I first learned about goal setting in a little basement church one Wednesday night in December 1982. Dr. Tom Hopper was a guest speaker for my progressive church’s Wednesday night bible study. What an amazing man as he was my first teacher about the power of our imaginations.
I was a single parent of a four year old boy, working for $900 a month as an office clerk, just above minimum wage at the time. I worked on the weekends at a pub as a waitress. I went to school on Tuesday and Thursday nights. I had no family support or baby father to help with my load. What was killing me was the student loan of $4000 I had to pay. $100 every month ate away my measly earnings. When I went about setting my goals the way Dr. Hopper suggested the first thing on my list under ‘financial’ was to pay off my student loan by March. I also was ready to meet a real father for my son. I set March for that as well. What the hell, right?
It seemed ridiculous. The good doctor said to be specific in your goals, exactly how much money do you want, what kind of man do you want to meet. The more detail the better he suggested.
How on earth I could reach such huge goals in three months made no sense to me, so after I did his secret ‘treatment’ for reaching the goals I put the piece of paper with my goals on it away in a drawer and forgot about it.
In January I was horrified to learn that my landlord was moving out and he had rented the upper suite to three young men. My landowners were an East Indian family who often babysat for me when I worked on the weekends so the idea of having a bunch of men living above me now was hard to cope with. I was a very mature 23, they were 20 and 21 with sports cars and it was their first time away from home. I was driving a rust riddled green Maveric and had no extra money for skiing at Whistler or Blackcomb, the way they invited me so many times. These decent but young guys liked the Who and other non-country music, were recent college graduates and all working one job during the week and free to do whatever they wanted the rest of the time. Not my life at the time.
While I ended up enjoying cooking for the boys, and they fixed my broken down car more than once, I had no time or money for their party-time lifestyle. While I was friendly they were much younger than myself emotionally. Except Gary. Gary was different. He recently graduated from electrical engineering at BCIT and already landed a job working on main-frame computers for a large computer company. He carried a brown briefcase to work everyday, and wore a tie. He also gave all of his childhood Lego to my son who was very fond of the toys. I was a little concerned because Gary gave the Lego up in organized by colour little boxes within a big box. I knew my Trevor would have that Lego all mixed up in one big box in no time.
So they were different, but a good match as it turned out that later Gary would be my son’s father, baseball and soccer coach, and Cub and Scout leader. A good man, husband and father. Until March of that year however I had no idea I would consider one of the guys upstairs a potential husband! Something happened in March that made me look at him differently, and the rest was a 25 year marriage. Goal #1 – Check.
The other thing that happened that March is just as amazing after I set those goals and did the treatment. I had this student loan I was paying every month, and so I made a financial goal of $4000.00 to be in my hands by March to free up more income for me, and give me credit for future student loans.
What happened next in how I was able to pay off that first student loan that March was nothing short of a miracle to me. My baby’s father was free from having to pay child support because back in the day if the mother does not sue for child support within the first year of the child’s life the mother is not able to go after him later. There is one loop-hole. If the father is ever in contact with the child the time starts ticking for another year. It was just by happenchance that for some reason the father got in touch with me for once in apparent concern for his son. He took us shopping for groceries and gave me a cheque for $30.00. This was a sign of paternal responsibility in the courts of law (we didn’t have DNA back then so women had a heck of a time getting help from deadbeat fathers).
I wasn’t a student of criminology yet but I knew I had to take my evidence to a lawyer right away. There was no legal aid so I wondered how I could work this out. Again, another coinkydink that made this goal become a reality: I was friends with a social worker who knew my pathetic income and was able to maneuver me a ministry legal team who worked on behalf of the Ministry of Human Resources as social services were called at the time. I was somehow eligible for this amazing team.
Within weeks that lawyer was able to get me a financial settlement of $4000.00, payable immediately. No long drawn out court hearings, just done…just like that. And my son’s dad also signed away his rights as a father leaving the door open for Gary to be Trevor’s father in every sense. On March 13th 1983 I picked up a cheque for $4000 from my lawyer’s office. I went home that Friday night and celebrated with my upstairs neighbour boys by joining them in a game of pool at a local pub. That night, even though I knew Gary for three months already, I had an inkling that that boy might be decent marriage material! I turned out to be correct and we married in December 1984.
Student loan paid off, husband secured, and later my goals continued to grow with me. At the peak of my career I was earning $125,000 while managing a successful employment agency. I literally have about 15 years of post secondary education behind me due to my goal setting ways. This from a grade 9 drop out, unwed mother.
I have added to Doctor Tom’s Recipe for Setting Successful Goals by incorporating them into all of my hypnotherapy treatments with clients. But you don’t need a hypnotherapist to set and achieve your goals.
For self hypnosis treatments put yourself in a meditative state the way you normally do. Imagine. sense, feel, emotionalize what you want to manifest in your life. You have successfully hypnotized your mind to achievement!
Statistics say only 5% of the population actually sits down and writes goals. But stats also say that 72% of people who write goals achieve their target. Can you imagine how much further you can go if you add visualizing and emotionalizing your success? Here are some tips to make sure your goal setting has the added advantage of Dr. Tom’s that helped me all of those years ago.
- Write your goals in an order of preference under categories. i.e: Financial, Career, Relationships, Educational, and so on.
- Be specific. How much money do you need and by when? How much weight do you want to lose and what will you weigh then? What size clothes would you fit into? What character traits do you most prefer in a husband (or wife?). Get very specific for easier imagining.
- Now that you have your goals on paper, and you are specific to what and when you want what you want, it’s time to start your mental treatments for success. Find a quiet place to relax in a comfortable chair or bed. Close your eyes and gently allow all distracting thoughts to leave you. Imagine a place in your mind where you are in control of everything. You can make stuff up. In your secret place where everything is possible pretend, sense, imagine you are already a success. Your goal is achieved. What would that be like for you? What would you look like? What would you feel like? Sense it, be it, have it.
- Continue to imagine what it would look, taste, smell, and feel like to achieve your goals and watch your new life unfold before your eyes.
How it works I am not sure. I just know that whenever I take the time to improve myself by setting goals good things have a way of manifesting. I encourage anyone reading this try setting goals for 2016. It could change everything for your family, the way goal setting changed my life all of those years ago in the basement of a church.
Cherylann Thomas, B.Sc.Crim.,CH,t is a Registered Clinical Hypnotherapist working out of the Family Wellness Centre in West Kelowna, BC. She is one of the most called upon hypnotherapists for relief of depression, anxiety, and grief. After Cherylann lost her only child to a car accident in 2003, life took a serious turn for the worse. Once again, however, Cherylann has been able to build herself back up and now spends her life and career helping others achieve their goals.