Despite what some pop psychology gurus say, it indeed seems that, in reality, we still have to work, plan and act to get what we want.
How do we increase our chances of reaching our goals? That’s a crucial issue in ensuring the success of our professional and personal plans. Some people try to convince us to visualize and focus on the objective we want to reach. For example, we only have to visualize our ideal weight, extraordinary grain yield, a perfect herd, a huge bank account, a much-wished-for price increase, or even the dream partner, in order to realize those goals. In fact, if we don’t reach them, it’s because our ability to visualize them is lacking.
For decades, pop psychology gurus have encouraged people to visualize success, and then, by magic, it will happen! “Don’t ask yourself any questions. You just have to believe, and the cosmic universe will bring it to you.” That’s the “secret.” However, there seems to be a huge gap between what popular psychology suggests and reality. In fact, studies on reaching goals demonstrate that exclusive emphasis on the goal may have the inverse effect, creating an illusion of power (magical thinking). The person dreams but doesn’t put those dreams into action. He or she does not complete the appropriate actions. Why not? After all, the universe must take care of it!
In reality, it seems that the likelihood of reaching our goals is not related to visualizing them (of course, we must know what we want) but in fact involves visualizing and planning how to reach them. After determining what I want, visualizing the means is more important than visualizing the ultimate goal.
If I want to get better control over my finances, I can visualize myself:
- Sitting at my desk to do the management and administration (where, when and how many hours a week);
- Planning meetings with resource people who can help me (accountants, management advisors and tax specialists);
- Getting some training on the subject;
- Reading about the subject;
- Conducting meetings with my partners to discuss information and consult each other to make decisions.
Where, when, how, with whom, how often and how long for each of these points are all important data I must include in my action plan.
Furthermore, the more long-term my objective, the more I risk encountering obstacles, distractions and periods of demotivation.
So it’s important to have already determined strategies to prevent or counter those obstacles that keep me from reaching my objectives:
- If I don’t do my management hours on Monday afternoon due to some unforeseen event, when will I re-schedule them?
- If someone arrives unannounced when I’m studying, how will I react?
- If I have training at the same time a problem occurs on the farm, what’s my plan B?
Will all this guarantee that I reach my objectives? Of course not, but it will greatly increase my chances of success.
To summarize, it indeed seems that, in reality, we still have to work, plan and act to get what we want, so if we’re going to visualize, let’s focus on the right things. That’s the real secret of people who reach their objectives.
Pierrette Desrosiers, M.Ps
Work psychologist, speaker and business coach