Have you ever heard someone say, “I could do it if I could just set my mind to it.” Have you ever uttered these words, even just to yourself?
You can you know. And me too. I really can achieve what I set my mind to. This belief has pulled me out many times from difficult situations, and for anyone discovering this feeling, you cannot describe the power inside. No bragging, just quiet confidence.
Have you heard about the story of mothers pulling great weights off their sons or daughters in order to save their lives. And then find out that the weight they lifted was virtually impossible!
Impossible? Tell that to a mother who is trying to save her children. There is no impossible in her mind. There is no other acceptable alternative other than total and complete success.
You can use this principle in your own life!
We will move heaven and earth when we feel it is important to do so. You really can get anything you want in life if you set your mind to it. The timing and strategy may change, but the result is in the bank, ‘if you set your mind to it’.
OK. You have my curiosity stoked, you say. Now you ask, how do you set your mind to it? Ahhhh. There’s the rub. The question of the ages rears it ugly head once again.
I have written a small success story of mine below. I am not proud of where I was at the time, I am proud of how I handled it and came back.
1987 – This period of my life was both the worst time of my life and the best time of my life. Anyone hitting rock bottom can relate.
That year 1987, my life was in the “crapper”. I was in a downward spiral, and couldn’t seem to stop myself from ruining not only my life but my family’s too. I was drifting away from the very people who were most important to me.
It’s funny that even when you know that you are screwing up, you sometimes can’t seem to make change. That’s when you sometimes get lucky. At least I was.
Going back to March 1987…I was in a dark place in my life, nothing seemed to be working for me. I was drinking heavily, an alcoholic by definition, not by belief. There is a great difference between these two terms.
I was up late drinking myself into a stupor, and fell asleep with a lit cigarette in the ash tray. When I woke up the next morning, the cigarette had burned down, fell out of the ash tray onto the coffee table and burned a thin streak into the wood.
Now you would think that this would shake anybody up, but this wasn’t the catalyst for change. To quit drinking or smoking! No.
When our little girl came down that particular morning after, she was horrified, and remarked, actually she shrieked, that I could have burned the house down! And I turned white. I could have died just from seeing the fearful look on her face.
Well, I would move mountains for my family so that was enough of a picture in my mind, that I gave up smoking cold turkey, right then and there. March 5, 1987.
My focus was laser concentrated, quitting smoking was the most important thing to do in my life at this time.
If you notice, I never said that I gave up drinking there. No. Not enough leverage for that one yet. But…I did quit smoking right then and there.
Later that same year in July, we were at a friend’s wedding, and I was still drinking heavily much of the time. Probably more heavily if that could be possible. It’s a wonder that I didn’t get alcohol poisoning from all the booze I consumed, I had no problem downing whole cases of beer, and requesting more.
When we came home that night, my wife and I got into an argument, and after verbally abusing her, the argument elevated. I slapped her.
I struck my wife, a little more than 115-120 lbs soaking wet! What a big man I was…
At that instant, I realized even through my massive drunkenness that I had crossed a line, in life, and in my mind.
The argument continued for another few minutes, but she picked up the kids and left the house for her mothers. When the next morning came, and I had sobered up a little, I could have cut my right arm off.
In my life, I had swore that I would never become one who would beat on their wife. And I had physically hit her…
I have never had another alcoholic drink since that time. July 18, 1987. Quit cold turkey, with massive leverage that few people get to feel. Thank God for that. And of course, I never hit her again. She is absolutely the most important person in my life, and I try to demonstrate that to her daily.
Change took on a whole new importance to me. I had tremendous leverage on myself. I had crossed a line in my mind, a threshold, that somehow gave me absolute power over my actions. That is where we have to be when we expect our change to last.
The results after that? Well, that year, I had already quit smoking in the spring, and I quit drinking that summer night. I made a plan. I started jogging the day I quit drinking and started out going around a little park behind our house, probably should have been a 4-5 minute run but took me 11 minutes, pumping and puffing like a laboring steam locomotive.
During that next 3 months I worked myself up to 5 miles a day, and dropped my weight from 245 to 185. My focus was concentrated solely on the fact that I knew I was better than this and I must change my life now. For myself and for my family.
During that time, I felt tremendous urgency. I began to feel better then than at any other time in my life. My mind was clear on the objective, my focus was sharp, my cause was likened to life or death. Sure there were distractions, there were some tough times, but my strength of purpose and my momentum had grown so strong, nothing was going to stop me in my journey.
The next year in 1988, I led my team at work to a company wide contest win, great recognition for me. And I took my wife Anne on her dream trip, a trip for 2 weeks to the islands of Hawaii. We took in every single thing we could, and took 33 rolls of film to sit together and enjoy it all over again at home later. (Follow up article here – 10 Ways To Hold Your Focus and Get Your Goal!)
I journalled my thoughts and feelings at that time, but alas, I did not journal in a hard bound book, just a three ring binder. The pages worn and tossed away sometime ago. Therefore, I have only my memory to serve me. (Journalling regularly is a great way to measure how much one has grown. I recommend it heartily.)
What really pulled me out was the realization that, not only was I completely fouling up my life and my family’s, but that I was not creating anything for them or myself. I was not being who I was supposed to be. My idea of who I am, what I am about, was completely in direct contradiction to what I was acting out.
Now. Back to the Present.
So, how do you set your mind to it? How do you make what you want the most important thing in your life, for the time period needed to achieve success?
How do you give it that tremendous importance over those things you most value already?
Connect them up. Use what is already important in your life and connect it to what you want to have, with stronger, more powerful reasons associating the fact that one gets stronger and more potent with the other.
How do you take something you have doing for years and stop ‘cold turkey’, and turn it around to give you terrific momentum for the positive? With absolutely no thought of failure?
How do you take something that you have been trying to do for years and failing at it, and turn it around so that you are successful with it immediately?
You must make it the most important thing to do in your life, for the time period necessary to ingrain it into your lifestyle. And you MUST make it a MUST! Just like in the story of the mother saving her child. You entertain absolutely no other acceptable alternative other than total and complete success.
Connect it to something you feel is already critically important, something that you would never waiver on, never give up on, and seamlessly merge them together. Make one dependent on the other and you will be pulled to success. Visualize it, look forward to your new undeniable future!
My guess is that at some time in your life you have already ‘set your mind’ to something and cruised to victory. This is the feeling you want to remember and practice in the present. We perfected this strategy when we were children. We asked until….we got what we wanted.
Think back, pull those memories of successful changes you have made before, write them down, feel how you felt then, and you will have your own personal strategy that you already know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it works for you, it has already worked for you.
Knowing trumps believing every time. You are lending strength, you are borrowing on your own past experiences, not some others stories of success. It doesn’t have to work for others, this is for you only. You just have to consciously remember how you used it before and practice it now. Make it real again.
There are many ways to create change. You probably already know some of these tips below, but are you using them? I have found them absolutely critical to habit development and change. The degree of success you have will be directly proportionate to the degree you apply these principles.
They create a ‘pull’ instead of you having to ‘push’. Logical reasons will help, but emotional reasons have the most power. Go into it positively, with determination and persist until you win. Set your mind to it!
Here are 5 strategies that I feel are critical.
1. Decision to Commit – Pure resolve that you are doing it. No matter what, whatever it takes. There is no option acceptable other than to do it.
2. Powerful Reasons that move you to ACTION! Strong Empowering Emotional Reasons WHY you must do this.
3. Connection to what’s already important to you. Anchoring positive thoughts over negative to control focus. Look forward to your new future.
4. Associating with people who have done it or are doing it. Immerse yourself in positive association.
5. Change Your Identity to a Self Image that is consistent with what you want. As Tony Robbins says, it is never too late to have a happy childhood. Let go of negative thoughts.
I use all of these strategies in conjunction with each other, and did turn my life around. It can work for you no matter what habit you want to create or replace.
Nothing can stand in the way of someone that will accept no less than success. Go for it!
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Napoleon Hill writes about how powerful a ‘Magnificent Obsession’ can be.