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Goal Setting: Process for Releasing the Past and Supercharging the Future

by Patrick J. Harbula

This article was written as to inspire powerful transformation at the time of the new year, but can be applied at any moment in time.

What were your new year’s resolutions last year (if you made any)? Did you follow through on your resolutions the last time you made them? Would you like a process for increasing the effectiveness of your intentions and your ability to use the new year as a springboard to create greater success and fulfillment? I have used the formula below in various forms with phenomenal results in achieving my own goals, corporate consulting, life coaching, and as a manager and director for over 15 years in the publishing industry.

Most people have set new year’s resolutions at some time or other in their lives. Many have given up on this cultural tradition because the resolutions didn’t work . . . or more accurately, because of lack of follow through on the part of the resolution maker. The new gym membership was used three times per week in January, once per week in February, and no times per week in March or beyond—a pattern that matches the trends in health club new member usage. The diet, which began right after January first, lasted a few weeks, or maybe just a few days. The decision to quit smoking almost worked for a whole day.

The number one reason for failure in achieving resolutions or goals is a lack of commitment and follow through, but there is a subtle problem with the whole notion of new year’s resolutions. The number one definition for “resolution” in the American Heritage dictionary is “The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination.” Having determination toward a particular goal is important, but it generally takes a number of other factors to succeed. Another definition cited in the same dictionary is “An explanation, as a problem or puzzle, solution.” This seems to characterize how many people approach resolutions—to get over or eliminate a problem or some unwanted behavior.

When we try to eliminate the negative, we give it power by focusing our attention on what we don’t want. What we focus on is what we tend to get more of. Have you ever made a commitment to not do some behavior like giving up eating too much and found that you instantly started wanting to eat more—and probably did? It’s like the proverbial “Don’t think about a pink elephant.” It’s virtually impossible.

To increase success in resolutions, we must focus on what we want rather than what we don’t want, which is exactly what is done in goal setting. A simple re-framing of the resolution can set us in the right direction. If I am resolute to quit smoking, I am actually creating an image in my mind of smoking (or at best of resisting smoking) every time I affirm that “I won’t smoke.” If I reframe my intention as one of becoming smoke free and focus on how healthy I will be as a result, I am creating an image in my mind of a life without smoking. The unconscious mind does not hear the word “not” because it receives an image of the subject of a statement regardless of whether a negative accompanies it. Rather than focusing on eating less unhealthy food or large portions, focus on eating small portions of healthy food and how good you will feel as a result.

Another reason resolutions can be less effective than goal setting is that they are so easily broken. Many people have become so resolved to the breaking of their resolutions that the unconscious resolution becomes “resolutions don’t work.” If I start out an intention with a “firm determination” and I slip up, then my determination wavers. If I didn’t succeed in the beginning with all my will power behind it, how will I ever succeed now that I have already missed the mark? In goal setting, I set a realistic goal and a practical plan for how to arrive at its fulfillment. I build into my plan how I will respond to difficulties or even failures, learn from my mistakes, and carry on toward the completed goal. In truth, my resolution is simply the first step in achieving my goal.

Using the new year as a springboard toward new successes is and excellent strategy and can be used to focus and empower setting and achieving goals. Below is a formula for goal setting and actualization that has worked for countless individuals and corporations I have consulted with. This exercise can be done with a group, a partner, or on one’s own. You can also use this formula as a ceremony. Every year for the last 13 years on new year’s eve I have performed a more elaborate version involving various ceremonial elements, as described in my book The Magic of the Soul. You can sit quietly by yourself or with a partner or group, light candles, sing songs or chants, or include prayers if you want to add a spiritual component to this process.

REFLECTING ON 2005

Reflect on the things in your life for which you are grateful including personal talents, accomplishments, relationships, opportunities, freedoms, possessions, and so on. Give special attention to the accomplishments and gifts you have realized in 2005 and write them down on a piece of paper or input them on a computer. Reflecting on what we have accomplished and gained helps to begin the resolution process from a perspective of success and gratitude, which for most people, gets us excited about accomplishing our intentions for the future. Most people and groups are amazed at what has been accomplished in the past after thoughtful assessment.

GOALS FOR 2006

Focus on the important goals you have for your life in 2006 including relationship, health, financial, business, personal growth etc. Write (or input) each goal and put a realistic date for accomplishment next to it. Listing all of your goals will help you with achieving the more difficult ones, perhaps those you have failed at in past resolutions. As you chart the progress of all your goals throughout the year, you will increase your confidence in your ability to achieve results by fully acknowledging the minor goals you achieve, thus increasing your resolve to achieve those goals you have found most difficult in the past. It is not important at this point I the exercise to know how you will accomplish the goal but simply to commit to achieving it. Leave space in your document for adding action items for each goal.

BRAINSTORMING THE ACTION PLAN

Brainstorm ideas for how to accomplish the goals you have written down. Begin by simply allowing ideas to come into your head. If you are doing this exercise with a partner or group, voice your ideas. The reason for beginning this process as a brainstorming session is to allow the opportunity for new ideas to emerge. Write down the ideas as they come up. In brainstorming, no idea is a bad one. In fact the more bizarre the answers the more opportunity is created for really great outside-the-box ideas. Once you have completed the brainstorming process, transfer those ideas that you will use (the practical ones as opposed to the bizarre) to the corresponding goal or goals on your goal list. Fill in any additional action steps for any goals still needing them.

WHO I MUST BECOME

Elaborate on the personal growth factor of your action plan. What are the qualities and strengths that you must develop to succeed at your plan and how will you develop them? What are the weaknesses that you will overcome or minimize to increase your success? Write these down as well.

TIPS FOR FOLLOW THROUGH AND SUCCESS

  1. Use visual cues to keep yourself on track. Place your goals list with action items where you can see it regularly. Update it as you take your action steps and achieve your goals.
  2. Reward yourself whenever you achieve a goal or action item. Celebrate your successes by sharing them with others. Have dinner or lunch out specifically to reward yourself for important accomplishments. Make time to do the things that you enjoy and connect them to the accomplishment of the small steps you achieve.
  3. Create a support system. Especially with goals or resolutions that have been tried and failed before, communicate them to others. Enlist support from others. Get a friend to join the gym and go together; Become smoke free with a friend and support each other to success; Create a weekly or daily communication with someone else who is focusing on achieving specific goals–share your ongoing goals, plans, failures, successes, and commitments, thereby creating a system of accountability.
  4. Use visualization and affirmation to enhance your efforts. Regularly sit down and close your eyes and visualize your accomplished goals. The power of the imagination cannot be overestimated. Studies have shown that people who visualize success are more likely to achieve it in reality.Also

    create affirmations to support the images of your success. Everyone has negative self-talk that comes into play when they are trying to accomplish a goal. The greater the goal, the more intense is the negative self-talk. Catch yourself in negative self-talk and replace it with positive reinforcement or affirmations that convey the opposite message of the negative self-talk.

  5. Journal your successes. Acquire a journal or notebook that is dedicated to journaling about your success and ongoing planning. Writing in it each morning or evening is an excellent way to keep you motivated toward your goals and resolutions.

Once you have succeeded at this process, you will move into the next year with greater confidence and ability for achieving your goals. Imagine how actualized your life will be ten years from now having implemented this strategy for a decade. Imagine your life in 20 years. Have a happy an prosperous year in 2006 and increasingly fulfilling life each and every year.

For a complimentary life coaching session.

Call: 805-469-9847

Living Purpose Institute

2593 Young Avenue Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Email: patrick@magicofthesoul.com

Testimonial

Sage Publications is a world-renowned academic publisher that has grown from a 32-million dollar company to over 100 million in 15 years.

I fully believe that we could not have accomplished the success in our organizational goals that we have realized without the guidance and leadership from Patrick Harbula.

--Blaise SimquPresident, Sage Publications

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2017-08-07T11:03:01+00:00

--Blaise SimquPresident, Sage Publications

Sage Publications is a world-renowned academic publisher that has grown from a 32-million dollar company to over 100 million in 15 years. I fully believe that we could not have accomplished the success in our organizational goals that we have realized without the guidance and leadership from Patrick Harbula.
A valuable day of focus and encouragement. Since the LPI training, my position at the job I already loved has completely shifted to come into alignment with my clearer sense of purpose.

--Molly Rockey, Nationwide Director of Volunteer Services, ALS Foundation

5.0
2017-08-07T11:04:14+00:00

--Molly Rockey, Nationwide Director of Volunteer Services, ALS Foundation

A valuable day of focus and encouragement. Since the LPI training, my position at the job I already loved has completely shifted to come into alignment with my clearer sense of purpose.
Learning that what was missing in my childhood is a gift that contributes to my life purpose, helped me identify how to change some of my patterns. I got my money's worth by lunchtime!

--Ted KalalReliability Engineer and Author of Improving Product Reliability

5.0
2017-08-07T11:15:09+00:00

--Ted KalalReliability Engineer and Author of Improving Product Reliability

Learning that what was missing in my childhood is a gift that contributes to my life purpose, helped me identify how to change some of my patterns. I got my money's worth by lunchtime!
Patrick Harbula's appearance at our Center was a phenomenal success. It was the largest turnout and MOST PROFITABLE we have had for a workshop since I have been the minister here. We had standing room only for the Sunday service and 78 participants in the paid workshop. Patrick also dropped in and co-facilitated the class we were doing on his book The Magic of the Soul, and the students raved about the experience. Patrick's office secured a lot of publicity on their own including a national radio show that brought many new people to the center. Six months later people are still talking about their experiences with Patrick.

 

-- Reverend Patrick Cameron, Center for Spiritual Awareness, Edmonton

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2017-08-07T11:22:33+00:00

-- Reverend Patrick Cameron, Center for Spiritual Awareness, Edmonton

Patrick Harbula's appearance at our Center was a phenomenal success. It was the largest turnout and MOST PROFITABLE we have had for a workshop since I have been the minister here. We had standing room only for the Sunday service and 78 participants in the paid workshop. Patrick also dropped in and co-facilitated the class we were doing on his book The Magic of the Soul, and the students raved about the experience. Patrick's office secured a lot of publicity on their own including a national radio show that brought many new people to the center. Six months later people are still talking about their experiences with Patrick.  
We had Patrick Harbula at the Center for Spiritul Living Princeton, and my community loved him and his workshop. He spoke at my service, and he was warm and welcoming. His workshop later that day was extremely well attended and financially very profitable! In his workshop, he focused on one's Divine Purpose and gave wonderful tools for everyone to continue working on their purpose and goal-setting. Patrick is also VERY generous.

I am offering the former ICSL accredited course, Magic of the Soul, using Patrick's book and curriculum next term, and his workshop was a great kick-off for that class. I may have to add an additional class (for the first time) because the interest in that class is so strong. In short, I highly recommend Patrick to come to you, both as a speaker, workshop facilitator, and a wonderful colleague. He is a dear man and friend.

-- Rev. Dr. Karen Kushner, Senior Minister, Center for Spiritual Living Princeton

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2017-08-07T11:23:49+00:00

-- Rev. Dr. Karen Kushner, Senior Minister, Center for Spiritual Living Princeton

We had Patrick Harbula at the Center for Spiritul Living Princeton, and my community loved him and his workshop. He spoke at my service, and he was warm and welcoming. His workshop later that day was extremely well attended and financially very profitable! In his workshop, he focused on one's Divine Purpose and gave wonderful tools for everyone to continue working on their purpose and goal-setting. Patrick is also VERY generous. I am offering the former ICSL accredited course, Magic of the Soul, using Patrick's book and curriculum next term, and his workshop was a great kick-off for that class. I may have to add an additional class (for the first time) because the interest in that class is so strong. In short, I highly recommend Patrick to come to you, both as a speaker, workshop facilitator, and a wonderful colleague. He is a dear man and friend.
I was so excited when I first heard that Patrick Harbula had given his consent for ICSL to use The Magic of the Soul as part of our 200 series for Science of Mind classes. I found the curriculum well suited to bring out the best in a group. It is inspiring and fun for both teacher and students. My class particularly appreciated the guided exercises on the accompanying CD.

-- Dr. Candice Becket , Previous President Centers for Spiritual Living

5.0
2017-08-07T11:25:28+00:00

-- Dr. Candice Becket , Previous President Centers for Spiritual Living

I was so excited when I first heard that Patrick Harbula had given his consent for ICSL to use The Magic of the Soul as part of our 200 series for Science of Mind classes. I found the curriculum well suited to bring out the best in a group. It is inspiring and fun for both teacher and students. My class particularly appreciated the guided exercises on the accompanying CD.
Patrick Harbula was a delight to have at our Center. A total professional but with the graces that go beyond the requirement. He created rapport with my congregation the moment he opened his mouth. His teaching was clear and my congregation responded beautifully to him, his workshop and his Sunday lesson. Great reviews did come from his workshop. Thank you Patrick for the work that you are doing. And to the field, inviting this man in to your Center is a great idea. Patarick has a beautiful consciousness and is a man of Principle and demonstration.

-- Michelle Wadleigh, Spiritual Director, Center for Spiritual Living North Jersey

5.0
2017-08-07T11:26:36+00:00

-- Michelle Wadleigh, Spiritual Director, Center for Spiritual Living North Jersey

Patrick Harbula was a delight to have at our Center. A total professional but with the graces that go beyond the requirement. He created rapport with my congregation the moment he opened his mouth. His teaching was clear and my congregation responded beautifully to him, his workshop and his Sunday lesson. Great reviews did come from his workshop. Thank you Patrick for the work that you are doing. And to the field, inviting this man in to your Center is a great idea. Patarick has a beautiful consciousness and is a man of Principle and demonstration.
We had the Rev. Patrick Harbula at our Center last month for his workshop "Busting Loose From The Money Game". He did a NorthEast tour and taught at several Centers in the area. It was a great event. Patrick is clear, authentic, inspiring and open hearted. He brought something fresh and new and yet, deeply steeped in our teaching. I felt inspired by his presentation. I highly recommend him for an event at your centers.

-- Rev. Frankie Timmers, Senior Minister, Center for Spiritual Living Morristown

5.0
2017-08-07T11:28:02+00:00

-- Rev. Frankie Timmers, Senior Minister, Center for Spiritual Living Morristown

We had the Rev. Patrick Harbula at our Center last month for his workshop "Busting Loose From The Money Game". He did a NorthEast tour and taught at several Centers in the area. It was a great event. Patrick is clear, authentic, inspiring and open hearted. He brought something fresh and new and yet, deeply steeped in our teaching. I felt inspired by his presentation. I highly recommend him for an event at your centers.
Patrick brings a unique energy to his presentations, workshops, and meditations, and I always receive the highest praise for from our misters, practitioners, and congregants. Patrick has a certain magnetism that inspires and draws people to receive the wisdom gained from his vast experience in metaphysical studies, the ministry, and corporate success. His Busting Loose from the Money Game class last year was the second largest class we had for the year at our Center. I heartily endorse him for any spiritual community looking to create a positive spiritual experience for its members.

-- Dr. Jim Lockard, Director Center for Spritual Living, Simi Valley and author of Sacred Thinking.

5.0
2017-08-07T11:29:23+00:00

-- Dr. Jim Lockard, Director Center for Spritual Living, Simi Valley and author of Sacred Thinking.

Patrick brings a unique energy to his presentations, workshops, and meditations, and I always receive the highest praise for from our misters, practitioners, and congregants. Patrick has a certain magnetism that inspires and draws people to receive the wisdom gained from his vast experience in metaphysical studies, the ministry, and corporate success. His Busting Loose from the Money Game class last year was the second largest class we had for the year at our Center. I heartily endorse him for any spiritual community looking to create a positive spiritual experience for its members.
. . . . I have had the opportunity to see the benefits of his work when he has presented his seminars at OneSpirit Center for Conscious Living on several occasions. . . . Patrick has a rich background of training in New Thought, meditation, spiritual psychology, and corporate success. I consider him to be a selfless mystic who extends himself from his heart. By my observation, that’s Patrick’s strongest quality—he has the ability to open people’s hearts at a deep and most authentic level. His lectures are strongly based on New Thought principles and his workshops are a place where healings happen. I am honored to know Patrick, consider him a friend, and am especially pleased to be one of the facilitators in the Life Coaching Certification Program through his organization, The Living Purpose Institute.

-- Dr. Dennis Merritt Jones, Previously Director of the Simi Valley Center for Conscious Living and author of Speaking Religious Science, The Art of Being and The Art of Uncertainty.

5.0
2017-08-07T11:30:22+00:00

-- Dr. Dennis Merritt Jones, Previously Director of the Simi Valley Center for Conscious Living and author of Speaking Religious Science, The Art of Being and The Art of Uncertainty.

. . . . I have had the opportunity to see the benefits of his work when he has presented his seminars at OneSpirit Center for Conscious Living on several occasions. . . . Patrick has a rich background of training in New Thought, meditation, spiritual psychology, and corporate success. I consider him to be a selfless mystic who extends himself from his heart. By my observation, that’s Patrick’s strongest quality—he has the ability to open people’s hearts at a deep and most authentic level. His lectures are strongly based on New Thought principles and his workshops are a place where healings happen. I am honored to know Patrick, consider him a friend, and am especially pleased to be one of the facilitators in the Life Coaching Certification Program through his organization, The Living Purpose Institute.
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