We’re closing in on the end of 2004. Have you achieved the goals you set back in January? Did you write down your goals, put them away somewhere and forget about them? If you’re not hitting the goals you set, perhaps it’s time to try a completely different approach to goal setting.

Numerous research studies have demonstrated the power of putting your goals in writing. Some people believe visualizing your goals will help make them a reality. While each of these approaches has merit, perhaps what you really need is to set some stinky goals instead.

What is a stinky goal? It’s a goal you set that involves all five senses. The challenge for most of us is that our goals tend to be strictly a mental activity. Most of us think about what we would like to achieve, but few people use all five senses as part of their goal-setting process. Some people paste up pictures of a new car or picture themselves cashing a huge commission check. In each case, because the goal only involves one or two senses, it often does not become a reality.

Our society bombards our visual and auditory senses while depriving our touch, taste and smell. To illustrate this point, have you ever walked out of a movie and felt completely drained? After working on your computer or watching TV for a long period of time, were you drawn right back in front it even though you were completely exhausted? This common experience is an important sign that you are experiencing sensory deprivation.

A constant stream of visual and auditory images on our computers, at the movies and on our big screen televisions bombards us daily. At the same time, our touch, taste and smell are experiencing sensory deprivation. The result is we compensate by buying popcorn, eating candy, and gulping down hot and cold drinks. While the food and drink stimulate our three other senses, our experience is still incomplete. Even though our seats for the Super Bowl are better at home, the television experience doesn’t begin to approach the feelings of excitement, the roar of the crowd, the aroma of the hot dogs, and a myriad of other sensations we experience when we are physically present for the event.

Thus, the first step in setting a stinky goal is to make sure it incorporates all five senses. The second step is to turn on your imagination. Many of us munch at the movies or in front of the television. In contrast, when we’re reading a good book, few of us need the popcorn and candy to keep us entertained. The reason for this is our imaginations are engaged.

To put the power of your imagination and all five of your senses to work in achieving your goals, begin by imagining a complete sensory experience. The next step is to make that experience as concrete as possible. For example, rather than just pasting a picture of the new car at your desk, go to the dealership and drive the car. Before you sit down, run your hands over the buttery leather seats. As you slide into the seat, notice how cool the wood-grained steering wheel feels in your hands. Breathe in the wonderful new car smell. Close your eyes and enjoy the sweet music pouring over you as you relax in the seat. Now see yourself driving to work stopping to pick up the perfect cup of coffee to celebrate reaching the goal you set. Have a friend take a picture of you in the car and make it the screensaver on your computer.

To see if setting stinky goals will work for you, identify two goals you would like to achieve before the end of 2004. For the first goal, write it down as you would normally. For the second goal, make it a stinky goal. Write down both the goal as well as how you will experience the goal in each of your five senses. Imagine yourself having the complete sensory experience of achieving the goal. Keep both goals posted where you can see them. Each time you look at the stinky goal, remember the full sensory experience. Next, track which goal you achieve first. Don’t be surprised if your stinky goals become a sweet reality.

(Special thanks to Marilyn Naylor and Jerry Rossi whose work was the basis of today’s column).

Bernice Ross is an owner of Realestatecoach.com and can be reached at bernice@realestatecoach.com.


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