The Thrill of Anticipation Can Be a Driving Force That Helps Goals Come True

The remnants of the 2023 holiday season have barely been cleared away, but for some, this ending is the beginning of building anticipation for next year’s festivities.

My daughter Simone is one of those people who is thinking ahead. She is already excited for next year’s holiday card, talking about what family photographs we will include as she looks forward to creating memories that will be cherished and shared with loved ones. Simone is only 11 years old, but even at that young age, she’s already grasped the concept of how the simple act of anticipation can be a powerful motivator.

The power of anticipation, when aligned with a strong vision, is an effective method to encourage you to work towards your goals. It’s like the feeling you get when you look forward to a vacation. Even when you’re bundled up and weathering an icy cold climate, thinking about a future tropical vacation can evoke the sensation of the warm sun on your skin and the ocean breeze in your hair. This feeling is not just a fleeting moment of joy – it’s a free tool that can be harnessed to propel us closer to our objectives.

As we reflect on the past year and set goals for the future, we can channel the anticipation and excitement we feel into making tangible progress. Setting clear and precise objectives is an important step in the process. Rather than having just vague ideas of what you want, your vision has greater power when you see something so clearly in your mind that you want to go after it. That applies whether it’s a business goal, or another type of objective related to sports, hobbies, vacations, relationships, charitable gifts, or even attaining material objects such as cars and houses.

One entrepreneur I interviewed recently described how his company encourages employees to display their personal goals on large boards in communal areas for the entire staff to see. Ken Rusk, founder and president of the construction company Rusk Industries and author of Blue Collar Cash, said the concept is similar to a vision board but contains clearer and more concise milestones to strive towards.

Sharing your goals with people you respect and care about who are going to push you and help you along the way builds a network of accountability and shared positive energy. Everyone works together to help each other attain their aspirations and reach greater heights. This practice fosters a sense of community and support as people cheerlead each other to the finish line. The strategy is to transform “if goals” into “when goals,” reinforcing the notion that it’s not a matter of if you’ll achieve your dreams, but when.

Rusk also touched on the concept of “intrepreneurship.” A company’s team members are encouraged to take ownership of their roles and goals in the company, much like entrepreneurs do with their businesses. This mindset fosters a culture of empowerment and personal investment in the company’s success.

My personal approach to setting goals is to apply a technique I developed many years ago. I write letters to myself as if I’ve already lived through the upcoming year, detailing my accomplishments and struggles as I expect they might play out. This exercise in visualization and intention-setting is a testament to the power of treating your goals as inevitable milestones rather than distant possibilities.

When I think about my daughter’s excitement in anticipation of the holiday card, I know that her enthusiasm will play a part in encouraging all of us to create special family memories. Whether it’s a holiday card, a personal achievement, or a professional milestone, the act of setting and anticipating goals can become a driving force in our lives. The future is not just something that happens to us. We have the power to shape our own intentions and actions.

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