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The strategy that turns daydreams into reality

Daydreaming about goals

Daydreaming about goals

It is natural to daydream about the things we want - how wonderful it would be if you learned a new language or wrote a novel. But, merely visualising a brighter future won't make it more likely.

Research shows that we should make pragmatic plans to accomplish our goals. To prevent our good intentions from remaining wishful thinking, we should compare our vision with our current circumstance, identify the obstacles, and find the best way to overcome them.

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The strategy that turns daydreams into reality

The strategy that turns daydreams into reality

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200821-the-strategy-that-turns-daydreams-into-reality

bbc.com

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Key Ideas

Daydreaming about goals

It is natural to daydream about the things we want - how wonderful it would be if you learned a new language or wrote a novel. But, merely visualising a brighter future won't make it more likely.

Research shows that we should make pragmatic plans to accomplish our goals. To prevent our good intentions from remaining wishful thinking, we should compare our vision with our current circumstance, identify the obstacles, and find the best way to overcome them.

The "Fantasy Realisation Theory"

It is speculated that people confuse daydreams for reality. The warm emotions from the fantasies lead them to feel as if they'd already met their goals. It results in not putting in the hard work needed for success.

Positive thinking on its own could be counter-productive. Research shows that dieters who fantasized about weight loss are less likely to lose weight. Students who dream of academic success tend to get worse grades than those who don't.

Mental contrasting intervention

Mental contrasting is engaging in a positive fantasy, followed by thinking about the obstacles that might stop you from achieving that goal.

Mental contrasting is a versatile and valuable tool. It is particularly effective when it is combined with implementation intentions ("if-then" plans).

The 'WOOP' technique for mental constraints

If you would like to try mental contrasting yourself, remember the acronym 'WOOP.'

  • Consider your Wish
  • Imagine the Outcome
  • Identify the Obstacle
  • Then make a Plan

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Go from Dreamer to Do-er

Use the WOOP strategy for achieving goals:

  • Wish: What do you dream of achieving in the future?
  • Outcome: What form will that result take?
Wish (But Don’t Stop There)

Everything starts with a wish. But don't transform that into fantasy.

When you fantasize, your brain thinks you’ve actually achieved your goal. So rather than ramping up, motivation dials back.

See A Specific Outcome

Be specific about the form your wish should take.

For example: If a "better work-life balance" is your wish, your outcome  could be “No work on weekends."

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Mental attainment

There is a correlation between positive thinking and ineffective performance, because expectations of a successful outcome demonstrably relaxes a person so much that they lack the energy to achi...

Mental contrasting

It involves attaching positive thinking to realistic goals

This approach also connects positive thinking to a realistic assessment of one’s possibilities, an awareness of obstacles is inevitable, and that leads to a second aspect of successful mental contrasting.

Implementation intentions

It involves developing if-then strategies for things that may not go as well as hoped as you work to achieve your goals. 

With these in place, you’re ready to “improvise” — in quotes because you’ve actually planned out your response in advance — as need be and keep moving forward.

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The action-intention gap

The difference between a great idea and great execution. This is where most of our struggles, failures and frustrations originate.

The majority of our struggles in life come down to a ...

How to Close Your Action-Intention Gap
  1. If you want to have a chance of improving your life, you need to clear about what you intend to do.
  2. Align your intentions with the kind of things you can actually do. 
  3. See how your intentions are working out,  how well you’re following through and make adjustments.
Fantasy World

Science Fiction’s constant migration to other worlds is ‘adaptive’ and can be configured to suit the geek crowd, whose interests and tastes are used to provide the kind of fantasy that they would c...

Kirk Allen

.. was a pseudonymous patient of psychoanalyst Robert Lindner, in his 1954 case studies, in which the patient had a dual life, which he could switch by mental time-travel and travel in an instant to the far off future, in which a life of power, respect and conquest was lived by him. This premise was a form of ‘escape hatch’, making science fiction literature a kind of evasion from reality.

The Iron Dream

.. published in 1972 was an alternate fantasy timeline of Adolf Hitler, in which he lives another kind of life as a science fiction author and illustrator(yes it is far fetched!)

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Develop The Habit Of Thinking Big

... by trial and error and consistently analyzing things related to big ideas, until you've practiced enough your brain can easily establish unusual correlati...

Think Like a Child

The key to shifting your perspective and developing the habit of thinking big involves stepping outside of yourself and into another persona — essentially becoming someone who will help you see things bigger, better and more creatively.

You must also think from the perspective of having no limitations or fears and ask big questions persistently until the right answer comes to mind.

Barriers To Thinking Big
  • Limiting habits: procrastination, immediatism, negative thinking, making excuses, solving insignificant problems, over-analyzing, perfectionism.
  • People criticize and judge the unknown and big ideas are often so.
  • Fears of failure and the unknown restrict us to small thoughts, decisions, and actions. 
  • Lack of time turns us into small thinkers and immediatists. 
  • Lack of incentives robs you of the motivation to stretch yourself emotionally or physically. 

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Motivation vs. Intention

We all have the motivation, willpower, or desire to achieve our goals to some degree.

What makes the difference, what turns your goals into reality is not really your level of motivation, ...

Implementation Intentions

They refer to the plan you make about when and where to act before the action occurs.

The format for creating an implementation intention is: “When situation X arises, I will perform response Y.”

Implementation intentions are an effective way of sticking to your goals.

Follow Through With Your Goals

If you make a specific plan for when and where you will perform a new habit, you have bigger chances to follow through.

You don't need motivation, you need clarity. Simply follow your predetermined plan: I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION].

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Finding your purpose

Many seem to think that purpose comes from your unique gifts and sets you apart from other people. That is only partly true.

Meaningful goals that foster a sense of purpose are ones that can ...

Read

Reading connects us to people across time and space.

  • Research shows that those who read the Bible more tended to have a stronger sense of purpose.
  • Reading fiction also seems to make a difference. By seeing purpose in the lives of other people, we are more likely to see it in our own.
Find purpose in suffering

Finding purpose is not just an intellectual pursuit, it is something we need to feel. That's why purpose can grow out of suffering.

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Read to someone

One of the biggest obstacles to reading books we enjoy is that we think we should read books even if we don’t enjoy them—specifically, the idea that if we start a book, we must fi...

The To-Go Box Method

For a weight-loss hack, it goes like this: As soon as you order a meal at a restaurant, ask immediately that half of it be put in a to-go box once it’s ready and only the other half served to you. It’s basically a stricter version of portion control.

We can apply the same technique to get ourselves to read more.

Instead of 2 hours of Netflix each night, cutting it in half would still give you the satisfaction of watching Netflix in the evenings but also free up time to read as well.

Book Summaries

Preview the book in order to vet whether or not it’s worth investing your time in.

  • Use book summaries. Find apps that give accurate and concise summaries of many of the most popular books out there and are constantly updating their library.
  • Use podcast interviews with the author. Authors often go on the podcast circuit to promote their books. 

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Copying successful people

Putting highly successful people on a pedestal can unknowingly hinder our own efforts. We get caught in comparisons and it’s easy to forget that they’ve had and still have their own set of struggle...

Maximize every moment

Working well is not about maximizing every waking moment of the day, in order to get more done. And the focus on maximizing time may actually diminish our creativity.

Instead, try identifying and focusing on the few hours of the day you are most productive.

Setting Big Goals

To achieve sustainable productivity habits, it’s best to build up with easily achievable tasks.

Small chunks of accomplishment will amount to something big eventually.

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Meaningful productivity

The best work happens in short intensive deep work spurts (1–3 hours, no distractions). 

Your best thinking  will actually happen while you’re away from your work, “recovering.” B...

The first 3 hours of the day

...are your most precious for maximized productivity. 

Your brain is most attuned first thing in the morning, and so are your energy levels. Consequently, the best time to do your best work is during this time.

The “90–90–1” rule

Spend the first 90 minutes of your workday on your #1 priority, nothing else. 

Zero distractions. Just get that work done.

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