Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Step 7: What about the rest of your life?


People live so much longer these days.

Some scientists predict most of us will see our eightieth birthdays. Even more optimistic, Dr. Deepak Chopra says we're easily equipped to live to 120. Imagine hitting sixty and thinking, "Hello, middle age!"

Knowing it's possible you'll live to be much older than most people at any other time in history, you have to realize, even if you've already summited that proverbial hill, you've got a whole life ahead of you. Most of us haven't even hit our stride yet.

What will you choose to create for the rest of your life?

Know where you're going.

That's a funny phrase: the rest of your life. Most of us don't envision swinging in a hammock for thirty to sixty years. Even though I'm years away from sixty, I certainly don't plan on lazing about for the entire remainder of my time here on earth. Yet if we can think of "the rest" as both purposeful activity and mindful inactivity, along with the absence of both busywork and exhaustion, then "the rest of our lives" can take on an entirely new meaning and meaningfulness.

Easier said than done, though, isn't it? To expend our energy on what's most important and to remember to slow down so we can rejuvenate takes conscious attention to a clear vision for our lives. We must know with absolute clarity what we choose to create. So many of us, though, find it much easier to define what we don't want: "I don't want to be downsized out of a job," or "I don't want to be fat any more," or "I don't want to be alone."

Knowing these "don't-wants" is only half the equation.

These are the conditions we want to move away from. What are we moving toward? To be successful for the long term, you must know both the moving away, which tends to compel you to action in the first place, and the moving toward that will keep you going even after you've reached a major milestone.

Let's consider the example of a goal to lose weight. A major factor in the yo-yo effect commonly associated with this goal is people being clear about what they don't want and not having a vision for what they do want. If the goal is to lose weight, what will they gain? Once the weight is lost, why continue to exercise and eat sensibly? The goal has been achieved, so there's nothing left to do but hope that some good habits got ingrained. But for most people, that doesn't happen. Ninety percent of people who lose weight in North America gain everything back within two years or less — plus two more pounds!

Once people who were overweight get far enough away from being fat, the motivators are gone, and they get sucked back into their old behaviors. A better strategy is to acknowledge the moving away motivator, but then to focus on the moving toward. For example, "I will feel confident and strong in my body," or "I will be able to enjoy any physical activity that interests me," or "I will look irresistible in my jeans and a sweater."

It works something like a rocket going into space.

A tremendous amount of energy and effort and force goes into moving that rocket away from the earth's gravity, but after that initial thrust, and once the ship gets out of the gravitational pull, it drops the booster and gets a new burst of energy to move toward its destination planet. Otherwise, the rocket would travel only halfway. Moving away from the earth was a critical first step, but to actually land on the moon, the rocket has to drop the propellant to reach its target.

Likewise, a person who wants to get out of debt (move away), needs to come up with a vision to move toward. For example, "I will have the freedom to travel anywhere in the world." Someone who doesn't want to feel lonely any more (move away), needs to focus on what he or she chooses to create: "I will reach out to my family and friends so I always feel connected." We need to know where we're headed, not just what we're leaving behind.

Be specific, make it measurable and set a date.

For best results, goals should meet three important criteria: They are specific, measurable and timed. In fact, in one of my seminars, I give participants a mnemonic for remembering the key criteria for goals.

The S.M.A.R.T. goal is one that is:
Instead of "I want to lose weight," make it specific and measurable: "I will be in excellent condition: My body will have 25 percent body fat, and I will be able enjoy jogging for 45 minutes."

Is this achievable? Certainly. Is it realistic? Careful, here. "Realism" can be a trap, mainly because for most of us, realism is actually pessimism. Dr. Martin Seligman, who wrote a book titled Learned Optimism, revealed that most achievers are optimists who, in pushing the limits of what is "reasonable" or "realistic," accomplish much greater things than those who are unwilling to test the boundaries (also known as pessimists). One great example he gives to illustrate the difference is that you can stand outside Disneyland and listen to the adults leaving the park, grumbling about how long the lines were, how expensive the food was, and how that stupid mouse got on their nerves. Yet the children — even if they're dragging out with droopy eyelids — are still enthusiastic about how fun the rides were, how they loved the cotton candy and Goofy and Small World and the pirates and the music and... and you get the picture. The kids optimistically focus on what was great for them.

Really go for it!

My point is, that in setting "realistic" goals, to not allow that label limit you. Be an optimist. Set goals that will challenge you, goals that give you butterflies, goals that put you right out on the edge without one more step to take. Anything less challenging can bore you. Anything more challenging can break you. So search your heart. Set goals that will, for you, really put you out there and motivate you to continue. In the Harmonic Wealth® Weekend, we spend a lot of the time working with you and encouraging you to stretch yourself to really go for it. You deserve nothing less. After all, it's the rest of your life.

It's hard for me to believe this series of lessons is at an end — or is it?

That depends on you. You may have treated these as e-mails you read, saying to yourself, "Interesting!" and then deleting them from your inbox. I hope instead that you saved these lessons and mulled over the ideas I've tried to convey. You may have even tried a few of these concepts out and seen their effect in your life. But I have to be honest with you: 99 percent of people who read success literature or listen to personal-growth tapes don't put what they've learned into practice.

What's next if you are among the 1 percent who is truly committed to greatness? There is nothing like a time of concentrated learning and application in the company of other excited and dedicated people to propel you into a new level of life. That's what the Harmonic Wealth Weekend will give you — and much, much more.

There's a vast difference between saying to yourself, "I can do anything," even believing that statement is true, and backing up that assertion by breaking through a 1-inch pine board with your bare hands.

There's a difference between learning how to create Harmonic Wealth® in your life, and going through a weekend that will show you how to achieve not just money, fame, power, influence (whatever success means to you) but health, balance, happiness and contribution along with it.

And there's a difference between reading e-mail lessons, no matter how valuable, and deciding to give the rocket ship of your life the fuel it needs to blast off and reach the stars.

This is my final, personal invitation — no, my plea — for you to join me at the Harmonic Wealth Weekend. I believe you wouldn't have made it through all seven lessons unless you knew in your heart that you deserve the gifts Harmonic Wealth Weekend has to offer. Getting information about my next program is as easy as clicking here.

As with everything in your life, the decision is yours. No matter whether you choose to join me at the Harmonic Wealth Weekend or if I see you at other times or other places (perhaps through other e-mails?), I appreciate the gift of your time for these lessons. And I wish that you start living the next years of your life today with ever more joy, passion, and success.

Your Coach,

James Arthur Ray

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