussed attitude that doesn’t allow you to be consumed by it.

The trouble is that most people don’t ask themselves what they want.  They are way too focussed on what isn’t happening and what they are not getting in their lives.  Their attention is fixed on seeing what’s wrong and resisting that their life is not going ‘right’.

‘I’m having trouble breastfeeding’.  ‘My child won’t sleep’.  ‘This is not the way motherhood was supposed to be’.  ‘I didn’t have a natural, easy labour.  I had a caesarean’.  ‘My husband won’t help me’.  ‘I’m tired of being a stay at home mum and feeling bored and purposeless’.

But what if you put your attention on learning more about how to breastfeed, knowing that it is a skill that you need to practice at and that it is something that you may never have done before and will take some newfound knowledge in order to successfully master this skill?

What if you keep your attention focussed on finding a sleep technique that suits your child?  What if you put your attention on how you can work with your current situation and create motherhood to be the way you would like it to be?  What if you put your attention on the healthy baby you now have (after the caesarean) and cultivating a special relationship with that child ?  What if you set the aim to work on your relationship instead of disliking what is happening within it?  What if you set the aim to find interesting things to do while you are staying at home with your child and doing things that inspire you while you are looking after your children?

We will rarely enjoy tough times or some of the challenges that come into your life, but the reality is that they do come into our lives and are enormously valuable, for they are the very times that you learn from and they propel you to other life experiences and help you to another level of understanding about yourself and life.

It is also an opportunity to shift your focus onto what you want.  This is what we will start to do in the AIM step of the Mind TRACK to Happiness process.

Focussing on what you want gives you somewhere to go.  It keeps you moving ahead.  Your attention is on what’s coming not what’s already been and gone.

The True Purpose of Setting Aims

When we set goals we often believe that achieving them is the purpose of setting them in the first place.  While achieving goals is the agenda for setting goals, it is not the true purpose of setting goals. 

When you set a goal, you essentially set life in motion.  Just by setting the goal you are changing the way your life unfolds and how your life contributes to how other people’s lives unfold.  By setting goals you learn new things, have new experiences and add to your knowledge of life, which ripples out to other aspects of your life.

There is a flow on affect that occurs when we all set goals that is bigger than the achievement of goals.  The way towards your aim is filled with experiences that add to your journey, your unique ‘story’ of life, and adds to those around you.

For example, setting the aim to teach your child not to tantrum puts your attention into the direction of finding ways to deal with that tantrum.  By implementing what you have learnt you are teaching your child the consequences of having tantrums.  When you implement your plan in the shopping centre, this contributes to onlookers who may be observing what you are doing and taking it on for their own lives at some level.  By teaching your child not to tantrum you are contributing to the person he/she will become and changing the course of how their life unfolds. 

Perhaps you went onto a chat forum and asked other mothers for advice on how they are dealing with tantrums.  Those ladies who are contributing this knowledge may feel good about themselves that they were able to pass on information from their experiences and you may have just completely change their day.  Perhaps they were having a bad day where they felt useless or like they had no purpose, however because you had an aim and sought out help on this forum and one lady was able to give you her advice, she now sees that her challenges have been beneficial and feels good about herself.  Because she feels good about herself, she then handles her child’s tantrum without anger and finds a better way of approaching it, which adds to her child’s life.

We will never know how our life is going to affect another person and just by setting goals we set the wheels in motion to contribute more of ourselves to the world around us and grow and learn as a human being.

It doesn’t matter whether you get the goal or don’t get the goal.  There is value in both because just having a goal contributes to the unfolding of life.

That doesn’t mean that you won’t still set goals with the intention of achieving them, it just means that you no longer need to attach your self-worth or your life’s worth to the achievement of these goals.

This is really important to someone who does depression because they are conditioned to believe that the achievement of goals, or getting life ‘right’ (meaning that I must achieve my life’s aims), is what defines self-worth, so if they don’t achieve these things they begin to feel like a failure.

Every situation has value because of the learning it brings and how it contributes to your life.  On the way to the goal, when you get to the goal AND if you don’t get to the goal, there is always learning and contributing going on.

So if you don’t achieve what you want, this brings us back to the points from the reality step:  Find the hidden good in the bad, see what you are getting instead of what you missed out on.

We will always set goals in order to get what we want in life and to experience what we would like to, however these aims to not define our self-worth.

With this information, a depression sufferer (who has given up on life because they have not achieved something they expected to) can begin setting goals again, with this new understanding that we set goals to experience and learn about life, not to define our self-worth.

So how do I begin setting goals?

This week is all about how to set aims in our life, although it’s not going to be as boring as that sounds.  We are going to do it a little bit differently than traditional goal setting techniques.

We are going to use the reality thinking model as a guide to setting up aims that work on the smaller picture first (the situation) and expanding out to the bigger picture (aims for being a parent,aims for your life and aims for your self-worth).

Setting aims for a difficult situation is very helpful as you feel like you are doing something about your immediate problems.  However as you go on this journey of achieving this goal, as usual there will be ups and downs.

By setting aims that are in alignment with how you want to be as a parent, what you want for your life and how you want to feel about yourself, you keep these highs and lows in perspective with your bigger picture aims.  This will stop you getting consumed by the challenges you face when achieving your situation goals.

I recently came across a woman named Celestine Chua who wrote “How to successfully achieve Any Goal” (www.celestinechua.com).  She explains the difference between objective goals and activity goals which will help you to understand why I believe it is important to set aims that expand your attention towards the bigger picture, not just focussing on the present situation.

She says:

“Objective goals are your vision behind activity goals. Activity goals are specific end outcomes which you are more familiar with, such as lose 10lbs or earn $10,000.

Examples of objective vs activity goals are: Be healthy vs lose 20 lbs. Foster strong relationships vs Spend more time with family. Have an enriching, fulfilling career vs get a job as a financial trader. Living in abundance vs increasing income by $500.

Objective goals are the visions you want to pursue forever in your life rather than end destinations. Activity goals are means to achieve those visions.

Objective goals usually remain the same throughout your life.  Activity goals change over time.”

When we set goals to improve our present situation in life (for example, tantrums, money issues, relationship issues etc) we are essentially setting activity goals.  These activity goals will be the aims you set to help you through your present situation.

However, during this week you are also going to set aims about how you would like to be as a parent, what you want for your life and how you want to be as a person (your self-worth).  These will be your objective goals.

Let me show you why setting both objective and activity aims are important:

Let’s say that after finishing this week you had set the activity goal (the situation’s aim) to work on some relationship issues that you have.  After finishing this week, you have also set some objective aims about the type of parent you want to be, what you want for your life and how you want to be as a person (self-worth).

They are:

Parenting aims:    A good role model for my kids, be calm, be able to teach them how to look at life’s ups and downs with a healthy mindset.

Life Aims:                 To have harmonious relationships with others, enjoy my life, continue to seek new experiences that fulfil me and excite me.

Self-worth Aims:  To be respected, to respect myself, to feel confident, to love myself and speak kindly to myself.

Now that you have set these aims, you continue on the TRACK process and establish how you are going to achieve the situation’s aim and have a plan in place. 

However along your way towards achieving this goal of working on your relationship issues you have a conversation with your husband about a new agreement that you would like to make between you and it escalates into an argument.  You start shouting at each other, and what’s more you are doing this in front of the kids.  The conversation is getting quite heated and you begin calling each other names and being nasty to each other.

Is this situation meeting your objective aims, meaning your parenting aims, your life’s aims or your self-worth aims?

You wanted to be a good role model for your children.  Is this back and forth, name-calling doing that?  Is fighting in this way meeting your life aims of having harmonious relationships with others?  Are you being respectful to yourself and being respected in this situation like you wanted in your Self-worth aims?

Having these bigger picture aims give you a reference point to gauge your life events against.  You are consistently aiming for your life to meet these objective goals (the bigger picture aims) so you can use them to continue to question whether your life is aligning to these aims or not.

If they are not, then it’s simply an indication that some changes need to be made to the way you are approaching your situation’s aims.  So remember it’s not about you being worth-less if these objective goals are not being met. The objective goals are things that you continually strive for and so you find more ways of improving that and you can use your situation’s aims to compare them against whether it’s meeting your bigger picture goals.

It’s really just like setting aims that are in alignment with your values, except you are being very specific about your values by categorising them into the aims for being a parent, for your life and for your self-worth.

Two questions to ask yourself when setting your Aim

In order to set aims that are going to serve you well and lead you away from stress, depression and anxiety in the future there is also another element to this aim setting process that we need to consider, and that is your motives for setting the aims that you do.

Because your current habitual thinking has the tendency to think stressful, depressive or anxious thoughts, it is important to consciously analyse your aims as you set them and ask yourself two key questions about these aims.

The first question is – Why do I want this aim?

As we learnt last week, our priorities are governed by our beliefs, so if your habitual thinking is to access beliefs that cause stress and are in conflict with the realities of life and self-worth, then while you are working on changing these habitual beliefs, you need to continue to be conscious of your choices and decisions to make sure that they are in alignment with reality.

By asking yourself ‘Why do I want this aim?’ you are asking yourself what your agenda is for achieving this goal.  What do I think that I will get out of achieving this aim?  Every decision we make and action we take will be a priority to protect our self-worth or increase it, because we are constantly on the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain and rating our lives in accordance of whether we are receiving this or not.

With this in mind, what you will find is that all of your aims will be aimed at making yourself feel good. There is nothing wrong with this, but what we want to test, is that you are not feeling worth-less because of what is happening right now and also that you don’t attach your self-worth to the achievement of this goal.

Remember there is value in everything so no situation is lacking in benefits to some degree.  Yes, you will want to improve or change situations that are challenging you and pursue an outcome that will help you to enjoy life again, but you must always be conscious of any thinking that is resisting what is currently happening and making you feel like your life is going wrong, that you are missing out or that you are worth-less because it is happening.

This is why steps one and two of the Mind TRACK to Happiness process are the foundation of this entire process.

By asking yourself ‘Why do I want this (aim)’ you can assess your responses and see if you answers are in conflict with reality of self-worth and need to be upgraded or not.

The second question that you need to ask in order to assess your aim is; Is what I want in conflict with reality?

Sometimes we set out to achieve something that is just not in our control (for example, winning lotto).  Sometimes we set goals that are in conflict with the reality of where we are at in life at the moment (for example,  becoming a millionaire by next month when you can’t rub two cents together today).

While these are extremes and quite logical examples of unrealistic goals, sometimes we set our aims without really giving them careful consideration and then when we cannot achieve them, we get upset and feel like we are failing again.

We must check our aims to see if they are in conflict with reality by asking yourself ‘Is what I want in conflict with reality?’

What you might also find is that an aim that you set is something that is out of your control (getting someone else to behave a certain way for example), but you still might make that your aim.  This is fine, as long as you remain conscious that you don’t have control over another’s behaviour and that you cannot determine when or if you will ever achieve this aim.  It is always better to aim for something that you can work towards achieving, not relying on someone else’s behaviour.

We will continue to use steps one and two throughout the entire TRACK process because these two steps are what stop stress, depression and anxiety. We must continue to ‘check in’ with our mindset as we go about changing and doing the work needed to achieve the activity (small picture) & objective (bigger picture) aims that we want for our lives.

So let’s get started.  This is the exciting part of the TRACK process because you are now about to redesign your life and shift your focus on what you want for your life. 

We’ve let go of the past, we’ve accepted the now.  Next it’s time to start getting the learning and knowledge that is going to propel you to the next level of your life – the solution focussed approach to living your best life.

Week Seven / Day Two – Aims for being a parent

 

Click here for the audio version of the lesson

In order to start setting our aims, we are going to start with setting your objective goals first.  Remember that the objective goals are your bigger picture goals.  These are the ones that kind of sit in the background as your life unfolds and ones that you continue to align to as you set the various activity goals in your life.  The activity goals, for the purposes of this aim step, will be the aims you set that are going to help you through your present problematic situation.

We are going to set your objective goals first because they are the bigger goals that you are essentially aligning your life too.  Activity goals will come and go.  Sometimes you will achieve them and sometimes you won’t.  Objective goals set a benchmark for growth.  You are always working towards them but they aren’t really a destination that you will reach.  You will continue to improve and grow in the direction of these bigger picture aims.  For example, you might set a parenting aim to create a close bond with your child.  If this is one of your aims then your situation goals (your activity goals) would be to spend a certain amount of time with your child.  As long as you are both alive, you will continue to work on your objective goal of creating a close bond with your child.

Since we are using the reality thinking model as a guide to setting our aims, we’re going to ignore your aims for your present situation for now (as they are your activity goals) and create your bigger picture, objective goals first, by concentrating on your parenting aims first.

Once you have set your parenting aims, your aims for your life and your self-worth aims, you are then ready to tackle your urgent situation goals, that is, the aims you will set that will help you through the problematic situation that you are presently experiencing (for example, the developmental challenge with your child or a relationship issue etc.)

This week is going to be run a little different to other weeks because as we go through each day, you are going to need to work through a few small exercises with pen and paper by your side, so that you can establish some of your aims.  All of these small exercises that you do this week will all be needed to tie in this week’s learning into exercise day at the end of this week.

So grab your pen and paper and let’s get started!

The first thing that I want you to do is to put your fears, self-doubts and self-criticisms aside and step into your ideal world.  You are going to begin using your imagination in order to establish what your aims might be in relation to being a parent.

We all have a vision of the kind of parent we would like to be, what values we would like to pass down to our children and what sort of role model you would like to be for your children.

Chances are that if you have been suffering from depression, stress or anxiety in the area of parenting then you have been rating yourself as not being a very good mother.

Hopefully after going through the Thoughts and Reality steps so far you have found a different perspective on this and have begun to see that there is value in the challenges that you have been going through, and are now able to detach your self-worth (or your value as a mother) from the events that have been occurring thus far.

However, even though you are aligned with the reality of the ups and downs of being a parent and have the understanding that there are skills to be learnt and practiced and that you are always doing the best you can with the information you have, you may still feel like you are long way away from being the kind of parent that you would like to be.

Among the events leading up to now, I would bet that you have put a lot of attention on what you are doing wrong, but not a lot of attention on what the ideal parent actually is that you want to be, or at least been able to to look at this ideal parent in a realistic way.

So now is the time to start thinking about what your ideals are for your role as a parent.  You know what their personalities are and the regular challenges that you tend to come across, the personalities that make up your children and your reactions to the events that occur in your daily life.  Just take a moment to close your eyes and imagine these day to day activities with your children.  What is happening?  How are you responding to these events?  What is the ideal scenario here?  How would you like to respond to these moments?  What do you want for yourself as a parent?  What do you want to provide your children in these scenarios?

Step One

Take some time to think about your present situation and think about some of the bigger picture aims that you would like in your ideal world of being the ideal parent.  Don’t worry about the how or whether you are capable of achieving these aims, or even how realistic your aim is at this point.  That’s why we question our aims with our two key questions.  You are simply just brainstorming what your ideal picture is of the parent you would like to be.

Here is an example of a scenario and some aims that you might write to help you to become the ideal parent:

You are a mother who is experiencing angry children who lash out, yell, hit, scream, tantrum and generally misbehave.  As a result you are stressed, run down and exhausted after running around after them and you often respond with an equal amount of anger and rage as you battle to get them to do what you want them to do.  Here are some potential goals that you might set in the area of being a parent:

a)  To be a calm mother who communicates well with her child

b)  To be able to install confidence and self-love in my children

c)  To help my kids learn the difference between right and wrong

d)  To teach my children to respect and love each other and how to have harmonious relationships

e)  To bring love and fun back into the house

You will notice that all of these aims are written in a positive sense.  It tells you what you want, not what you don’t want.  It doesn’t say “I don’t want to be angry anymore’, or “I don’t want to smack anymore”. It tells you what you do want.  This is important because the attention expands in the direction that you send it in.  “Don’t think of a pink elephant”.  What are you going on about, you might say?  Well, don’t think of a pink elephant.  What does that make you do?  It makes you think of a pink elephant.  But I just told you not to.  Exactly.  When you say ‘I don’t want to be angry anymore’ what are you focussing on?  You’r focussing on being angry.  What you want to do is put your attention on what you want, not what you don’t want or what you are trying to stop.

With that in mind go ahead and write down, in your notebook, some possible aims that you might like to have that fit in with your individual circumstances.  Put them under the heading “Potential Aims for being the ideal parent”.   Remember that you are not trying to solve the situation at this point, you are looking at the bigger picture of what you want to teach your children and the way that you would like to be as a parent overall. 

Step Two

Beside each of your aims ask yourself the two key questions about your aims and write down your answers.  They are:  Why do I want this?  & Is what I want in conflict with reality?  These are the two questions that are now going to test your potential aims to see if your answers need to be upgraded to being in alignment with reality.

Here is an example of this step using the same scenario as above:

a)  To be a calm mother who communicates well with her child.

Why do I want this?  Because I want to stop all this hostility in my house.  It drains my energy, I don’t enjoy my kids when this occurs and I don’t like myself when I’m like this.  Also, it doesn’t help my children to learn not to behave like this.  My behaviour teaches them to behave this same way, which is only adding to more conflict in the house.  I think if I can change myself, then maybe it will change them too.

Is what I want in conflict with reality?  If my agenda is to change myself so they will change, I just need to be sure that I’m not measuring their behaviour against whether I’m being calm enough or not.  They will be behaving in their way due to their beliefs and while I do believe that my behaviour change will dramatically change their behaviour, I still cannot control how they behave and how they perceive life.  I can only continue to help them to change their ways and hope that this has the desired effect.

You can see in these two questions it just makes sure that your aims are not setting yourself up for more stress by attaching your self-worth to the outcome of achieving this goal.  There is nothing wrong with this aim ‘to be a calm mother who communicates well with her child’,  however this mum just needed to make sure that her perspective on ‘change myself so my children will change’ is kept in perspective too.  Consciously contemplating what your real agenda is (which will always be in your best interests anyway)  helps you to be aware of those times when you are hoping that a specific outcome will occur and that you continue to keep your aim in alignment with reality (for example, someone else’s behaviour is not in my control and does not define my self-worth).

Let’s have a look at another aim from this example that may need to be changed, or reworded because it doesn’t align with reality:

c)  To help my kids learn the difference between right and wrong

Why do I want this?  They are always doing the wrong thing.  I can never get them to behave appropriately or to do what they’re supposed to do.  I need to teach them that there are things that you do that are the right thing and things that are wrong, so that they can implement this into their own lives as they grow older.  I really want my kids to know how to behave in public so that they don’t embarrass me.  I hate it when everyone looks at me because my kids are doing the wrong thing.  I just know that they are judging me.  Also, it’s going to make my life a lot easier if they would just do what they are supposed to do instead of doing the wrong thing all the time.

Is what I want in conflict with reality?  Firstly, let’s take a look at the reality of your child’s behaviour to begin with.  It’s not wrong in their eyes.  Their behaviour is due to priorities that they have that come from their beliefs.  Perhaps it’s not wrong, it’s just that their priorities are not the same as yours are.  Now this doesn’t mean that you should just let them misbehave in public, however, understand that they are not wrong for behaving this way, they simply have their priorities mixed up because they don’t yet understand the importance of certain values, such as respect, consideration for others and also, the consequences for behaving the way they do.  The reality of life is that they can’t just go around hitting people and yelling at people to get what they want in everyday life, because there are going to be some real harsh consequences for that that you aren’t going to be able to protect them from forever, so you need to be able to teach them these values so that they can take these learnings out into the world. 

You want to be really careful with this right/wrong kind of language because you don’t want to install in them that there is a right way to live and a wrong way to live and if you get it wrong then you are somehow worth-less.  The reality is that we are always learning and growing and there will be times where we stuff up and we learn lessons from those times.  When we impress upon our children that they are doing something ‘wrong’ then we are alluding to them being wrong and this can cause all sorts of self-worth issues. 

Secondly, the agenda here seems to about making your life a whole lot easier by having them do what they’re ‘supposed to do’.  What is it that their ‘supposed to do’?  This may need further investigation.  Is their ‘supposed to’ about doing things that make your life easier, or is it about living with adequate moral values and having the space to learn and grow through their mistakes and adversities.  If it is to make your life easier, then perhaps you need to revisit your thinking around your life being hard to see whether you can change the way you look at their behaviour with the reality thinking model.  You could still set this aim with the agenda of making your life easier, but just know that there is a mindset involved here that keeps you thinking that this situation is presently hard.  Also, if your agenda is to teach them moral values, then I think that this aim can be revisited and reworded to be in alignment with the reality that we are always learning and are always having our ups and downs that give us this learning.  There is no right path or wrong path for life to go, there is only one path and that is your unique life.

If you would like to install healthy morals in your children then perhaps a more appropriate goal might be:  to teach my children the value of respect, healthy communication and consideration for others, rather than it being about teaching them the difference between right and wrong.  Maybe an aim that teaches them certain values might be more of a productive goal that teaches them more about values rather than being right and being wrong.

With these examples in mind, go ahead in your notebooks and test your aims against our two questions:  Why do I want this?  & Is what I want in conflict with reality?

Whenever you are setting your aims, you really need to be careful of what your agenda is and the specific language that you use when you set your aims and test them.  Firstly, you don’t want to be setting yourself up for more stress if you are attaching your worth to the achievement of your goals.  Secondly you don’t want to be installing ‘get your life right’ beliefs in your children either.  This whole idea of right and wrong runs rife in our society today and it causes so much pressure amongst people.   While yes, there is a right and wrong in terms of a morals and social etiquette, there is also the reality that we are all on our journey of learning and growing, so we won’t always get it right.  Furthermore, we are always operating with the priorities that we have IN EVERY SINGLE MOMENT, so we need to stay aware of what these priorities and also teach our children to think about the decisions they are making in their lives and whether they are in alignment with the reality of life, and more importantly, the reality of self-worth.

Step Three

Now that you have tested your aims against our two key questions, write in your notebooks your final aims that you would like to set as your objective goals.  Know that you have been really honest in your agenda and are clear that you do not have your self-worth attached to these aims. 

At this point don’t worry about how you are going to start achieving these aims.  If this is what you want to go for,  then just right these aims for now.  In the choices step and the know your plan steps taught next week and the week after, I’m going to teach you how you can start implementing plans to reach these aims, or start your growth towards these aims.

Remember, with these objective aims you are continually working on the achievement of them.  There will be times where you feel like you are achieving these aims (for example, you have handled a situation calmly) and then there will be times where you have resorted to old thinking and totally lose the plot again.  The point is that when you set these aims, consciously, you then set about consistently working towards them through life, or in this case, throughout your relationship with your children. 

There will be many challenges that arise that test your commitment towards this aim and also show you that you have more to learn about how to consistently achieve this aim, so don’t go attaching your self-worth to achieving this aim 24/7, as the whole reason we are setting these objective aims is to give you a benchmark to continuously aim for.

Now that you have your list of aims for the ideal parent you would like to be, in tomorrow’s lesson we are going to expand on your objective goals to create what aims you want for your life.

Week Seven / Day Three – Aims for your life

 

Click here for the audio version of the lesson

How much time have you spent considering what you what you would like for your life?  I mean really considering your ideal life?

Most people have their dreams, but that’s where they stay, in dreamland.  Most people don’t actually expect that they will ever achieve these dreams and don’t do anything to take action towards them either.  This is because they don’t believe in them.

As we continue through the Mind TRACK process I want you to start to entertain the possibilities of how your life could unfold.  We have learnt a lot about how your mind follows the direction it is sent in.  If you don’t actually believe in your dreams, then you will not invest any attention on achieving them.

In this lesson, you are going to contemplate and set all of the goals that you wish to obtain in this life.  This is quite important because when you are experiencing a tough or challenging situation, you want to expand your attention out to looking at the bigger picture.

Knowing what your goals are for your life will stop you from being so consumed by this moment, because you have bigger goals that you are aiming.

The trouble however, is that not many people actually stop to consider what they would like to experience for their lives.  Often, if asked what you want for your life, most people might say ‘to be happy’, ‘to be healthy’, ‘to bring up healthy and happy kids’.  But what does this mean?  What would you need to do in order to achieve these things?

One of the things that you ned to do when setting your aims is to be specific.  In this lesson you are going to get specific about what you want for your life.

There are two aspects that you need to consider when setting your life’s aims:

1)  The way you want your life to be, generally

2)  The experiences you want to have in your life.

 

The way you want your life to be, generally

Setting goals on life and the way you want it to be is all about your general overall picture of an ideal life.  Often our ideals are based on how we think we ‘should’  live which can often be conditioned within us, as a child, and come from the beliefs of other people and society.  Goals like:

  • Being skinny

  • Being married with children

  • Living in a house that you own with a white picket fence

  • Being financially comfortable

  • Having a job that you enjoy. 

There’s nothing wrong with having these aims as your ideal life, as long as these are things you actually want for your life.

Also, you need to set your aims from where you are currently at in life.  This is why steps one and two of the TRACK process are valuable.  You need to be in alignment with the reality of your present situation, so in this step you can say, ‘right, this is where I’m at, so where do I go from here?  What is the ideal of this situation?’

For example, let’s say that you have had a marriage break up and you are now a single mum.  Even though it may not have been what you envisaged in your perfect picture of an ideal family or how your life was ‘supposed to go’, it is the present reality of the situation. So what do you want now?

Would your aims be to learn how to become independent and enjoy not being in a relationship?  Would your aim be to be happy within yourself while also setting the aim of being in a healthy relationship in the future?

This part of setting an aim for your life is about setting generalised aims for how you would like to experience your day to day life, keeping in mind, however the reality of life’s ups and downs and the understanding that we will not always live our ideal life.  There will be times where life throws some challenges at you and they don’t come close to your ideal life, however remember, setting these bigger picture aims are things that we continually strive for or continue to maintain in our lives.  Things like:

  • Enjoy being a mother

  • Enjoy the work that I do

  • To have a fulfilling relationship

  • To have harmonious relationship with my family

  • To be healthy

  • To train my brain to think about the value in life

  • To be grateful

  • To find enjoyment in everything that I do.

You can see how generalised these aims are.  Take some time, right now to think about how your ideal world would be.  What are the meaningful things that you would like to have in your life or that you would like to keep in your life (if you already have them – for example, a loving relationship with your husband).

Step One

In your notebooks, write down some ideas that you have for setting aims in the area of your overall life and how you would like your overall life to be.

 

The experiences you want for your life

Here’s the really fun bit.  If you could have anything in your life, what would it be?  What are the experiences that you would like to have in your life?  This can include travel, money, being able to conquer your fear of heights, meditate in an ashram etc.  It can be big things, little things or in between.  Anything that you think you might find pleasurable in your life, you want to write it down. 

I call this list “All the things I’d like to experience before I die”.    My list is  up to about 70 things that I wish to do before I die and they include anything from travelling all over the world, taking my kids to disneyland, meeting an inspirational self-help teacher who has been instrumental in teaching me about change, to being on one of Oprah’s shows and even going to sleep in an open field under billions of stars.  You can see that it can be massive aims or just little simple aims that mean a lot to you, but they must inspire you, excite you and make you feel alive when you think about them.

Creating this list gets you excited about possibilities.  This is where it all starts.  We often spend so much time thinking about how much we lack, how much life is going wrong and being consumed by life’s small little challenges, that we don’t often stop to consider what we do want.

This whole aim step is about getting your mind thinking about what you want!

Step Two

In your notebooks, go to town thinking about how many things you would like to experience in your life.  Don’t limit yourself and ignore those thoughts that tell you that you can’t or that it is impossible to achieve. We are going to look at challenging and testing these aims as we continue.

For now, just have some fun and seriously contemplate how many things you can think of that you would love to experience in your life before you die.  Imagine that you are 85 years old and looking back on your life, feeling grateful that there isn’t a thing that you didn’t do in your life and can list all the different experiences that you’ve had in your life that have given you joy.

The most important part of this step is to consciously consider what YOU want, not what other people think is good for you or that you have been conditioned to believe that you should do.  This list is your list.  This is your life.  Live it the way you would like to live it and this list is going to entail all of the experiences that YOU would like to live through.

 

Testing your aims

Now it’s time to test your aims.  Again, don’t worry about how you are going to achieve these aims because that is not necessary at the moment. That will come in next week’s lessons where we look at the next step of the TRACK process – Choices.

Today is about setting aims and testing them.

Step Three

The first thing you need to do, is to go through each of your aims set in step one and step two of this lesson and test each one against our first question:  “Why do I want this aim?’.  Think about your response or write them down if you want to and listen for any thoughts that are in conflict with reality.  Do you think that this aim will make your life better, meaning more valuable?  If so, then you need to revisit this thinking by aligning your thinking with the reality thinking model, making sure that you can find the value in your life right now.

Remember it’s okay to think that this aim is going to make your life more enjoyable, or more meaning, but you just want to make sure that you still know that there is value in right now.  Having aims are about what you would like to experience in your life.  Every event holds value because of what it teaches you about life and because it contributes to how your life unfolds.  All events lead to the next good or bad event and they are all linked together. We will always want to achieve aims so we can enjoy them, but sometimes this is not possible.  However, we still learn, grow and get an experience that hold value.

So in your notebooks, challenge your aims by asking yourself ‘Why do I want this aim?’ and checking to see what your responses are to that question.

Step Four

The next question we ask as we set our aims, is:  “Is what I want in conflict with reality?”

In this step, not only are you going to check whether the aim is in conflict with reality, but you also want to check whether your thinking about having this goals is in conflict with reality.  The aims that you set can be big and we have expanded your attention past what you currently have to what you would like to have and experience in your life.  As I mentioned, not many people actually believe that they can achieve these things, and I bet there are things on your list too, that you think this way about.

Now I want you to challenge these things?  For example, let’s say that you set an aim to stand at the top of the Eiffel Tower in the evening.  What do you think about this aim?  You might say:  ‘But I don’t have the money to fly to Paris,  My husband doesn’t like travelling, I don’t deserve to do things like that’ etc.

Challenge that.  Is there an Eiffel Tower?  Yes.  Is there money in the world?  Yes.  Do other people get to go there in the evening?  Yes.  Are there planes that fly to Paris, or other transportation if you can’t fly?  Yes.  Do people go there without their husbands?  Yes.  Why don’t you deserve to go there?  How is this thinking in conflict with the reality of true self-worth?  Why do other people deserve to go but you don’t?   What is so bad about you that you are not deserving of an experience like this?

Take some time to really go over your aims that you set in steps one and two of this lesson and think about what your beliefs are about achieving these goals to test a) whether these aims are in conflict with reality; and b) whether you thinking about this aim is in conflict with reality.

Spend quite a bit of time contemplating these aims.  What I really want you to do is question, challenge and explore the possibilities that you can achieve anything that you want to in this life, you just have to start by setting the aim, finding out how to do it and believing that your are able and you are deserving to have these aims in your life.

This is where my teachings from two very inspirational people in my life have benefited my life enormously.  These lessons have come from my mother and from the chairman of the Anti-depression Association of Australia who both taught me that if you want something, then I need to seek out how to do it and do it.  If someone says you can’t, seek out those that have and find out what they did and learn from them.

Setting these bigger picture aims for your life will drive you, inspire passion within you and help you to look at the smaller picture challenges of your life in context with these bigger picture aims.  Your life is not just about the tough times.  There are enjoyable times too.  Sometimes we have to keep striving for these times by having concrete goals that we are always aspiring to. 

There are so many experiences that we can have in life but we get so consumed with what we are doing and what we think we ‘have to’ do, which comes from the expectations and beliefs of others.  There are so many possibilities and potential paths that our lives can take that all lead to the end of the path that will be our life’s ‘story’.

In this lesson you want to step out of that small picture of being a mum with little children, who may be crying a lot, having many tantrums, taking up a lot of your time, or the current financial difficulties that you are experiencing, or the problems with your partner and start to focus on what you want.

Yes, the reality is that you are currently experiencing challenges in your life, but as I’ve said many times, these are the very things that propel you another level of living and experience. When you focus on what you want, what direction you are headed and the bigger picture of the aims for being the ideal parent, having the ideal life and also having an ideal aim for your self-worth, and you combine that with being able to view life’s ups and downs with the mindset that everything has value, you are powerless beyond comprehension.

You will live a life with happiness, passion, enthusiasm and vigour, ready to face all your good times and your bads.  If you really follow these exercises in this week, you will see firsthand how exciting life can be, which will be a very different feeling from the feelings that come from being stressed or depressed.

If you have done these exercises than I would expect that you would already be feeling at least a glimmer of hope and excitement over your future, instead of focussing so much on your past. 

Your life can be anything that you desire it to be.  It may not happen all at once, but there are many years ahead of you and there are many experiences to be had.  All you need to do is continue to focus on and strive for what you want, research how to get it and make plans for achieving it, all while have a healthy understanding of life.

This is what this program is designed to teach you.  In tomorrow’s lesson we expand your aims one step further by establishing what you want for your self-worth; that is, how you would like to feel about yourself.

Week Seven / Day Four – Aims for your self-worth

 

Click here for the audio version of the lesson

Self-worth is intrinsic.  You are always 100% worthy, always!

It comes from living as a human being.  You grow, learn and contribute pieces of yourself to others and their journeys through life just by being alive and experiencing what you do.  You are always influencing how other people’s lives unfold and what they learn in their lives.

However, at the same time, you are always rating yourself in accordance with your beliefs.  Am I ok?  How do I feel about myself?  How am I judging my behaviour right now?

It is sad, but true that most of us have learnt a ‘not good enough’ mentality and rate ourselves poorly.  If you have gone down the path of depression, then my guess is that you continually beat yourself up and notice all of your shortcomings and failures in life, rarely giving yourself credit for anything.

I, too remember in my darkest days, the self-criticism and disrespectful conversations that would roll around in my mind, focussing on everything I was doing wrong and how bad a person or mother I was.

This needs to stop for two reasons.  The first is because you want to become a happier person and the second is because you probably want to teach your children how to love themselves.

You need to be the role model for your children on how to love yourself, respect yourself and treat yourself differently, because they will model your behaviour and emulate that in their own lives.

The way to stop this generational self-hate or self-critical society, is to educate parents on true self-worth so that they can pass it onto their kids.

So now you know true self-worth, you want to start doing some work on that rating system of yours – that is, working on your self-esteem.  We need to work on changing your beliefs about yourself so that you can start feeling good about yourself and so that you can become the confident, happy person that you want to be.

We’re going to do this in this lesson by working on setting some aims for the type of person you want to be. 

Think about what would make you feel good as a person.  You may have spent a lot of time criticising the person that you are, but have probably given little consideration to the person you want to be.  What is the ideal that you have of yourself?  What attributes would make you feel good about yourself?  We are not talking about physical features here.  We are talking about the personality that you aspire to be that you can work towards.

Setting these aims for yourself gives you a guide to work towards. Bigger picture goals (that is – objective goals) are goals that you continue to work towards throughout your life.  It’s not that you ever get objective goals and then you are done with achieving these goals.  These are goals that you continue to aspire to throughout your whole life.

For example, some aims you might set around the type of person you would like to be might be:

1.  Calm  2.  Confident in the ability to make decisions  3.  Solution-focussed  4.  Kind to yourself  5.  Respectful to yourself  6.  Respectful to others  7.  Feel at peace with who I am  8.  Someone who smiles a lot  9.  Someone who has fun   10.  Have the ability to laugh at my mistakes

These are just a few examples of what you may list in your aims for your self.  Let me tell you why it is important to set specific aims such as these.  When you are going about your day-to-day life, with these stated aims in mind you can use them to stay aware of where you are at, versus where you want to be.

For example, you may be walking around your house grizzling about all the housework there is to do and how all the kids ever do is leave mess all over the house, and generally entering into this whole conversation about how miserable your whole life is.  However you have set the aim to be solution-focussed, someone who smiles a lot and someone who has fun.  Are you being this person right now?  Is this current behaviour aligning to your bigger picture aim of the person you want to be?

We are so busy hating on all the bad stuff going on in our lives, we rarely stop to take note of what we do want and continue to aspire to that instead.  When you consciously set aims in different areas of your life it sets a standard for you to live up to.  When we usually talk about setting aims we usually talk about tangible things like houses, cars and other material items.  How often to we set aims for the type of parent we’d like to be, what sort of life we’d like to have and the sort of person we would like to aspire to?

If we all deliberately thought about and set these kinds of aims and then continuously reminded ourselves of these aims, then we would start to train our brains to search for ways to implement the steps required to reach these aims, because this is how the brain works. 

If you regularly remind yourself of all the aims you have for the type of person you would like to become, then over time this thinking would become habit and you would start to notice those times when you are not being this way, remember (habitually) that you want to be a different way, and then change your behaviour to align with this aim.  But if you have never thought about what sort of person you want to be and only ever think about the person you don’t want to be and how badly you are doing, then the brain will find more evidence of how bad a person you are.

Either way you always find evidence of what you put your attention on. 

Right now, you can start to guide your mind to set some aims for the person you would like to be and commence resetting the benchmark for being that person.

 

Step One

In your notebook, write down all of the qualities that you would like to hold as a person.  Write down what you would need in order to make you feel good about yourself as a person.  Remember that we are all 100% worthy just the way we are and that we are all learning and contributing, so whatever you do does not actually change your self-worth, however sometimes knowing this is not enough and you would still like to change certain aspects of yourself.

Once again, don’t worry about how you are going to achieve these aspects of yourself, that is for the next step on the Mind TRACK to Happiness process – Choices.  For now in this step of the TRACK process, you are simply writing about the person you would like to be, setting aims for your self-worth.

Go ahead and write your list before you continue.  There is a lot of power and commitment in actually considering these qualities and writing them down.

 

Step Two

Now what I want you to do, is take this list and write yourself a little biography of your future self.  If you like you can do it on some nice paper or type it out and print it on some nice paper so you can put it up somewhere prominent and read it to yourself often.  Reading it to yourself often is the key to imprinting it to your brain and remembering it more regularly so that you can align your behaviour to where you want to be.

Here is an example of a biography:

My name is Jackie Hall and I am a mum of two boys.  I am a confident mother who is sure of the decisions she makes with her boys.  I believe I am raising my children with qualities of self-love, respect and enthusiasm for life.  I teach them this because I live these qualities in myself.  I deserve to have self-respect and I only allow myself to enter into conversations with myself that are kind and respectful.   If I do notice my self-criticism, I know that this is just my habitual memes and that I am continually working towards changing them.  These thoughts are not who I am.  I am a kind, caring and calm person who is constantly learning better ways of living my life.  Whenever I come across challenges I will look at what I can do about them and be solution-focussed by just seeing them as more lessons to learn in life.  I feel at peace with who I am, knowing that I can only know what I know at any given moment and will learn more as time goes on.  It’s okay to make mistakes as long as I learn from them.  When I do make mistakes I can smile at them, knowing that they have just given my life more meaning and value.   As I go about my life I have more and more fun as I experience all the different things that I have on my ‘things to do before I die’ list.  There is so much that life has to give to me and I have so much more to give life.  I love who I am and I am more confident than I’ve ever been in my entire life and will continue to grow this confidence every day with all the things I will experience in my life. I continue to have more fun as my life unfolds because I am more kinder to myself and more open to allowing myself to learn and grow with each experience life gives me.  Knowing what I know now, I am also more kinder, compassionate and respectful to others because I know that they too are learning and trying to experience happiness for their lives, just like me. 

This is just a short example of what you might say in your biography, but you will see that I included all of the things that were in my list from Step One of this lesson.  Now go ahead in your own notebooks, or on your own special paper, and create your own biography of the person you would like to be.

Creating this little story, keeping it close by and reading it regularly serves as a reminder of the aims that you have set in the area of yourself.  As you begin to memorise these aims (through repetition and continual exposure to your biography) then as you go about your day to day experiences, you will remember to measure what is going on against these aims.  These things are what you rate yourself as making you feel good. 

Your self-worth is always intrinsic, so those times that you aren’t aligning to these aims, are only reminders that you have something to learn and that there is opportunity for you to grow towards these aims, not because you are worth-less or not good enough.  Remember, these aims are what you aspire for forever.  They rarely change, although they can if you want them to.   But they are not goals that you ever get to. There are not final destinations, they are aims that you continually go for within the many different events that you will encounter throughout your life.

Even though you won’t always achieve these aims, it doesn’t matter. Remember the true purpose of goals is not to achieve them.  It is to set life in motion.  It is the learning and the contributing that happens on the way to getting the goal that holds all the value.  Sure you are going to feel fantastic when you do achieve these goals, and probably won’t feel so fantastic when you aren’t achieving these goals, however if you can understand that life is about trial and error and get back onto your bike and continue to pedal towards your goals again when life doesn’t meet these aims, knowing that you have learnt something, then you will stop feeling so bad, stressed, depressed or anxious.

Self-love and understanding that it’s okay not to know everything about everything, is what is going to make some massive changes to your life.  You now have a list of qualities to aspire to.  Keep reminding yourself of the person you want to be and keep aiming to learn and practice these qualities in your life.  Don’t allow yourself to enter into conversations about anything that you are lacking and instead remind yourself that where you are at right now IS part of you getting where you want to be.  You just need to have an aim of where it is you want to be.  Setting these aims today has now given you that direction.

Week Seven / Day Five – Aims for Everyday situations

 

Click here for the audio version of the lesson 

This lesson is where you get solution focussed about the day to day situations that occur in your life.  Even though the current situation is the inner layer of the reality thinking model, I have left it to last because it is really important to set your aims in the the bigger picture areas of your life first. 

Setting these aims gives you something bigger to focus on, a plan for your life that is bigger than what you are currently experiencing.  This stops you from being so consumed with the little things. 

In Richard Carlson’s book “Don’t Sweat the small stuff… and it’s all small stuff”, Chapter sixteen is titled “Ask yourself this question, Will this Matter a Year from Now?” 

He says:  “to play ‘time warp,’ all you have to do is imagine that whatever circumstance you are dealing with isn’t happening right now but a year from now.  Then, simply ask yourself, ‘Is this situation really as important as I’m making it out to be?’  Once in a great while it may be–but a vast majority of the time, it simply isn’t” 

When you have goals that are bigger than ‘right now’  you learn to do exactly what Richard Carlson is suggesting.  You learn to look past the current moment and look to the future, comparing this event to other things that you aspire to have in your future;  that is the aims for being a parent, the aims for your life and the aims for your self-worth.  This stops you feeling like these current events are the ‘be all and end all’ to life and gives you something bigger to aspire to. 

However even though you have these bigger picture aims, you will still want to do something about the present situation that you’re finding challenging.  If the kids are continually having tantrums, aren’t sleeping properly, you are having relationship issues, financial issues or struggling to be organised, then these thing need to be addressed.  This is what we are focusing on in today’s lesson. 

The first question you need to ask yourself to set your aim for the current situation that you’re finding challenging, is: 

What do I want? 

Instead of focussing on the problem, let’s focus on its potential solutions – the potential aims that will move you past this present situation.  What do I need for this situation to be improved or for this problem to be solved?  What is the ideal of the situation?  If I had a genie who would grant me three wishes, what would I ask for so that this problem would disappear? Make sure you are specific with your answer. 

These are the questions that we need to be asking ourselves.   At this point, don’t worry about how you are going to achieve your aim, or even if the aim is achievable or not, we will fine tune this list, test it and analyse it as we continue. 

Step One 

Write down all of the potential solutions to your problem, even if it is outside of the norms of what you would do.  Stretch your imagination and include the ‘crazy’ ideas you may have, as sometimes, when assessed, these actually become the most logical responses 

Here are some examples to  help you to get started, categorising these examples into small issues,  moderate issues or major issues: 

Small Issues 

Problem:  My child is having a tantrum in the shops and I’m in a hurry. 

Potential solutions (aims):
Stop her from having a tantrum
Stay calm and let it pass
Distract her
Ignore her and let it pass by
Walk away from her and let her finish her tantrum when she is ready 

Problem:  My child wakes up before he is supposed to and is very cranky because he’s not had enough sleep 

Potential solutions (aims):
Put him back to bed and let him cry himself back to sleep
Cuddle him until he calms down
Stay calm and let him calm himself down
Try to pat him back to sleep and re-settle him to continue his sleep 

Problem:  My child won’t stop crying. 

Potential solutions (aims):              
Stop my child from crying
Establish why she is crying
Use the process of elimination to check nappies, too warm/too cold or other factors that may contribute to the crying.
Call a child health nurse to seek some extra information on why she may be crying.
Call a friend of mine to ask for some advice
Resource information from books I have or online to figure out what I can do
Stay calm and rational 

Problem:  I’m bored right now. 

Potential Solutions (aims):              
Put some music on
Do something for me
Go for a walk
Call a girlfriend (I used to call  my girlfriend who was also at home with her kids and we would walk around the house doing housework while chatting.  There were many breaks in the conversation while one or the other had to stop the conversation to tend to our child, or even hang up and call back. It made it all quite amusing instead of stressful). 

Moderate Issues 

Problem:  I don’t have enough support to give me time out. 

Potential solutions (aims):              
Don’t worry about support, change my thinking instead
Just deal with it
See what community support is available (for example – occasional care)
Consider putting my child into a child care facility to give me a break
Talk to my partner about the possibility of re-arranging his work hours to help
Organise with a friend to take turns at looking after each other’s child for a few hours a week. 

Problem:  I am really unorganised and I don’t feel like I’m achieving anything. 

Potential solutions (aims):              
Discuss and Delegate some of the chores to my husband or older children in the house.
Hire outside help.
Learn more about time management skills. 

Problem:  I’m bored all the time, not just a once off. 

Potential solutions (aims):              
Take up a hobby that you can do with the kids around
Create a list of things to do for those times when you are bored.
Create a social schedule of things to do and places to go with the kids to break up the monotony of everyday.
Plan social outings with your girlfriends without the kids.
Find a passion that inspires, motivates and drives you. 

Problem:  I have no friends around me because I’ve just moved, or none of my other friends have children. 

Potential solutions (aims):              
Join a local mother’s group or play group. (c’mon they aren’t all that bad)
Join a popular chat forum online and see if you can meet up with any mums from your area
Go to your local park and strike up a conversation with another mum there (chances are she might be bored and lonely too)
Join a community group to get to know other people. 

Major Issues 

Problem:  My husband and I fight all of the time.  I just don’t know whether we should be together anymore. 

Potential solutions (aims):              
Learn about how to communicate effectively and talk to him about our problems
Get him to stop being so nasty and unreasonable
Just leave him
Fix our relationship
NB – Remember this is a long-term Aim that may have lots of mini goals.  We will explore this problem and its potential aims further as we continue through this week’s and the following week’s lessons. 

Problem:  I am overweight or don’t like my body shape anymore. 

Potential solutions (aims):              
Lose ‘x’ amount of kilograms/pounds
Stop eating junk food
Get some plastic surgery
See my doctor about a weight loss plan
Join the local gym
Create an eating plan and exercise regime 

Problem:  We have no money and are always struggling financially. 

Potential solutions (aims):              
Discover ways to earn money while at home with the kids
Reassess our spending
Reassess our financial priorities
Work a night job
Seek help from someone I know who knows a lot about financial planning
Learn money management
Find someone who has a rags to riches story, learn what they did and copy it.
Create a budget 

The lists that I have created here are by no means conclusive and you may already have been come up with ideas that could be added to the ones I’ve listed.  I have given you these examples to show you an idea of how you can shift your attention on to the solutions 

You may have noticed that some of the aims that I listed here seem ridiculous, like ‘just deal with it’ which I’ve listed as a potential aim for lack of support.  It seems crazy to put this in the list, and a little insensitive, however it may just be the type of thing you have been saying to yourself, or what other people have been saying to you.  If this is what you are thinking, then know that this in itself is a choice or something that you have aimed to do, possibly without success.  

Once you start writing a list of all the potential solutions to your problem, you already start to feel much better about your issues.  Because you have deliberately put your attention on solutions, your brain starts to search for more and more of what you have your attention on.  You begin to see more solutions to your problems. 

It’s kind of like a brainstorming activity which many businesses use to list potential solutions to business issues faced.  You are doing the same thing and you will find it amazing once you start doing it, just how many ideas come out on how you can approach your problem. 

So if you haven’t done so already, move on to listing all of your current situation’s problems and the potential solutions to these problems, just as I have above. 

Testing your Aims

Because your habitual thinking is aligned with the tendency to think stressful, depressive or anxious thoughts, it is important to conscious analyse the aims that we set and contemplate what is driving our choices to set this aim. 

As we learnt last week, our priorities are governed by our beliefs, so if your habitual thinking is to access beliefs that cause stress and are in conflict with the realities of life and self-worth, then while you are working on changing these habitual beliefs, you need to continue to be conscious of your choices and decisions to make sure that they are in alignment with reality. 

To test whether our goals are in alignment with reality we ask the following two questions: 

  1. Why do I want this?
  2. Is what I want in conflict with reality?

Question one asks yourself, what is my agenda for setting this aim?  What do I think that I will get out of achieving this aim?  Every decision you make and action you take will be a priority to protect your self-worth or increase it, because we are all constantly on the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain, and we’re rating ourselves in accordance with our beliefs. 

With this in mind, what you will find is that any one of your aims will be aimed at making yourself feel good. There is nothing wrong with this, but what we want to test, is that you are not feeling worth-less because of what is happening right now. 

Remember there is value in everything so no situation is lacking benefits to some degree.  Yes, you will want to improve or change situations that are challenging you and pursue an outcome that will help you enjoy life again, but you must always be conscious of any thinking that is resisting what is currently happening and making you feel like your life is going wrong, that you are missing out or that you are worth-less because it is happening. 

This is why steps one and two of the Mind TRACK to Happiness process are the foundation of this entire process. 

Question Two – Is what I want in conflict with reality?  This question tests how realistic your aim is. 

Sometimes we set out to achieve something that is just not within our control (for example, winning lotto) or we set goals that are in conflict with the reality of where we are at in life at the moment (for example – becoming a millionaire by next month when you can’t rub two cents together today). 

While these are extremes and quite logical examples of unrealistic goals, we can often set our aims without really giving them careful consideration and then when we cannot achieve them, we get upset and feel like we are failing again. 

We must check our aims to see if they are in conflict with reality by asking yourself ‘Is what I want in conflict with reality?’ 

What you might also find is that an aim that you set is something that is out of your control (getting someone else to behave a certain way), but you still might make that your aim.  This is fine, as long as you remain conscious that you don’t have control over another person’s behaviour and you cannot determine when or if you will achieve your aim.  It is always better to set your aim for something that you can work towards achieving, not relying on someone else. 

Finally, the answers to the first question ‘why do I want this aim’ may bring up a whole lot of thinking that is in conflict with reality and all aligned with ‘get your life right’ thinking (what is wrong, what you are missing out on, how things should be different and how worth-less you or your life is because of this situation), so in this second question you are also testing this too, as you will see in the examples below. 

I will now apply these two questions to some of the examples used above to show you how it is done.  Because we don’t have time to go through every single option mentioned above, I will just pick out a few options to test against our two questions, so that we can cover all three of the categories of issues we face. 

Minor Issues

Problem One:  My child is having a tantrum in the shops and I’m in a hurry. 

Potential solutions (aims): Stop her from having a tantrum 

Why do I want this aim?  Because she is embarrassing me and I’ve had enough of her behaving this way?
Is what I want in conflict with reality?  Yes, because I can’t control my daughter’s behaviour and also, I am believing that her behaviour means something about me (I am embarrassed therefore worried what other people are thinking of me). 

NB – Now that you have established that your thoughts are in conflict with reality, you can go ahead and upgrade your thinking to be in alignment with the reality thinking model.  You might just find that after doing this you will have a different perspective on this aim.  You may still set this aim after upgrading your thoughts, however you are consciously aware that a) it is not in your control and; b) her behaviour is not about you. 

Is this a good aim?  Hmmm it’s not the best aim because you would have to keep reminding yourself of these two points so that you didn’t fall back into stressful thinking, so perhaps it is better to continue onto your list and see if there are any others that might be more in alignment with reality.
  

Potential aim (2):  Stay calm and let it pass 

Why do I want this aim?  Because tantrums are a normal part of her development and she has to learn that she won’t get what she wants just because she has a tantrum. It’ll pass eventually.
Is what I want in conflict with reality?  No because I can change my reactions and the mindset that will help me to remain calm and because I am in alignment with the reality of being a parent and seeing her reaction as being developmental, not a reflection of my worth. 

NB – At this stage of the Mind TRACK to Happiness process, after doing step two – reality, you should be at a place of accepting the current situation in your life anyway, however your mind can very quickly see you straight back in conflict with reality.  This is why when setting your aim you still need to check on what you are thinking about your aim and what it’s going to give you when you achieve it.   

In the first potential aim for this scenario, you can see that the aim was created with the priority to protect her self-worth from embarrassment because this mother had rated the tantrum to mean that she was worth-less (meaning  a little less than 100%, which is what we feel when we’re embarrassed).  In the second aim the thinking was all in alignment with reality. 

Is this a good aim then?  Yes because it was made to be in alignment with reality.   

Moderate Issues 

Problem:  I don’t have enough support to give me time out. 

Potential solutions/aims (1):    Don’t worry about support, change my thinking instead 

Why do I want this aim?  Because I should be able to change my thinking about the situation. I don’t need support, I am the mother.  I should be able to look after my children 24/7 without problem.  After all my mother did and thousands of other mothers do it, so I should just suck it up and deal with it.  In fact, aim #2 ‘just deal with it’ is factored in here too. 

Is what I want in conflict with reality?  Actually yes, because everyone is different and I don’t necessarily think like other people.  Maybe my mother’s circumstances were different or she had different beliefs about staying at home, but I feel like I need the space to take time out, so I need to find the support to give me that.  I know that I will be a happier mother with time out from my kids to pursue other things that are important to me.  It doesn’t matter what thousands of other mothers do.  It only matters what works for me and my children.  If I find adequate support, my children will get appropriate care in other areas.  It doesn’t always have to come from me 

NB – As you can see by checking her thoughts about why she wanted this aim, this mother could see how her thinking was all in conflict with reality and thus, so was the goal.  Having realised this and upgrading it, she can then realise that this aim is not really the right one for her and can now go on to look for another aim for this situation. 

  

Major Issues

Problem:  My husband and I fight all of the time.  I just dont’ know whether we should be together anymore. 

Potential solutions/aims (1):  Fix our relationship 

Why do I want this aim?  Because our relationship is messed up right now.  We don’t stop fighting and I just want it all to stop.  We need to fix it before it ends in divorce.  We just can’t keep fighting like this anymore.  He needs to stop being the person that he is and I think it either needs to get fixed or it needs to end.  It’s as simple as that. 

Is what I want in conflict with reality?  Well, yes actually it is.  My thinking is all in conflict with the reality that the relationship is at where it is because of all the events that have unfolded leading up to right now.  Our relationship has consisted of both of us who have both contributed to its own demise in our own different ways.  We have two different belief systems that are no longer aligned and this is what the problem is and incidentally where the focus needs to go.  It’ not as simple as just ‘fix it and that is that’.  There are many issues that we need to sort through, investigate, reach new agreements on and this aim is just not specific enough, nor does it address the real immediate issue.  Let’s have a look at another aim: 

Potential solution/aim (2):  Learn about how to communicate effectively and talk to him about our problems. 

Why do I want this aim?   Because this is a good place to start.  We are yelling at each other all the time and it’s just not productive.  If I can start by learning how to talk to him without this happening, or at least without me reacting to him reacting then this is going to be a great start to changing how we can move forward from here.  

Is what I want in conflict with reality?  No because I am taking responsibility for the part I have played in how this relationship currently is and I am changing my part, which is fully within my control.  I am going to learn how to change myself and approach this relationship and these issues, from this perspective first. 

NB – It is important to note for this problem that there is not just one solution that will fix this problem.  There is a lot of work, new information, work and effort from both parties that will be involved in tackling this issue, but setting this aim is a great start. 

Before I get you to look at your chosen aims to your challenging situation, there is just one more question we are going to add in here that you can test your aims against.  That is: 

Does this aim align with my bigger picture goals (that is my goals on being a parent, my goals on my life and my goals on self-worth)? 

Take a look at the aims that you set over the past three days and check whether your situation aim works alongside your bigger picture aims.  For example, learning how to communicate effectively with your partner aligns with aims for being a good role model to your children.  It aligns with goals for having harmonious relationships with others and it aligns with respecting yourself, respecting others and being a calm person.  So this would be an aim that fulfills all of your desires.  

Now do you see the value in setting the bigger picture aims first?  It just gives your everyday aims a little more substance. 

Step Two

So now with your list of potential solutions to your current situation problem, go through your list of potential aims and pick out the aim that you believe is the best aim to set.  Then go ahead and test this aim against our two questions: 

  1. Why do I want this?
  2. Is what I want in conflict with reality

When you feel like your aim is in alignment with reality, now ask yourself the final question in the testing phase of setting our aims: 

Does this aim align with my bigger picture goals (the ones I set on being a parent, my goals on my life and my goals on my self-worth)? 

  

We are now starting to bring this whole aim setting process together by setting our everyday goals and comparing them with how they fit in with our bigger picture goals.  In the last lesson for this week – day seven – exercise day, I will show you how to pull all of this information together and document a clear list of the problems you are tackling and what your aims are that you are working towards.  That way you can keep this document close by for inspiration and reminder of what you are trying to achieve. 

Before we do that however, in tomorrow’s lesson we are going to discuss a few issues that might be popping up in your heading right now, that may be causing you some concerns when setting your aims.  Also we will be discussing the role affirmations have in helping you to achieve your aims and teaching you how to set them. 

Week Seven / Day Six – The memes that stop you achieving your aims

 

 
You might have found over this week and also in the past, that when you have tried to set aims for your life, whether they be aims to overcome your present situation, aims for being a parent, aims for your life or aims for the kind of person you aspire to be, you have these little voices of objection or self-doubt that keep popping up.

These voices seem so loud and believable that they often stop you right in your tracks and prevent you from making any changes to your life. These little voices are your memes. The habitual thinking from your mind that has become the physical connections in your brain, limiting you from doing anything differently from the way it usually is.

In today’s lesson we are going to discuss some of these memes and I will show you how to think about them differently and learn how you can banish them for good, freeing you up to continue along your path towards your aims that you’ve set over the last few days.
 

The Top Five memes to overcome when setting your goals.

 

1. I don’t know what I want

Sometimes we find that we don’t really know what we want and what aims we might like to set. Perhaps this is because you have been so used to thinking about what’s wrong and what you are missing out on, that you don’t know what you would wish for if you could wish for anything. Or, which I find is the case for me, there just seems to be so many options to choose from that there are almost too many options and it becomes overwhelming. When in this state, it can almost be easier to do nothing, so we don’t set our aims and continue living our lives in the same way.

How to overcome this meme:

Start by contemplating the experience you would like to have. Rather than getting caught up in how this will effect your whole life and the repercussions of your aims, just think about what you might like to experience in the area of your life that you are thinking about. Once you have set the goal, you resource how to get to it (step 4 of TRACK process – choices), create the plan of getting to the goal (step 5 of TRACK process – Know your plan) and then travel along your path towards your plan. You might find that you don’t want the aim anymore, or you may like to change it. This is totally okay.

Remember that the purpose of goals is to set life in motion. By setting a goal in the first place and travelling towards it you experience life and receive learnings from these experiences. You may receive new information from your experiences that lead you to setting different aims or finding that you don’t really want the one that you originally set. This is totally okay, and in fact is a healthy and exciting part of being alive in this world. If you don’t know what you want, don’t over-analyse or put pressure on yourself to ‘get it [your aim] right’. Just contemplate something that you may like to experience and start from there. You can always change it as you proceed.
 

2. The ‘I can’t’ mentality

Often we have been so heavily conditioned to believe that we can’t do something that you struggle to even contemplate being able to do something. Thoughts like ‘I couldn’t possibly do that’, or ‘that’s too hard’, ‘I’ve never done anything like that before’, and ‘it’s not possible’ or even ‘I can’t be happy because I don’t know how’ all fall under this category making you believe that your aims cannot be reached.

How to overcome this meme:

Ignore these statements and start planning how to do it anyway. Sometimes these ‘I can’t’ statements are simply because we are doing something new and may just lack the information on how to reach this aim. In the final two steps of the TRACK process you will learn how to search for the ‘how to’ part of achieving your aims and then create plans for achieving these aims. Whenever you notice these statements popping up and trying to stop your progress, acknowledge them (accept the reality that they are here and are merely incorrect conditioning that has occurred in your brain, taught from the ignorant minds of others) and then push them to the side and proceed with the rest of the process. When you try anyway, you may just be surprised by your new capabilities. Ever heard the saying, ‘knowledge is power’? Knowledge and application of knowledge is how you can turn an ‘I can’t’ into a ‘well, would you look at what I just did’.

Sometimes the ‘I can’ts’ are simply because you haven’t yet learn how you can yet.
 

3. I’m scared of what I can be (fear of success)

You often hear this from people who have made some major changes in their lives or are making major changes to their thinking process and trying to achieve major goals in their lives. This is essentially what you are doing in this program, and have been doing over this week. You are setting some big goals here and this can start you thinking about what that may mean for you and that makes you scared and uncomfortable. This is probably because you don’t know yourself as anybody other than who you currently are. Perhaps you have never been any other way but someone who is sad, melancholy or who feels bad about themselves and their lives and you just don’t know how to deal with the possibility of all this happiness.

How to overcome this meme:

Don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed with the end result of you being happy. Understand that what you are doing will be gradual. Because of your present mindset, you won’t all of a sudden become that happy, deliriously excited person that you may be aiming for be straight away. The process between where you are at now and where you will go will be progressive and you will be ready for that by the time it comes around. As you reach each milestone that you will create, you will increase your confidence and you will also keep using the TRACK process to keep abreast of the thinking that pops up along the way.

You will be gradually retraining your mind to think in alignment with thoughts that create your feelings. Don’t get scared about how you will feel when you achieve your aims because you will be progressively changing your thoughts, which will progressively change your feelings too. Also remember that you are always setting aims consciously and deliberately, so if you find that you are on your way towards something that you’ve decided doesn’t really align with your bigger picture aims anymore, then you can always change your mind. Just make sure that you change these aims and re-test why you want this new aim, so that you aren’t just going back to what is safe.
 

4. I don’t deserve to be happy

This meme would have been set up long ago and can be difficult to overcome. You may logically know that you do deserve to be happy, but there is something that keeps bringing in this self-doubt that stops you from doing the things required to bring you happiness. Sometimes it’s even subliminal that you do this, meaning that you aren’t even aware that you are stopping yourself, however you keep experiencing behaviour that seems to self-sabotage your attempts to create a happy life for yourself (for example, falling into aggressive relationships again and again, or finding conflict with others when you aimed for them to be harmonious and for you to be calm).

We have learnt that there is no such thing as self-sabotage. You are always working in your best interests 100% of the time. If you are doing things to sabotage your progress towards changing, especially when logically you know not to do these things, then know that there is a deep seated belief in your mind that is serving your interests. It doesn’t matter to your mind if this belief is not in alignment with reality, this is the priority belief that gets activated whenever you try to do something new or different that threatens this stronger belief. For example, if you were in an abusive relationship there is a reason why you are this reason is serving you. There is a payoff for it. Even though your mind’s logic may say to you that you shouldn’t be in this relationship, a priority belief is saying ‘you have to stay in this relationship’ and this belief is protecting your self-worth somehow. It could be ‘my kids need a father’, ‘no one else would love me’, ‘I couldn’t live without his financial support’, ‘I don’t know how to have a healthy relationship, so I’ll just stick with what I know’. Any of these beliefs might be strong enough to influence someone staying in a relationship over leaving or changing the treatment received even though logic says otherwise.

How to overcome this meme:
It can be difficult to overcome subconscious beliefs that seem to be sabotaging your efforts to change, however at the end of this lesson I am going to show you exactly how you can do this by setting affirmations. Some people roll their eyes when affirmations are mentioned, however when you understand the science behind why it works and learn exactly how to do it, then you may just change your mind. When setting your aims, it’s really important to set affirmations too, so that you can start to deal with all these little voices that tell you things like you don’t deserve to be happy.
 

5. I’m not strong enough or smart enough to change

We could believe that we lack some sort of quality that is required to change. ‘I didn’t have much education, so I don’t know how to learn’, ‘I am a weak person and have never been strong, so I won’t be strong enough to do what I need to do’ or even ‘My whole family has had depression and it has been handed down to me’. These beliefs can all limit our ability to move forward and achieve what we want in life.

How to overcome this meme:
Whatever quality you believe you lack, can be learnt. Whatever you believe you have been handed down genetically can be changed. Every single brain in every single person’s head has the capability of changing it’s structure. In fact it is doing this all the time. When you embrace the scientific evidence that tells you that with repetition and consistency you can retrain your brain to do anything, then you hold the power to retrain yourself to hold these qualities that you believe you lack or learn a different way to think and behave.

Think about it for a moment. Doctors have told cancer patients to say their goodbyes to their loved ones and then have made full recoveries because they have taught their brains to heal. People have taught themselves to walk when others have said it would never be possible. Homeless people have become millionaires by learning how to be rich and applying this information. Other people have overcome depression and gone onto lives with immense fulfillment (I include myself here). If you want inspiration into the possibilities of what you can do with what you have been given (In your case, perhaps the beliefs about being weak or stupid)? Go and visit this You Tube video of Nick Vujicic – the man with no arms and no legs who has overcome massive adversities to go onto be happier than most of us will ever be in our whole lifetime with arms and legs.

The point is that you can teach your brain to do anything that you desire. Just because you currently lack some sort of ability, this is not excuse to stop. As you will learn in the coming weeks, seek out those who have achieved what you want and have overcome the challenges that you presently have, learn from them and apply it to your life in order to achieve your aims. This approach is so empowering, I’m getting excited just writing this information.

Never let any lack of ability or lack of information, or fear of success stop you from working towards your aims.

 

The Power of Affirmations

As you can see from the examples above, there are quite a few memes that can pop up when we attempt to set new aims for our lives. From the information that you have learnt about the human brain, you also know that these memes can be changed with repetition and consistent exposure to new information, the same way they were set up in the first place. This whole program has been written with this intent – changing how you think about the challenges of your life and how you view your self-worth.

Sometimes, however we need a little more help to really hone in on this retraining of the brain and step up how often and how intently we work towards this new thinking. Particularly when it comes to this part of the TRACK process where we start to look at solutions and start to align our lives to something very different to what we have been experiencing in the past, these memes can start to pop up hard and fast, often overwhelming us and causing us to give up on our new aims.

This is because your brain sees this new aim as a threat to what you currently know, that is what is currently set up in your brain, so it tries to reset your life back into alignment with those hard wired physical neural connections (which is essentially what your beliefs are). It will often do this subtly and subconsciously, sometimes without you even being aware of it, so what you need to do is to counteract that by consciously feeding your brain new information that will eventually grow new connections in the brain and become unconscious habits.

Affirmations are a very powerful for achieving this. In fact this can be a very empowering way for quickly recreating new pathways of thinking.

Watch the video below where gymnast, Rebecca has to train her brain to learn a new gymnastic move for Olympic competition. You will see how professional sportspeople just like Rebecca are using visualisation and this concept of repetition to the brain, to grow these new neural connections. By watching this video you will get a visual conception of what I’m talking about here, so you can see for yourself just how powerful affirmations can be for your life.
 

If you can’t see this video, please click here where you will be taken to Youtube

 

The more you repeat affirmations, the quicker these connections grow and the stronger they become. As you repeat these affirmations over and over, you start to remember them more, and when you have thoughts that contradict these affirmations, you begin to remember your new thoughts that you want to think instead, and re-affirm them, instead of getting sucked into your old way of thinking.

Every single time you stop those old thoughts and replace them with your new affirmation, you are strengthening the new connections in your brain (your new belief – the affirmation) and you are weakening the old limiting thinking. The more you think about your new belief, the more evidence you find of this belief being true in your life, which further strengthens your beliefs.

Over time, as you continue to consciously feed your brain this new information and start to believe it by seeing evidence of it being true, the old limiting beliefs literally die off in the brain, as they have become the goat track and this new, more empowering way of thinking has become the superhighway.

This is why affirmations are so powerful. You are literally changing the connections in the brain that are currently causing you to feel the way that you do.

 

Mirror Affirmations

I have come across an extremely powerful way of using affirmations in my daily life that accelerates the process of making my new beliefs a habit. It’s called Mirror affirmations. What you do, is write your list of affirmations and then state each one of the them individually while looking at yourself in the mirror. You look at yourself right in the eyes and say your affirmation.

When you do this, take notice of how you FEEL. This is really important. When you first say your affirmation, you probably won’t feel it at all. In fact it will probably feel like a lie. That’s okay. Say it again, and again, each time taking notice of how you FEEL. Also take notice of any images, memories or comments that come up after you say it, so just pause after you say your affirmation and wait for these feelings, images, thoughts etc that come up.

When you do notice them, simply acknowledge that they are there without judgement and say your affirmation again looking at yourself right in the eyes, right into your soul.

For example, sometimes I find myself slipping back into getting annoyed at the kids and the challenges that they give me, so I’ve been working with the affirmation ‘I am calm and patient with my kids’. When I said this affirmation to myself for the first time, my immediate response in my mind was, ‘No you’re not. You’re always yelling at them.’ I simply ignored this mental objection and said it again. This time I had a memory come up of my father, followed very closely with the mental comment of ‘You have his temper. You’re never going to be patient’. I then said my affirmation again and then again. Each time I said it and did not give any energy to the objections or images or feelings that arose, I started to feel this statement with more conviction.

As you continue to do these affirmations over several days, weeks and months, you find it easier and easier for this level of conviction to increase and often you will start to feel excited by the affirmation, or start to have thoughts and images about what this statement will mean. This is because you are starting to believe in this affirmation. It is starting to form in your brain as a new neural connection and the more you affirm this statement the stronger this connection will be.

For example, another one of my affirmations of late has been ‘I have a million dollar business’. At first there were the usual statements ‘no you don’t’, and ‘how are you going to do that’. However after a while, I started to feel excited about this prospect. As I said the affirmation, images started to come into my mind of talking at a convention overseas or buying clothes that I want with the money I’ll have from my business. Instead of my mind visualising what I lacked and these comments coming up in my mind about how I couldn’t get that aim, it started to imagine what it would be like to have that goal and then the feelings started to come of what it would be like to have that goal or believe in that affirmation. The believe-ability factor started to emerge with this repetition and consistency of the affirmation.

This will happen naturally as you start doing mirror affirmations too. It is fascinating to observe what thoughts and images pop up when you start saying your affirmations. When you have all this self-doubt, objections, memories from the past etc look at them with interest, because these are all the things that your brain has linked to keeping you stuck where you’ve been. These are all the memes that are coming to the surface, trying to lure you back into your limiting habitual thinking.

Affirmations are powerful. It changes the physical structure of your brain and stops that habitual limiting thinking that is holding you back from having the life that you desire. In tomorrow’s lesson you are going to learn how to create your own affirmations, as well as create a document that lists all of your aims that you are presently going to be working towards.

I can’t wait to show you how to do this!!!

Week Seven / Day Seven – Exercise Day! Creating all of your aims

 

NB – There is no audio available for this lesson

Are you ready to change your life?  Are you ready to commit to experiencing all of the things that you would like to experience in your life?  Because if you are, you are in the right place at the right time, because today is the first day of the rest of your life.  Let’s begin creating all the aims for you as a parent, what you want for your life and the person that you’d like to be.

Not sure?  Are you having second thoughts, or having meme’s popping up in your head as discussed yesterday?  Don’t worry, I am going to teach you how to overcome these by creating your own affirmations.  But first we need to pull together the week’s learning and create a list of aims for you to work towards that will be taken from the work you’ve done on day two, three, four and five of this week. 
 

Step One:  What are you aiming for?

  1.  Take a blank sheet of paper (an A3 size would be good) that you can use to write your aims on
  2. Open your notebook to the page where you looked at the potential solutions/aims to your situation/problem.
  3. On your blank sheet of paper write the heading:  ‘Aims for my current situation/problem’  (or you can use the sample sheets that I have created below)
  4. Underneath this heading create two columns – Column A will read ‘My present Issue’ and column B will read ‘my aim to overcome this issue’
  5. Write down your issue and your aim accordingly.
  6. Underneath this create a new heading:  ‘Aims for being a parent:’
  7. Under this heading, list all of your aims for being a parent.
  8. Create a new heading:  ‘Aims for my life’
  9. Under this heading, create a sub-heading: ‘My General aims’
  10. Create another subheading: ‘Aims I’d like to experience before I die’ (you want to keep this whole exercise on one page, so if you have lots of aims in this list, then you may want to write them all on a separate piece of paper and just write your top 10-15 aims on this particular list.
  11. Finally, create the heading: ‘My aims for my self-worth (the person I aspire to be)’
  12. Under this heading list all of your aims for this category.
  13. Make sure you leave room at the bottom to write your affirmations that we are going to create in the next step.

Please feel free to print out the samples that I have created for you below, or if you are feeling creative make your own – it’s your life!!  I have done versions in both A3 & A4, as I know that some of you won’t be able to print onto A3 paper.

 

Week Seven Exercise Sample of Aims Sheet (A4)

Week Seven Exercise Day Sample of Aims Sheet (A3)

 

 

Step Two – Creating your Affirmations

  1. Now that you have listed your aims on your sheet, take some time to go through these aim and take notice of any little comments, or voices that occur in your mind that are thinking that these aims cannot be achieved.  You are looking for the types of memes that frequently occur within you that often stop you from achieving your aims.
  2. On a separate piece of paper (perhaps in your workbook), write down these little statements as they enter into your mind as you contemplate achieving each aim.
  3. From this list, re-order these statements into the top 10 statements that stop you from achieving your goals (eg, ‘I don’t deserve to be happy’, ‘I can’t’ etc)
  4. From this list you are now going to use the instructions below to create 10 affirmations that are going to change this negative self-talk and teach your brain to view your aims differently.

 How to create affirmations:

a)  Write a statement that is the opposite to your current negative self-talk
b)  Make sure that new statement is about what you do want.
c)  Don’t use negative words in your new statement (such as don’t, won’t etc)
d)  Keep your statement in present tense (eg I have confidence or I am a confident person, instead of I will be confident).  Putting your statements in future tense keeps your brain thinking that it will happen someday.  You want to train your brain to believe you have this now, which is why it is important to keep these statements in present tense.
e)  Keep your statements short and brief because when you come to reciting them in the next step, you need to have your attention focussed. If they are too complex you won’t remember them.

Here are some examples of old limiting memes and affirmations you could create from them.

i)  I am too stupid to learn anything———–this statement may become————-I have the ability to learn new skills

ii)  I’m not good enough————-this statement may become———–I deserve to have anything I desire.

iii) My  kids deserve a different mother————this statement may become———-I am the best mother for my children and give them everything they need to grow into healthy, happy adults.

iv)  I don’t deserve to have money——————this statement may become———Money is everywhere.  I have every right to have as much money as I desire in my life

v)  You’re too angry to be calm———-this statement may become—— I am calm, loving and compassionate towards myself and others

If you have any problems with creating your affirmations, don’t forget to head on over to the Q&A Forum so that you can get some help.

 

Step Three – Practicing your Affirmations using your mirror

The final step to this exercise is to practice reciting your affirmations on a daily basis.  This doesn’t have to be a lengthy process. It only has to be 10 minutes a day and for an extra bonus, recite them whenever you remember to as well.  But at least recite them once a day using the Mirror Method I spoke about yesterday.  Below are these instructions again:

Using the Mirror method

a)  Look at yourself dead in the eye and recite your affirmation
b)  At first you will probably disagree with what you are saying, but stick with it.
c)  Keep a strong focus right into your eyes (the windows to your soul), even get up real close to the mirror if you need to, and repeat the affirmation again with as much conviction as you can muster.
d)  Take notice of the feelings, images and comments you make and accept them with interest, then repeat the statement again, pausing each time to focus on how you feel.
d)  Repeat this affirmation 5-10 times until you feel a slight shift in your level of belief in this new statement.
e)  Repeat steps a-d with each of your ten affirmations

The effect of this mirror method is extraordinary.  By looking at yourself right in the eyes, you send a very powerful message to yourself and to your brain.  It might seem strange to read this on paper, but if you actually do it you will know what I’m talking about.  

Remember, what you are trying to do, not just with these affirmations, but with this entire Mind TRACK to Happiness process, is to re-program your mind to change your habitual thinking.  Anything that accelerates that process is a major bonus as it also accelerates how great you will feel (because when you change your thoughts, you change your feelings). 

Mirror affirmations are so powerful in accelerating the process of training your brain to overcome those strong, overwhelming memes that stop you from getting everything that you achieve in your life.

 

A final word on setting aims

The process you have gone through this week has set your goals, FOR NOW.  While most of your parent, life and self-worth aims will probably stay the same throughout your life, it is important to regularly check in with your aims to see if you need to change them, or set new ones.

As you know, you continue to have new experiences everyday and with that comes new challenges and new information that propels us to another level of life and experience.   In life we set goals, achieve some, don’t achieve others, change goals and all the while, set life in motion.

What do you do when you get the goal?  You find more goals to set.  This is what keeps life exciting, interesting and continues to push us to learn more in life.  Keep using this TRACK process to identify what you want in your life from where you are at right now (reality) and continue to test these aims against reality and your bigger picture aims.

In next week’s lessons I’m going to teach you the ‘how to’ part of achieving these aims.

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