What readers familiar with my story may remember, is the tipping point I reached in order to turn my back on unhealthy eating, living, and the overweight that came as a result, was a Tony Robbins book. As you can read in this post HERE, I had stumbled upon the book quite by accident, opened to a page most randomly, became captivated by a writing exercise within it, and basically changed the course of my life on the very spot.
The kicker is that I left the book on the desk in the library, not even checking it out or reading any farther than that one exercise in the middle of the book!
Now, I am not one to believe in accidents of fate. I know I was guided to the info I needed the moment I was ready for it. Once the message had been delivered and received, I guess I had no need of the actual messenger.
To tell you the truth I actually began to wonder if that entire day hadn’t been some sort of dream? I mean, if the book had been that important, how could I not remember what it was?
Recently however, as I faced a similar challenge in my life, I began wondering about the magic of that day. If I found the book and re-did the exercise, could I get as wonderful a result as I did that day back in 2001? I decided I would find the book and try! Unfortunately for me, Tony has been prolific with his writing and it was seemingly impossible for me to choose THE BOOK from the dozens he has written.
So, doing as I had on that fateful day, I went “eeny-meeny” and asked a power greater than myself to guide me to “miney-mo”.
I found it on the very first try.
(Skeptics among you are certain my subconscious remembered the title or the cover even though I didn’t think I had. That’s fine too).
And now, with the book in my possession, I understand that the entire lengthy and jam-packed tome is a life changer. No wonder this guy is famous! Wow!
The exercise that launched me on an altered course is tucked right in the middle of all this amazing content. Although it is not exactly as I had remembered it, it’s still powerful and profound. I have been sharing it with my clients, but today wanted to share it with all of you as a New Year’s present.
This is not an exercise to be read passively. You must take out pen and paper and write, write, write! What better way to begin a new year than with some soul searching? So get your writing tools and I will wait here until you get back…
You’re back? OK, the actual exercise is an entire chapter of the book, so here I am going to paraphrase a bit. Basically, the set up is to spend some time imagining what you would do in life if you knew you couldn’t fail. Then, after you have fantasized a bit, with that wide open, happy, frame of mind, answer the following questions. Write freely without thought to grammar or spelling. Do not edit yourself with “oh, I could never do THAT!” or anything resembling limits or “realistic thinking”. You will get to that later, I promise.
(Whatever I put in quotes is directly from the book. Unquoted sections are me paraphrasing).
1. “Start by making an inventory of your dreams, the things you want to have, do, be and share. Create the people, feelings, and places you want to be a part of your life,” how you want to look, feel, dress, the things and people you have in your life, your surroundings, smell it, see it , feel it all … “write for a minimum of 10 minutes.”
2. “Go over the list you made, estimating for each goal, when you expect to reach those outcomes: six months, one year, two years, five years, ten years, twenty years.”
3. “Now, pick out the four most important goals for you this year.” For each one “write down why you absolutely will achieve them… and WHY it is important that you do.” (emily: I would actually use the word “necessary”, rather than “important” as it has much more power attached to it).
4. Review your 4 goals: “Are they stated in the positive?” Can you see the achievement of the goal in your mind? Can you feel what it feels like, what you see, hear and smell when you achieve this goal? Are they goals that are attainable by you and not dependent on the actions of someone else? “If they violate any of these conditions, change them to fit.”
5. “Make a list of the important resources you already have at your disposal to help you achieve each goal: character traits, friends, financial resources, education, time, energy, etc.”
6. Recall and write down three to fives times in your life when you used those same traits successfully to accomplish some other goal. “Describe what you did that made you succeed, what qualities or resources you made effective use of, and what about the situation made you feel successful.”
7. “Describe the kind of person you would have to be to attain your goals..” ie: a great disciplinarian, free thinker, time manager, brave, bold person with magnetism and great impact, etc etc.?
8. (emily: HEADS UP: This is THE question on which my entire world reversed it’s spin!) “In a few paragraphs, write down what prevents you from having the things you desire right now. Dissect your personality and see what’s holding you back from achieving what you want.” (emily: I could have sworn Tony asked the next part, but it’s not here, so I will ask the thing that landed this whole exercise for me: Is it worth it? Is what you are doing now that is keeping you from achieving your goal, worth living without this thing you want so badly? Yeah, I didn’t think so either.)
9. “Take the time now to take each of your four key goals and create your first draft of a step-by-step plan on how to achieve it. Remember to start with the goal and ask what would I have to do first to accomplish this or what prevents me from having this now and what can I do to change this. Make sure your plans include something you could do TODAY.”
Those are the main steps of Tony’s “Ultimate Success Formula”. He goes on with a few more advanced steps:
10. Come up with models – people who have already achieved what you want to achieve and copy what they do, how they think and what they say.
11. Set up your ideal day, hour by hour, as the person who accomplishes these goals of yours.
12. Brainstorm your ideal environment – home and office.
13. Write a gratitude list expressing how grateful you are for all that you already have in your life.
So, that’ll keep you busy for awhile. I really hope you do the exercise and that it brings the kind of magic to your life that it has to mine. As always, know that I am here as a coach to help you through those questions if you are stuck. Turning your goals into your reality is what I do for a living, woohoo!
Again, you can read how I answered the questions originally 12 years ago HERE. As for how I answered them this time around? Too tender to share quite yet, but it goes something like this:
The above questions have been excerpted from Unlimited Power by Anthony Robbins, pages 202-215.