WE often set ourselves unrealistic targets, like wanting to lose weight in a short period of time. This is because we often consider the end result, and neglect the process leading to it.

The truth is that success begins in your mind. To steer yourself toward your aspirations, remember the three ‘R’s. 

Right words make all the difference

Psychologists call the act of talking to ourselves “self-talk”. According to Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis, an associate professor at the University of Thessaly in Trikala, Greece, who studied self-talk and its effect on sports performance, self-talk enables you to “stimulate your action, direct your action and evaluate your action”.

Whether we do it silently or aloud, we spend a third of our daily conversation with ourselves. Thus, it is crucial that we are aware of the impact of the words we use on ourselves.

Here is an example. Instead of telling yourself “I want to make $100,000”, replace it with “I am open to ideas that will provide me with multiple sources of income”. This way, your goal remains unchanged. It is still $100,000 that you aim to have.

You are merely telling your mind to be open to other avenues for earning that $100,000. Once you have this mindset, you will be alert to other ways in which you can reach your goal.

Review past results

Are you spending too much time thinking about your past regrets, or dreaming about what the future will be like? 

Our future is determined by the present, and our present circumstance is largely influenced by our past. But one should accept the past, instead of hoping that time will bury or dull the memories.

More importantly, we must review the past and think of ways in which we could have handled our circumstances better. A review process helps you to identify the part of the scenario that you are unhappy with.

For instance, if you are feeling unhappy in your current job, start by asking yourself what outcome you want. Next, review your past and determine what did not go right in your previous jobs, and why. Then apply this knowledge to your current situation to determine the way forward.

Author and motivational speaker Leo Buscaglia once said: “If you don't like the scene you're in, if you're unhappy, if you're lonely, if you don't feel that things are happening, change your scene. Paint a new backdrop.”

Re-imagine the scenario

After you have reviewed your situation, paint a new backdrop according to the scene you want to create.

Remember that external factors like the economy, interest rate and your boss do not account for your circumstances. It is what we say to ourselves all day and night that corrupts and obstructs our minds from achieving a higher goal. It is this inner conversation that one has to arrest and be aware of for any improvements to be made.

By using our imagination, we have the power to repaint the scenario, the person we want to be and the things we would like to have. Winston Churchill once said: “This is an age in which the mood decides the fortunes of people rather than the fortunes decide the mood.”

Re-imaging new possibilities for an existing scenario is like living the moment when the dream comes true, along with the feelings that come with it.

For instance, imagine how you would feel when you reach your goal. Think about how you would feel when you finally get $100,000 in your bank account. If your friends know about it, what conversations would transpire between both of you? 

This process of reviewing and re-imagining the scenario may not come naturally at first, as it takes time to rethink your thoughts. But with patience and perseverance, it will get easier and propel you toward your goals.