That's a big title to live up to, but assuming you're willing to do the work, the technique will more than match the title. The method is simple: Clearly and persistently envision your goals. In detail.
That's it. Everything else flows from it — the work you do, the ideas for what to do, the motivation to do it, the insights into how to solve problems — all this springs forth naturally when you clearly envision your goals often.
It's a good idea to set goals and write them down. But deliberately visualizing your goals in detail adds so much power to goal-setting, it'll put you in another league.
"But," you might be thinking, "whenever I set a goal, I already have a picture of what I think it will be like." And I'm sure that's true. But have you closed your eyes and relaxed and imagined your goal in its completeness? Have you envisioned all the details you can come up with? And have you done that many times?
My guess is: Probably not. Visualizing goals is one of those things you often hear successful people mention, but you hear it and ignore it, for one reason or another. I ignored it for a long time because I wasn't very good at visualizing. But making mental pictures is a skill like any other, and I've gotten better with practice.
If you're ready to take your life to a whole new stratosphere, start envisioning your goals. Give it twenty minutes at a time. Sit down, close your eyes and relax as deeply as you can. It's best to sit up so you won't fall asleep. Sitting up rather than lying down also helps you control your visions better. On your back, your images tend to drift.
If you relax first, it will be easier to envision positive outcomes. When you're not relaxed, fears and worries are more likely to pop up in your visualizations (here's one way to relax).
Once you're relaxed, imagine the accomplishment of your goal. See what you would see. Start with how you would know. For example, I envision a million subscribers to Moodraiser.com. When I accomplish the goal, how will I know it happened? I would look at my Feedburner stats and see the number 1,000,000 (or more).
After you've reached your goal, what will you do? Who will you tell? What will you do next? Visualize all these things. See the look on your spouse's face. On your kid's face. How will you feel? See and feel and hear all this and more, in detail. Hear what they would say and how they would say it.
Let yourself become absorbed in the vision.
Doing this regularly has tremendous consequences. First of all, it will put you in a good mood more often. When you have a clear goal, when you know what you want and are working toward it, your mood will rise.
One of the most powerful consequence of envisioning your goals is the way it changes your interpretations of ordinary events. You will find yourself naturally — without trying — reframing the events of your life in a more constructive way. For example, after envisioning my goal of a million subscribers, the next day if a reader writes to me and says, "I'm unsubscribing because your articles are too long," how do I take that?
Normally I might feel bad, at least a little. But with a clear, tangible, envisioned goal, this same comment doesn't bring me down. Instead, it makes me think, "I should look into this because if this is a common opinion, I could get more subscribers by keeping my articles short."
See what happened? My clearly envisioned goal caused me to automatically reframe the criticism in a constructive way.
You'll find this happening a lot. Annoyances or upsetting events are transformed into the perfect lessons to help you get where you want to go.
The most noticeable consequence of regularly envisioning your goals is the way it changes how you think about your goal and how you can make it happen. Solutions and ideas pop into your mind spontaneously. Something about getting a clear mental picture of your goal stimulates your creative powers.
It feels like reverse engineering. When I imagine my goals, it gets me to think about how it happened. What led to the accomplishment? I'm looking back from the future, and I can see things I need to be doing now for that to happen. It's a very natural process, but produces surprising insights and great ideas. I have often thought, "Why didn't I think of that before?" Something about envisioning the goal changes the way you see the space between then and now.
You already set goals. You already work toward them. Now add one more thing: Envision your goals clearly and in detail. It will lead to more accomplishment and better moods. I can see it now. Can you?
Adam Khan is the author of Self-Help Stuff That Works and Cultivating Fire: How to Keep Your Motivation White Hot.