Posted on Leave a comment

Definition, History, Techniques, & Facts

The hypnotic state

The hypnotized individual appears to heed only the communications of the hypnotist and typically responds in an uncritical, automatic fashion while ignoring all aspects of the environment other than those pointed out by the hypnotist. In a hypnotic state an individual tends to see, feel, smell, and otherwise perceive in accordance with the hypnotist’s suggestions, even though these suggestions may be in apparent contradiction to the actual stimuli present in the environment. The effects of hypnosis are not limited to sensory change; even the subject’s memory and awareness of self may be altered by suggestion, and the effects of the suggestions may be extended (posthypnotically) into the subject’s subsequent waking activity.

History and early research

The history of hypnosis is as ancient as that of sorcery, magic, and medicine; indeed, hypnosis has been used as a method in all three. Its scientific history began in the latter part of the 18th century with Franz Mesmer, a German physician who used hypnosis in the treatment of patients in Vienna and Paris. Because of his mistaken belief that hypnotism made use of an occult force (which he termed “animal magnetism”) that flowed through the hypnotist into the subject, Mesmer was soon discredited; but Mesmer’s method—named mesmerism after its creator—continued to interest medical practitioners. A number of clinicians made use of it without fully understanding its nature until the middle of the 19th century, when the English physician James Braid studied the phenomenon and coined the terms hypnotism and hypnosis, after the Greek god of sleep, Hypnos.

Hypnosis attracted widespread scientific interest in the 1880s. Ambroise-Auguste Liébeault, an obscure French country physician who used mesmeric techniques, drew the support of Hippolyte Bernheim, a professor of medicine at Strasbourg. Independently they had written that hypnosis involved no physical forces and no physiological processes but was a combination of psychologically mediated responses to suggestions. During a visit to France at about the same time, Austrian physician Sigmund Freud was impressed by the therapeutic potential of hypnosis for neurotic disorders. On his return to Vienna, he used hypnosis to help neurotics recall disturbing events that they had apparently forgotten. As he began to develop his system of psychoanalysis, however, theoretical considerations—as well as the difficulty he encountered in hypnotizing some patients—led Freud to discard hypnosis in favour of free association. (Generally psychoanalysts have come to view hypnosis as merely an adjunct to the free-associative techniques used in psychoanalytic practice.)

Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. Subscribe today

Despite Freud’s influential adoption and then rejection of hypnosis, some use was made of the technique in the psychoanalytic treatment of soldiers who had experienced combat neuroses during World Wars I and II. Hypnosis subsequently acquired other limited uses in medicine. Various researchers have put forth differing theories of what hypnosis is and how it might be understood, but there is still no generally accepted explanatory theory for the phenomenon.

Applications of hypnosis

The techniques used to induce hypnosis share common features. The most important consideration is that the person to be hypnotized (the subject) be willing and cooperative and that he or she trust in the hypnotist. Subjects are invited to relax in comfort and to fix their gaze on some object. The hypnotist continues to suggest, usually in a low, quiet voice, that the subject’s relaxation will increase and that his or her eyes will grow tired. Soon the subject’s eyes do show signs of fatigue, and the hypnotist suggests that they will close. The subject allows his eyes to close and then begins to show signs of profound relaxation, such as limpness and deep breathing. He has entered the state of hypnotic trance. A person will be more responsive to hypnosis when he believes that he can be hypnotized, that the hypnotist is competent and trustworthy, and that the undertaking is safe, appropriate, and congruent with the subject’s wishes. Therefore, induction is generally preceded by the establishment of suitable rapport between subject and hypnotist.

Ordinary inductions of hypnosis begin with simple, noncontroversial suggestions made by the hypnotist that will almost inevitably be accepted by all subjects. At this stage neither subject nor hypnotist can readily tell whether the subject’s behaviour constitutes a hypnotic response or mere cooperation. Then, gradually, suggestions are given that demand increasing distortion of the individual’s perception or memory—e.g., that it is difficult or impossible for the subject to open his or her eyes. Other methods of induction may also be used. The process may take considerable time or only a few seconds.

The resulting hypnotic phenomena differ markedly from one subject to another and from one trance to another, depending upon the purposes to be served and the depth of the trance. Hypnosis is a phenomenon of degrees, ranging from light to profound trance states but with no fixed constancy. Ordinarily, however, all trance behaviour is characterized by a simplicity, a directness, and a literalness of understanding, action, and emotional response that are suggestive of childhood. The surprising abilities displayed by some hypnotized persons seem to derive partly from the restriction of their attention to the task or situation at hand and their consequent freedom from the ordinary conscious tendency to orient constantly to distracting, even irrelevant, events.

The central phenomenon of hypnosis is suggestibility, a state of greatly enhanced receptiveness and responsiveness to suggestions and stimuli presented by the hypnotist. Appropriate suggestions by the hypnotist can induce a remarkably wide range of psychological, sensory, and motor responses from persons who are deeply hypnotized. By acceptance of and response to suggestions, the subject can be induced to behave as if deaf, blind, paralyzed, hallucinated, delusional, amnesic, or impervious to pain or to uncomfortable body postures; in addition, the subject can display various behavioral responses that he or she regards as a reasonable or desirable response to the situation that has been suggested by the hypnotist.

One fascinating manifestation that can be elicited from a subject who has been in a hypnotic trance is that of posthypnotic suggestion and behaviour; that is, the subject’s execution, at some later time, of instructions and suggestions that were given to him while he was in a trance. With adequate amnesia induced during the trance state, the individual will not be aware of the source of his impulse to perform the instructed act. Posthypnotic suggestion, however, is not a particularly powerful means for controlling behaviour when compared with a person’s conscious willingness to perform actions.

Many subjects seem unable to recall events that occurred while they were in deep hypnosis. This “posthypnotic amnesia” can result either spontaneously from deep hypnosis or from a suggestion by the hypnotist while the subject is in a trance state. The amnesia may include all the events of the trance state or only selected items, or it may be manifested in connection with matters unrelated to the trance. Posthypnotic amnesia may be successfully removed by appropriate hypnotic suggestions.

Hypnosis has been officially endorsed as a therapeutic method by medical, psychiatric, dental, and psychological associations throughout the world. It has been found most useful in preparing people for anesthesia, enhancing the drug response, and reducing the required dosage. In childbirth it is particularly helpful, because it can help to alleviate the mother’s discomfort while avoiding anesthetics that could impair the child’s physiological function. Hypnosis has often been used in attempts to stop smoking, and it is highly regarded in the management of otherwise intractable pain, including that of terminal cancer. It is valuable in reducing the common fear of dental procedures; in fact, the very people whom dentists find most difficult to treat frequently respond best to hypnotic suggestion. In the area of psychosomatic medicine, hypnosis has been used in a variety of ways. Patients have been trained to relax and to carry out, in the absence of the hypnotist, exercises that have had salutary effects on some forms of high blood pressure, headaches, and functional disorders.

Though the induction of hypnosis requires little training and no particular skill, when used in the context of medical treatment, it can be damaging when employed by individuals who lack the competence and skill to treat such problems without the use of hypnosis. On the other hand, hypnosis has been repeatedly condemned by various medical associations when it is used purely for purposes of public entertainment, owing to the danger of adverse posthypnotic reactions to the procedure. Indeed, in this regard several nations have banned or limited commercial or other public displays of hypnosis. In addition, many courts of law refuse to accept testimony from people who have been hypnotized for purposes of “recovering” memories, because such techniques can lead to confusion between imaginations and memories.

Martin T. OrneA. Gordon HammerThe Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica


Posted on Leave a comment

100 Daily Affirmations to Create a Positive Mindset (2020)

Are you looking to transform your life? If yes, use these daily affirmations to drive positive change in your life.

Affirmations are expressions we aim at our mind in order to alter our thinking patterns and therefore transform our lives. 

Daily Affirmations to Create a Positive Mindset

Daily Affirmations to Create a Positive Mindset

Affirmations not only motivate and keep you focused on your goals, but the change in thought also changes your behavior. Having a positive mindset makes you feel more energetic and causes you to be more active.

How have affirmations affected your life?

When you practice affirmations, limiting beliefs that you may have had previously will appear less daunting and you will become more confident to make the changes you need to in order to achieve success. 

Like any habit, it takes 21 to 30 days for affirmations to stick to the brain. So, to change your thoughts, affirmations should be practiced daily. 

Here is a list of 100 daily affirmations that you can use to improve any area in your life.

Don’t forget to also read these positive affirmations that will help you change your life for the better.

Daily affirmations about love and relationships

1. I am surrounded by love and everything is fine.

2. My heart is always open, and I radiate love.

3. All my relationships are long lasting and loving.

4. I see everything with loving eyes, and I love everything I see.

5. I deserve love and I get it in abundance.

6. Everywhere I go, I find love. Life is joyous.

7. I am surrounded by love every day of my life.

8. I love myself and because of that everyone loves me.

9. I attract love in everything I do.

10. I freely express the love I feel to those I love, and they return my gesture.

11. I am blessed with a beautiful family.

12. I get the help I need, when I need it, from various sources. My support system is strong and loving.

13. I cherish my friendships.

14. My friends empower me.

15. I am available for my friends and family.

16. My relationships are loving and harmonious.

17. I always stay in contact with my friends.

18. I am a compassionate, forgiving friend.

19. I am the friend I would want for myself.

20. I am dependable.

21. I am positive and loyal.

22. I am generous with time, patience, and love to my family.

23. I am the family member I want to be.

24. I communicate well with my family.

25. My family cooperates with each other.

26. We are a well-balanced family.

27. My family is healthy and vibrant.

28. I am a source of love and inspiration for my family.

29. I encourage my family to achieve their dreams.

30. I radiate love and happiness to my family.

Daily affirmations about gratitude and forgiveness

31. I am grateful for all that I am, for all that I have, and for all that I experience.

32. I have an attitude of gratitude.

33. My thoughts are focused on positivity and thankfulness.

34. I am sincerely grateful, and this attracts positivity into my life.

35. I take time to be grateful for all the small things, such as the blue sky or the sound of laughter.

36. I am grateful for my family, my friends, and my relationships.

37. I am thankful for simply being alive.

38. I am thankful for what I have.

39. I am grateful for all the positive things that are coming my way.

40. I am grateful for the people in my life.

41. I release all ill feelings in me about people, incidents and anything else. I forgive everyone associated with me.

42. The door to my heart opens inward. I move through forgiveness to love.

43. The past is over, so it has no power now. The thoughts of THIS moment create my future.

44. I give myself the gift of freedom from the past and move with joy into the now.

45. There is no problem so big or small that it cannot be solved with love.

46. I am ready to be healed. I am willing to forgive. All is well.

47. I move beyond forgiveness to understanding, and I have compassion for all.

48. Each day is a new opportunity. Yesterday is over and done.

49. I know that old, negative patterns no longer limit me. I let them go with ease.

50. I am forgiving, loving, gentle, and kind, and I know that life loves me.

Daily affirmations about self-worth

51. I accept and experience all my feelings.

52. It is healthier to express myself clearly and directly.

53. It is safe for me to be vulnerable.

54. I can reward myself for trying new things.

55. My dreams can come true.

56. I choose life. I choose happiness.

57. I trust my body, I trust myself.

58. I am now clearing my negative beliefs.

59. I have the freedom and power to create the life I desire.

60. I forgive myself completely.

61. I am too big a gift to this world to feel self-pity and sadness.

62. I love and approve of myself.

63. I am competent, smart, and able.

64. I believe in myself.

65. I recognize the many good qualities I have.

66. I surround myself with people who bring out the best in me, and I see the best in others.

67. I let go of negative thoughts and feelings about myself.

68. I love who I am. I love who I have become.

69. I am always growing and developing.

70. I love and accept myself just as I am.

Daily affirmations about health 

71. Every day, in every way, I am getting healthier and healthier and feeling better and better.

72. I love myself and I am perfectly healthy.

73. Every cell in my body is health conscious.

74. I am full of energy and vitality and my mind is calm and peaceful.

75. I think only positive thoughts and am always happy and joyous, no matter what the external conditions are.

76. I always feel good. As a result, my body feels good and I radiate good feelings.

77. Every day is a new day full of hope, happiness, and health.

78. I treat my body as a temple. It is holy, it is clean, and it is full of goodness.

79. I breathe deeply, exercise regularly and feed only good nutritious food to my body.

80. I am free of diabetes, free of blood pressure problems, free of cancerous cells, and free of all life-threatening diseases.

Daily affirmations about money and success

81. I am abundant.

82. Abundance flows through my open arms.

83. I am connected to the abundance of the universe.

84. I am financially free.

85. I am grateful for the riches in my life.

86. I am wealthier each day.

87. I believe in my unlimited prosperity.

88. I create money easily and effortlessly.

89. I have more than enough money to pay my bills.

90. I have wealth in every area of my life.

91. I am respected by everyone in my work environment.

92. I am acknowledged for all my good efforts at work.

93. I love and enjoy my work and I receive the perfect pay.

94. I am a magnet for success.

95. Success flows easily into my open arms.

96. My employer recognizes my hard work and give s me a huge raise.

97. Every day I wake up and go to the best job in the world.

98. I know my calling and the work I am supposed to do in my life.

99. The type of work I do is miraculously in complete demand.

100. I have created the perfect business for myself and my pay is overwhelming.

Which of these daily affirmations inspired you to practice a positive mindset

The body is full of complex systems that keep us going for a lifetime. One of these systems is called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). This is an information processing system that filters what we do and don’t notice. When you repeat affirmations often, the brain will notice things related to what you’re thinking about. So, when you repeat “I choose happiness” the brain will notice more things that make you happy. 

Your brain strengthens connections every time you think about something. It’s like riding a bike. At first it’s hard, but once you figure it out, it becomes so easy! Practice affirmations on a daily basis to strengthen your brains connection with what you want to focus on. 

How have affirmations affected your life? Do you have a favorite daily affirmation that we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comment section below.


Posted on Leave a comment

How Effective Is Hypnosis as a Tool to Help You

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

Some people use sleep hypnosis as a tool to help them fall asleep. In a nutshell, sleep hypnosis is a technique that involves guided thinking in order to lead a person into a state of relaxation. In turn, this relaxed state should make falling asleep easier. There are many sleep hypnosis recordings available that you can download on your phone or computer, but it’s not clear whether or not they are effective. If you are considering sleep hypnosis, read on for details about what it is, and discover other strategies that might be more useful when you are trying to get a good night’s sleep.


What Is Sleep Hypnosis?

Sleep hypnosis involves listening to verbal cues from a hypnotherapist that are intended to draw you into a trance-like state through the power of suggestion.  Hypnotherapists use different approaches to induce relaxation, such as focused attention, symptom control, and guided imagery.  Someone who is being hypnotized might hear phrases such as “relax,” “deep,” “easy,” and “let go.” These words are intended to encourage someone drift off to sleep.


Does It Really Work?

Hypnotherapy may work better for some people than others, depending on how “suggestible” they are, meaning how eager they are to believe that the practice will be effective. However, studies suggest about a quarter of people simply can’t be hypnotized at all. Other research finds that sleep hypnosis may need to be integrated with cognitive-behavioral therapy in order to achieve any benefits.  So as a stand-alone treatment for sleep issues, hypnosis may not be the most successful choice.


What Can You Do Instead?

If you are searching for new techniques in order to sleep better at night, consider cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which includes looking at behaviors surrounding your sleep routine, and working to change ways of thinking that may lead to unhealthy beliefs and fears about sleep. Other relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation, are effective as well. Listening to relaxing music before bed may also help you fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and wake up less during the night.


While sleep hypnosis is generally considered harmless and may have mild benefits for some people as a supplementary sleep tool, there are more effective ways to get the sleep you need. Talk with your doctor to figure out what approach will be most helpful to you.


Posted on Leave a comment

Self Hypnosis For Success: How To Achieve Goals In Life

Have you ever felt as though you struggle to achieve your goals? Perhaps you get distracted easily, or maybe you find it hard to even know where to start when trying to reach your goals in life? If this is the case, self hypnosis may be able to help you.

In this article, I will explain how self-hypnosis can be a tool you can use to reach your goals. Before we start this, let’s first take a look at the reasons you may not be achieving your goals. We can all struggle with this from time to time. However, this is why it is good to first identify what it is that is holding you back from your goals and dreams.

3 Reasons Why You May Not Be Achieving Your Goals Yet

Many people may find it hard to reach their goals, for a lot of reasons. Some people find their goals hard to reach, as they are unsure of what steps to take to achieve their goals, or are not able to stay focused enough to reach them.

Often, when you find yourself giving up on a goal, it could be because you have not achieved that goal straight away and felt defeated. We, as humans, tend to have a fear of failing, which leads us to feel like there is no point to try again and to give up. It’s always good to look at why you may not be achieving your goals, so that you can try and change your way of thinking, and stay motivated on your dreams (something that self-hypnosis can help you with).

Let’s look at a few more reasons why you may not be achieving your Life goals.

success1. You Only Focus On Achieving One Goal At A Time

When you focus on one main goal, you are limiting yourself to other possibilities and goals you could also reach.

Plus, when we focus on one goal alone, every other goal we may be wanting to pursue goes to the back of the queue.

What you have to remember is, to reach your end goal, you need smaller, mini goals or steps to achieve your end result. Try not to focus on one end goal.

Instead, look at developing the skills you need to achieve these goals (for example, changing your diet for weight loss). This will also help you to try and reach multiple goals at one time.

2. You Get Stuck On The End Result With Your Goals

If you are looking at your end result, and not the steps you need to take to achieve them, it is likely you may not achieve your goals most of the time. You need to look at how you are going to achieve your goals first and take those steps to get closer to them.

Many people often feel discouraged when they do not reach their end result straight away – but this is very unlikely, especially if there are mini goals you need to achieve first. Having a list of your smaller steps will also keep you more motivated and focused on reaching your end result.

Further Reading: How To Hypnotize Yourself (Step By Step Guide)

3. You Feel Discouraged

As mentioned earlier, it is easy to develop a fear of failing. You may find that as soon as you fail at something, or struggle to achieve an end goal, you give up.

If you can look at failing as something that is needed to happen to help us improve and come back stronger, you will find it easier to focus on your goals. When you face your first hurdle, and fail, you will know why you failed and be able to try again with a different mindset. If you feel discouraged, you are more likely to not try again and therefore will not reach your goals.

Does Self Hypnosis Work?

You may be asking: does self-hypnosis work? Well, for many it does and is often used to help people for a lot of different reasons or outcomes.

Self-hypnotherapy is where you enter a state of deep relaxation, where your brain activity reduces and you are induced in a sense of calm. Being in this state of mind helps you to be open to high suggestibility.

The Hypnosis therapist will then give you suggestions which can help change your limiting beliefs and make positive changes that can help you achieve your goals. This can also help you focus on what you struggle with and what may be stopping you, and can show you how to look differently and change your thought process on these underlying issues.

Benefits Of Self Hypnosis

Self Hypnosis techniques can be used to help you achieve your Life goals because it teaches you to stay motivated and to focus on these goals. Through self-hypnosis, you will be entering the right mindset to reach your goals and aim for success, you should feel more motivated and positive too.

Self Hypnotherapy helps to change your outlook on limited beliefs, for example, it can help with changing the way you think into being more positive and this should help you to stay focused and eager to succeed with your goals. Self-hypnosis, when used on top of what you are already doing to reach your goals, should help greatly. It should help speed things up for you, as it helps you to stay motivated and reinforces the positive mind changes and outlooks that you have on your goals.

The hypnotherapy can keep you on the right track if you take part in it along with all of the other steps you are taking to reach your goals. As self-hypnosis gets your subconscious involved, this can connect with your conscious goals, which is why this is great for keeping you on the road to success.

Self-hypnotherapy can give you the right attitude that you need to achieve your goals, thus helping you to reach them.

Start Achieving Your Goals Today With Self Hypnosis

If you need that extra push to start reaching your goals and may have trouble staying motivated, or positive, Self Hypnosis may be the perfect tool for you. Self-hypnotherapy can be a great way to keeping you focused and motivated on your goals and can help you to reach them.

If this sounds like something you want to try, why not visit our partner site, ehypnosis, with a great new offer every day, you can pick a program which is perfect for you, and start reaching your goals today.


Posted on Leave a comment

Personal Goal Setting: – Planning to Live Your Life Your


Many people feel as if they’re adrift in the world. They work hard, but they don’t seem to get anywhere worthwhile.

A key reason that they feel this way is that they haven’t spent enough time thinking about what they want from life, and haven’t set themselves formal goals. After all, would you set out on a major journey with no real idea of your destination? Probably not!

Click here to view a transcript of this video.

How to Set a Goal

First consider what you want to achieve, and then commit to it. Set SMART (specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) goals that motivate you and write them down to make them feel tangible. Then plan the steps you must take to realize your goal, and cross off each one as you work through them.

Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality.

The process of setting goals helps you choose where you want to go in life. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts. You’ll also quickly spot the distractions that can, so easily, lead you astray.

Why Set Goals?

Top-level athletes, successful businesspeople and achievers in all fields all set goals. Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation . It focuses your acquisition of knowledge, and helps you to organize your time and your resources so that you can make the most of your life.

By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in the achievement of those goals, and you’ll see forward progress in what might previously have seemed a long pointless grind. You will also raise your self-confidence , as you recognize your own ability and competence in achieving the goals that you’ve set.

Starting to Set Personal Goals

You set your goals on a number of levels:

  • First you create your “big picture” of what you want to do with your life (or over, say, the next 10 years), and identify the large-scale goals that you want to achieve.
  • Then, you break these down into the smaller and smaller targets that you must hit to reach your lifetime goals.
  • Finally, once you have your plan, you start working on it to achieve these goals.

This is why we start the process of setting goals by looking at your lifetime goals. Then, we work down to the things that you can do in, say, the next five years, then next year, next month, next week, and today, to start moving towards them.

Step 1: Setting Lifetime Goals

The first step in setting personal goals is to consider what you want to achieve in your lifetime (or at least, by a significant and distant age in the future). Setting lifetime goals gives you the overall perspective that shapes all other aspects of your decision making.

To give a broad, balanced coverage of all important areas in your life, try to set goals in some of the following categories (or in other categories of your own, where these are important to you):

  • Career – What level do you want to reach in your career, or what do you want to achieve?
  • Financial – How much do you want to earn, by what stage? How is this related to your career goals?
  • Education – Is there any knowledge you want to acquire in particular? What information and skills will you need to have in order to achieve other goals?
  • Family – Do you want to be a parent? If so, how are you going to be a good parent? How do you want to be seen by a partner or by members of your extended family?
  • Artistic – Do you want to achieve any artistic goals?
  • Attitude – Is any part of your mindset holding you back? Is there any part of the way that you behave that upsets you? (If so, set a goal to improve your behavior or find a solution to the problem.)
  • Physical – Are there any athletic goals that you want to achieve, or do you want good health deep into old age? What steps are you going to take to achieve this?
  • Pleasure – How do you want to enjoy yourself? (You should ensure that some of your life is for you!)
  • Public Service – Do you want to make the world a better place? If so, how?

Spend some time brainstorming these things, and then select one or more goals in each category that best reflect what you want to do. Then consider trimming again so that you have a small number of really significant goals that you can focus on.

As you do this, make sure that the goals that you have set are ones that you genuinely want to achieve, not ones that your parents, family, or employers might want. (If you have a partner, you probably want to consider what he or she wants – however, make sure that you also remain true to yourself!)


You may also want to read our article on Personal Mission Statements . Crafting a personal mission statement can help bring your most important goals into sharp focus.

Step 2: Setting Smaller Goals

Once you have set your lifetime goals, set a five-year plan of smaller goals that you need to complete if you are to reach your lifetime plan.

Then create a one-year plan, six-month plan, and a one-month plan of progressively smaller goals that you should reach to achieve your lifetime goals. Each of these should be based on the previous plan.

Then create a daily To-Do List of things that you should do today to work towards your lifetime goals.

At an early stage, your smaller goals might be to read books and gather information on the achievement of your higher level goals. This will help you to improve the quality and realism of your goal setting.

Finally, review your plans, and make sure that they fit the way in which you want to live your life.


If you feel that you’re not paying enough attention to certain areas of your life, you’ll find our articles on The Wheel of Life and the Life/Career Rainbow useful.

Staying on Course

Once you’ve decided on your first set of goals, keep the process going by reviewing and updating your To-Do List on a daily basis.

Periodically review the longer term plans, and modify them to reflect your changing priorities and experience. (A good way of doing this is to schedule regular, repeating reviews using a computer-based diary.)


A useful way of making goals more powerful is to use the SMART mnemonic. While there are plenty of variants (some of which we’ve included in parenthesis), SMART usually stands for:

  • S – Specific (or Significant).
  • M – Measurable (or Meaningful).
  • A – Attainable (or Action-Oriented).
  • R – Relevant (or Rewarding).
  • T – Time-bound (or Trackable).

For example, instead of having “to sail around the world” as a goal, it’s more powerful to use the SMART goal “To have completed my trip around the world by December 31, 2027.” Obviously, this will only be attainable if a lot of preparation has been completed beforehand!

Further Tips for Setting Your Goals

The following broad guidelines will help you to set effective, achievable goals:

  • State each goal as a positive statement – Express your goals positively – “Execute this technique well” is a much better goal than “Don’t make this stupid mistake.”
  • Be precise – Set precise goals, putting in dates, times and amounts so that you can measure achievement. If you do this, you’ll know exactly when you have achieved the goal, and can take complete satisfaction from having achieved it.
  • Set priorities – When you have several goals, give each a priority. This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by having too many goals, and helps to direct your attention to the most important ones.
  • Write goals down – This crystallizes them and gives them more force.
  • Keep operational goals small – Keep the low-level goals that you’re working towards small and achievable. If a goal is too large, then it can seem that you are not making progress towards it. Keeping goals small and incremental gives more opportunities for reward.
  • Set performance goals, not outcome goals – You should take care to set goals over which you have as much control as possible. It can be quite dispiriting to fail to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your control!

    In business, these reasons could be bad business environments or unexpected effects of government policy. In sport, they could include poor judging, bad weather, injury, or just plain bad luck.

    If you base your goals on personal performance, then you can keep control over the achievement of your goals, and draw satisfaction from them.

  • Set realistic goals – It’s important to set goals that you can achieve. All sorts of people (for example, employers, parents, media, or society) can set unrealistic goals for you. They will often do this in ignorance of your own desires and ambitions.

    It’s also possible to set goals that are too difficult because you might not appreciate either the obstacles in the way, or understand quite how much skill you need to develop to achieve a particular level of performance.

Achieving Goals

When you’ve achieved a goal, take the time to enjoy the satisfaction of having done so. Absorb the implications of the goal achievement, and observe the progress that you’ve made towards other goals.

If the goal was a significant one, reward yourself appropriately. All of this helps you build the self-confidence you deserve.

With the experience of having achieved this goal, review the rest of your goal plans:

  • If you achieved the goal too easily, make your next goal harder.
  • If the goal took a dispiriting length of time to achieve, make the next goal a little easier.
  • If you learned something that would lead you to change other goals, do so.
  • If you noticed a deficit in your skills despite achieving the goal, decide whether to set goals to fix this.

Tip 1:

Our article, Golden Rules of Goal Setting , will show you how to set yourself up for success when it comes to your goals. If you’re still having trouble, you might also want to try Backward Goal Setting .

Tip 2:

It’s important to remember that failing to meet goals does not matter much, just as long as you learn from the experience.

Feed lessons you have learned back into the process of setting your next goals. Remember too that your goals will change as time goes on. Adjust them regularly to reflect growth in your knowledge and experience, and if goals do not hold any attraction any longer, consider letting them go.

Example Personal Goals

For her New Year’s Resolution, Susan has decided to think about what she really wants to do with her life.

Her lifetime goals are as follows:

  • Career – “To be managing editor of the magazine that I work for.”
  • Artistic – “To keep working on my illustration skills. Ultimately I want to have my own show in our downtown gallery.”
  • Physical – “To run a marathon.”

Now that Susan has listed her lifetime goals, she then breaks down each one into smaller, more manageable goals.

Let’s take a closer look at how she might break down her lifetime career goal – becoming managing editor of her magazine:

  • Five-year goal: “Become deputy editor.”
  • One-year goal: “Volunteer for projects that the current Managing Editor is heading up.”
  • Six-month goal: “Go back to school and finish my journalism degree.”
  • One-month goal: “Talk to the current managing editor to determine what skills are needed to do the job.”
  • One-week goal: “Book the meeting with the Managing Editor.”

As you can see from this example, breaking big goals down into smaller, more manageable goals makes it far easier to see how the goal will get accomplished.

Key Points

Goal setting is an important method for:

  • Deciding what you want to achieve in your life.
  • Separating what’s important from what’s irrelevant, or a distraction.
  • Motivating yourself.
  • Building your self-confidence, based on successful achievement of goals.

Set your lifetime goals first. Then, set a five-year plan of smaller goals that you need to complete if you are to reach your lifetime plan. Keep the process going by regularly reviewing and updating your goals. And remember to take time to enjoy the satisfaction of achieving your goals when you do so.

If you don’t already set goals, do so, starting now. As you make this technique part of your life, you’ll find your career accelerating, and you’ll wonder how you did without it!