If life were a sprint, you could run it with your conscious mind. But life is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. It’s not a matter of the first, second or even third step you take. There are thousands of steps that follow when you work toward your goals, and each one gives you the opportunity to get off course and lose your way.
Whether you stay on the right path or get distracted is a question of how you’ve programmed your subconscious mind. One of the best ways to program yourself is through repetition—reminding your subconscious of your biggest dreams every day. It’s the same reason you want to keep yourself in the company of positive people: You need to avoid the temptations that can lead you astray.
Life is not a sprint; it’s a marathon.
It’s not enough to just make a picture of your dream life. Once you have your picture, immerse yourself in it. This is the lesson adapted from the text of SUCCESS for Teens: Real Teens Talk about Using the Slight Edge, the cornerstone material of SUCCESS for Teens, a personal-development curriculum by the SUCCESS Foundation.
How do you immerse yourself in your goals? Make a declaration. A declaration is simply an affirming statement about achieving your dream. For example, I will finish college by the time I’m 21 and begin my career as a teacher. Or, I’m going to apply myself to writing and will finish a collection of poetry by my 18th birthday.
Making a plan is the place where many people are thrown off track. You might be worried that if you don’t make the right plan, the plan won’t work. And that can seem scary. How will you know whether it will work?
You don’t know. Nobody does. But knowing whether it will work doesn’t matter. The point is not to come up with a plan with an assured ending. The point is simply to come up with a plan to get you started.
The plan gives you a place to begin. You need a plan in the same way you need a dollar to start a bank account. The same way you took your first baby step. The same way you struggled to sound out the first sentence you ever read. Without that dollar, that first wobbling step or that first stumbling sentence, your dream—no matter how deeply you want it—will never become reality.
To download the SUCCESS for Teens e-book, learn about the program, share your story about it or make a contribution, visit SUCCESSFoundation.org. Leaders, participants and donors can request a profile in SUCCESS by emailing info@SuccessFoundation.org.
This article originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.