Jeff Gitterman: Setting Goals

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As a financial advisor, I often tell my clients that the most important investment they can ever make is that of their energy and attention in their future, as I’ve seen first-hand what happens when people learn to consciously direct their thoughts toward the future they want to create.  When I give seminars, I’ll often ask people, “What are you going to do differently this year than you did last year?” and I often get a kind of blank look in response.  “I’m going to make more money.” “I’m going to see more potential clients.”  But when I ask them what they will do differently, they often ask, “What do you mean?”

There is a well known definition of insanity, which is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  And when I say doing the same thing, I mean at the most fundamental level–with regard to how we spend our attention and energy.  The human mind is like a bio-computer that is continually processing input and output, and so, whatever we put in is understandably what we’ll get out.  Put in junk and we’ll get junk.  But put in good programs, and we’ll get good results.

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A metaphor I like to use is that of my car and its built-in navigation system.  If I want to go to the city to meet a new client, I can enter the address and the system guides me–turn right, turn left, drive straight ahead for three miles.  This has certainly made driving much easier over the last several years, but I still have to program the navigation system with a destination in order to get where I want to go.   In a way, our subconscious mind is a like a navigation system.  It’s constantly giving us directions, but if we haven’t plugged in the right address with our conscious mind, then we’re going to be going in circles.

The good news is that visualizing and learning to redirect our future is not as difficult as some people might think.  The first step is to create a two-minute movie in your head of you in the future, being the person that you always wanted to be, and imagining that money is not an obstacle in any way.  The second step then requires five minutes a night, before you go to bed.  Spend a minute or two in meditation and/or doing some type of relaxation technique—anything that will best help you to focus.  Then, once you feel centered and grounded, play your movie in your head.

There’s an old saying, “act as if,” or, as we often say, “fake it till you make it.”  Your movie has to be a snapshot of a day in the life of you, playing bigger in the world: where and what you do at work, the relationships you have, the house you live in, the car you drive, etc.  What does that vision look like three to five years out in a perfect day in the life of you?  And then give it up to the Universe because in all likelihood that vision, while it may come true, will find reasons to change and grow as you make it bigger and better.  We need to give our energy a direction to move in.  It’s critical that we do that.  Otherwise, we flounder.  It’s like getting in our car without a navigation system and driving around with no idea where we’re going.

Go from morning to night and make it as sensory as possible.  Add as much detail as you can–objectively and subjectively.  Whatever it is, it should be you living your fullest expression–and filled with happiness as you do what you love to do. Then play your movie every night for thirty days, because this is how long many people believe it takes for a new habit to form in the subconscious mind.  For example, if you smoke once, it probably won’t become a habit, but if you smoke for thirty days you’re most likely hooked.

I can’t stress this point enough: if we don’t believe that our thoughts are creating the life we’re living and that we are the principal authors of our own destinies, writing our own stories every day, we’ll remain helpless audience members watching our lives go by.   The visualization process gives us something far more useful to focus on than the old counter-productive messages of our minds, and over time, you’ll be amazed how quickly our outer worlds will begin to change once we’ve learned how to rewrite our scripts.

Adapted from Beyond Success: Redefining the Meaning of Prosperity. © 2009 Jeffrey L. Gitterman – All rights reserved – Published by AMACOM Books. – A Division of the American Management Association.

jeff gitterman

Jeff Gitterman

Jeff Gitterman is an award winning financial advisor and the CEO of Gitterman & Associates Wealth Management, LLC.  He is also the co-founder of Beyond Success,, a consulting firm that brings more holistic values to the world of business and finance.  His first book, Beyond Success: Redefining the Meaning of Prosperity, was recently published by the American Management Association (AMACOM). 

Over the past several years, Jeff has been featured in Money Magazine, CNN, AM New York, Financial Advisor, London Glossy, New Jersey Business Journal and News 12 New Jersey, among others.  In 2004, he was honored by Fortune Small Business Magazine as One of Our Nation’s Best Bosses.  He also serves as chairman of the advisory board to the Autism Center of New Jersey Medical School.