Set amazing goals

To put it simply, happiness will elude you unless you have a goal. Gaia Darling shows you the way.

You need to know where you want to go and what you want to do in life, and goals will provide you with an essential road map. Without this information, you'll be lost, adrift. I learned about goal setting from my father, and it's one of the most valuable things he ever taught me. Use these guidelines to set yourself some amazing, knee-trembling, life-enhancing goals!

Think big

If you don't know where to begin or feel like you have absolutely no ambition, take some time out for yourself and just allow your mind to wander. Give yourself permission to dream. Get somewhere comfortable and drift away on your imagination. What kind of lifestyle have you always wished you had? Would you like to live in a hippie commune in San Francisco, or is a brownstone in New York more your style? How about volunteering in India or owning a fleet of cruise ships? Picture everything that would surround that lifestyle. Grab a piece of paper and start scribbling down ideas. Don't judge yourself while you write. Just because you're writing down something doesn't mean you have to go out and do it; just give yourself some options. Then narrow it down to things that really turn your crank.

Measure success

The best way to set a goal is to define success as what/how many/how much by a certain date. For example, 'Get famous' isn't a real, achievable goal because there's no way to measure it. On the other hand, 'Be on the cover of Rolling Stone in 2020' is a great goal because it's measurable. So pick a time frame and put a stake in the ground.

Scare yourself

If your goals are boring, your life is going to be incredibly dull. Goals should feel like a stretch; they should make you nervous! Come up with something that terrifies you! Set a goal that makes you gulp as you write it down. Your goal will swell in your brain, absorb a whole lot of your brain power … and then start happening. Even better!

Write it down

Unless you write down your goal, it's just an idle thought – and unless you review and reread your goals regularly, you'll forget them. Grab a sheet of paper, write your goals nice and big, and then pin it to a wall. The closer your goal is to the front of your mind, the better.

Break it up

If you want to be an Olympic athlete, you don't just turn up and hope to qualify. Years of work go into it first. Think in steps; it will make your objective seem much more manageable and will keep you from feeling defeated or overwhelmed. For each goal, use a fresh piece of paper and write down each step. When you complete an action, mark it off with a big tick. It's vital to celebrate the small triumphs along the way!

Visualise what you want

Make your goal as real as you can. Let's use the previous example of getting on the cover of Rolling Stone: why not make a mock-up of the magazine with your face on the front? Or maybe you want to visit New York. Take a screen capture of one of the places you want to go, and then make it your desk wallpaper so you see it every day. I have heard of people who write themselves million-dollar cheques and stick them on the ceiling above their bed – and it works!

Act 'as if'

One of the best ways to achieve something, strange as it may sound, is to pretend it has already happened. Let's say your distant goal is to be a publishing magnate. How different would your life be if you managed to achieve that? OK, now remove all the material things that would change (better car, house, office with a view) and think about how you would behave if you were a publishing big shot. Odds are, your posture would be different. You might not slob around the house in a pair of slippers all day either! You'd probably wake up early, exercise, and get into your day. You'd be comfortable with your success and not threatened by other people, so you would ask for what you wanted and tell people if they weren't delivering what you expected.

Don't fear obstacles

When you're trying to achieve something, obstacles are inevitable. Instead of being frustrated or angry or feeling like the world is against you, just see them as a test of your passion and drive. You need to get over the hump and prove that you want something, that you're hungry for it. There are always going to be little things that don't go your way or people who don't have your vision. That's OK – just stay the course.

Ask for help

Don't be afraid to ask other people for assistance. Most people are thrilled to do it, as long as you make it worth their while. Be vocal about how appreciative you are, buy them a really excellent dinner, or give them a bottle of fantastic wine. The other thing to keep in mind is that whatever you're trying to achieve has probably been done before. This is not to dissuade you, of course; it's to make you see that it can be done and that you should watch whoever achieved it before you.

Always persist

Start now! It is never too late; you always have today. Start immediately!

Extracted from Radical Self-Love, Radical Self-Love, by Gaia Darling (Hay House, RRP $19.99).