The Only Thing You're Probably Not Doing To Achieve Your Dreams

If you listen carefully to what successful people say about accomplishing goals, you’ll find a consistent common thread: They envision their goals in detail. If you’re like me, you’ve heard this many times in interviews or read it in biographies, and completely ignored it.

I ignored it because I am “not a visual person.” I didn’t think I was very good at visualizing. But visualization is a learnable skill. You get better with practice.

I can’t believe what a difference this simple practice has made. It sometimes seems like magic. I try to stay skeptical and explain things using verifiable evidence. I know how easy it is to come to false conclusions, so I’ve explained the stunning results to myself by noting that when I envision my goals clearly, it focuses my mind and increases my motivation, which it does.

It also produces a reverse engineering effect; when I envision my goals clearly, I automatically start thinking about “how it happened.” And that gets me to thinking about what I’m doing now.

For example, one of my goals is a million subscribers for my blog. As I imagined looking at the statistics for my subscribers and seeing a million subscribers, I thought about some possible ways this could happen. I wasn’t trying to think this way; it just happened naturally while visualizing the goal.

One of the things I thought of is the possibility that someone famous, like Oprah, would mention it on their show, causing a huge number of new visitors, many of whom really liked the blog and subscribed to it. And they shared the articles with their friends, causing even more people to subscribe, etc.

But then it occurred to me if Oprah was going to mention it and all these new people were going to look at the blog, it better be really good. I realized it would be embarrassing if all these people showed up on a day when the front page article was only so-so. Up to that time I was kind of casual about what I posted because I only had 400 subscribers.

So you see what happened? By simply envisioning the goal, I automatically started thinking backwards — back in time to the present — and it altered what I was doing in the present in such a way that the goal was more likely to happen. This kind of thinking comes about without trying. All I do is visualize my goal. The reverse engineering happens all by itself.

Another practical result of clearly visualizing a goal is the production of great ideas. Somehow the process of visualizing your goal stimulates your creativity. Surprising new ideas will start popping into your head spontaneously.

Because you have such a clear picture of your future, you will see your present differently. When you regularly envision your goals, you will find that you constructively reframe “negative events.” You start seeing setbacks more as useful information and less as a cause for demoralization.

These are some of the explainable results of envisioning goals. Something else happens too. It seems almost supernatural. Maybe at least part of it is the involvement of your reticular activator. But however we explain it, envisioning goals produces a whole host of positive effects.

How to Envision Your Goals

Visualizing a goal is a pretty straightforward task. But here are a few tips to make it more effective:

1. Relax first. Use the Silva Method or self-hypnosis or any method you already know how to use, as long as it makes you deeply relaxed without putting you to sleep. It’s important to be relaxed. When you try to visualize your goal without relaxing first, negative or anxious thoughts are more likely to worm their way into your visualizations.

2. See your goal in detail. The first thing to envision is the moment you realize you have achieved your goal. If you have a goal of publishing your book, you’ll know it’s published when you’re holding the printed copy of your book in your hands. It will be sent to you by mail. So envision getting the package in the mail, and with trembling fingers opening it with your spouse, pulling out the book, and holding it in your hands. Envision it in every sensory detail. Where are you? What do you feel? What does the book smell like? What time of day is it? What expression do you see on your spouse’s face? What thoughts are running through your mind?

Every time you relax and envision your goal, try to see new details you haven’t imagined before. Make it as real and vivid as possible.

And allow yourself to imagine past that point. What will you do next? What will happen afterwards? Imagine the consequences of your achievement a week later, a month later, a year later.

3. Sit up. Don’t lie down. When you lie down, your images tend to drift more randomly and you’re more likely to fall asleep. Sitting up gives you better control of your images.

4. Do it several times a week. Spend some time on it. Ten to twenty minutes at a time is good.

5. Don’t force positivity. If something negative appears in your visualizations and keeps popping up, consider it a message from your unconscious mind or the mute right hemisphere of your brain, or your inner wisdom. Consider it a message, and seek to discover the lesson. What is it telling you that will help you achieve the goal? And then visualize yourself resolving that problem and successfully accomplishing your purpose.

6. Remember a success. It helps to first remember a goal you’ve successfully achieved in the past. And then, in the same sitting, imagine your new goal. Remembering past successes emotionally enhances your visualizations of the future, and strengthens your confidence in your ability to achieve your goals.

You have big goals. You work hard. If your goal has seemed frustratingly elusive up until now, you might have been missing this one vital ingredient: Clearly envisioning your goal.

If you have clearly envisioned your goal but it still seems elusive, a belief about yourself may be preventing you from realizing your goal. Read this to learn more about the barriers to goal achievement. And use this to change your limiting beliefs.

Adam Khan is the author of Cultivating Fire: How to Keep Your Motivation White Hot, Principles For Personal Growth, and Slotralogy: How to Change Your Habits of Thought.

Imagine a Single Celebration That Includes Everybody

In the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice marks the longest day of the year and on that day until the winter solstice, the days get progressively shorter. The winter solstice is the moment when the days begin to get longer again. Just the reverse is true in the southern hemisphere, but the two solstices themselves occur at exactly the same moment for everyone on earth.

The origin of the word "solstice" is the Latin solstitium from "sol" meaning sun and "-stitium" meaning a stoppage. Observing the sun over time, you can see the sun rising further and further to the south until the winter solstice, when it slows and stops and then reverses.

The winter solstice in the northern hemisphere is close to the same time as Christmas, and many of our Christmas traditions originated from the days before Christianity, when the solstice was celebrated. Traditions for celebrating the end of shorter days and the beginning of longer days (winter solstice) have been practiced around the world for many thousands of years.

At Stonehenge on the British Isles, for example, the huge stones are arranged in such a way that they frame the setting sun on the day of winter solstice. The ancient Brits had a tradition of tying apples to the branches of oak trees in the dead of winter to affirm that summer would come again. The Celts put mistletoe on their altars. The ancient Romans celebrated the winter solstice by giving gifts. And they feasted for a week. Servants traded places with their masters — the masters serving their servants during the feast. They also had a tradition during winter solstice of bringing evergreens indoors.

In Scandinavian countries, the sun disappears in the dead of winter. In the far north, it disappears for as long as 35 days. The ancient people of the far north had a tradition of feasting when the dark days were over and the sun once again shone on the horizon. They celebrated with what they called a Yuletide festival. They feasted in a long hall while a Yule log burned in the fireplace. They thought of mistletoe as sacred. Kissing under mistletoe was a fertility ritual. Holly berries were considered to be the food of the gods.

The solstice celebrations were officially replaced with Christian ceremonies during Roman times as a way of overtaking the ancient traditions, even though Jesus probably wasn't born in December. December 25th used to be the solstice with the old calendar. It usually happens on December 21st with the modern calendar.

But the Christian usurping of the celebration was a long time ago. It's water under the bridge and really at this point, who cares? We could start fresh and celebrate the solstice instead of (or in addition to) our other celebrations. We could celebrate the turning of the season. We could celebrate longer and warmer days ahead.

We could keep our celebrations, but change the date, and that way more people could celebrate together. In other words, if you normally drink eggnog and trim a tree and open presents for Christmas, you could do exactly the same things, except do them on the Solstice. Or people with different customs could celebrate their customs and traditions (for Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.) on their designated days, but also celebrate the solstice with everyone.

The solstice has nothing to do with religion, race, or nationality. Every one of us relies on the sun for our warmth, our sunlight, and our food. We rely on the sun for life. The time and date of the solstice can be accurately determined and it occurs at the same moment everywhere on earth.

The solstice might some day become an international holiday. This could be the beginning of something wonderful — a point of unification, an aligning event, a universal tradition.

You can begin this year by celebrating the solstice in even a small way. Take any of the traditions normally associated with the holiday season and do some part of it on the solstice. Give a gift. Eat a feast. Be kinder to your fellow human beings. Invite people of all faiths to your home to celebrate the end of the longest night and the beginning of longer days. The celebration of the solstice in your own home could actually and concretely work for peace on earth and goodwill toward all women and men.

I wish you a Merry Solstice.

P.S. A solstice celebration can connect us to our larger place. We are suspended in space, moving through a vast universe, embedded in a great mystery.

Celebration of the solstice can let you take a moment to let it sink in that we are on the surface of a planet. The dramas we have here can be seen in a broader perspective. The planet is spinning on its axis, and spinning around the sun. The solstice can remind us all that this is happening right now. And our solar system is spinning around the center of the Milky Way galaxy, which is a giant black hole. The galaxy itself is moving through space, and is one of two trillion other galaxies. 

And whether this universe was brought forth by a creator or suddenly burst into existence with the big bang, it's undeniably amazing that anything even exists. The solstice is a great time to stop for a moment and feel the miracle of it all.

Adam Khan is the author of Self-Reliance, Translated, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English)Subscribe to his blog here. You can email him here.

If Alzheimer's Could Be Reversed, You Would Have Heard About It, Right?

When I tell people about reversing Alzheimer's, the first reaction people have is something like, "If this was legit, it would be front page news. Everybody would know about it." This specter that everyone fears, this nightmare that millions of people are going through right now, none of this has to happen? Somebody has discovered a way out? This is monumental news! This is shout-from-the-rooftops, create-a-national-holiday kind of news. If it was true, we all would have heard about it for sure! Right?

But Alzheimer's has been reversed by Dale Bredesen, MD, in hundreds of people for over twelve years now. Almost everyone who has tried it has been able to reverse their cognitive decline, and yet hardly anybody has heard about it. How can that be?

If you need a little background on this before you go on, read this: The Ruthless Progression of Alzheimer's Can Be Reversed. You'll find out how it is being done.

But this kind of public reaction is really nothing new. The same thing happened a few decades ago with heart disease. Doctors were quite certain that heart disease was progressive. If you had a heart attack, you would definitely have another one and it was probably what would kill you, and with enough effort and money you might be able to do something to slow down the progression, but it couldn't be reversed. That was a long-established "fact."

And then Dean Ornish proved it could be reversed. Was it front page news? Did doctors suddenly change the way they spoke to their patients with heart disease? No, they didn't. It took years — decades before the status quo changed. And in the meantime, many in the medical establishment were hostile and dismissive of Ornish's work. Sure. Right. You can unclog arteries with a vegetarian diet, yoga and communication skills. Ridiculous. And all the while, Ornish's clinic was doing it every day.

This doesn't prove Bredesen has actually found a way to reverse Alzheimer's, of course, but it does explain why if you went to a doctor right now and were diagnosed with Alzheimer's, the doctor would probably tell you Alzheimer's is fatal and incurable, and it's a progressive disease, but with enough money and effort, its progression might be slowed, but it certainly can't be reversed.

There's a quote by Machiavelli that seems fitting here. He wrote, "It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success nor more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who would gain by the new one." 

But you don't have to wait for the medical establishment to get up to speed. You can look into it right now and start reversing your cognitive decline yourself. Follow the link above to find books, interviews, a TED talk, and Bredesen's website to get started.

Adam Khan is the author of Antivirus For Your Mind: How to Strengthen Your Persistence and Determination and Feel Good More Often and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English)Subscribe to his blog here. You can email him here.

The Bredesen Seven

Dale Bredesen has developed a way to reverse Alzheimer's disease. You can read more about it here. The Bredesen protocol employs seven general pathways to recovery:

1. Nutrition: If your brain doesn't have enough nutrition, it downsizes. It tries to protect whatever memories it thinks it needs, and lets the rest go, letting synapses disintegrate. A healthy diet is vital for brain recovery. Enough protein, plus lots of colorful, organic vegetables. Low sugar, low starch, lots of good quality fats like nuts and olive oil.

Most people have come to rely on carbohydrates for fuel. But that ultimately causes, at least for many of us, insulin insensitivity. The cells of your body and brain become oversaturated with sugar, and start to resist insulin's command that they take in more sugar. But that means whenever you go without carbohydrates and you become hungry, your brain cells can literally starve.

Bredesen recommends you become flex fuel. That is, helping your brain become capable of burning fat or sugar interchangeably. In order to make that happen, you need to fast regularly. It stimulates your cells to develop the capacity to efficiently burn whatever fuel is available at the moment. Then your brain cells will always have enough fuel.

2. Exercise: This does your brain a lot of good. Not only do you get blood flow through your brain (more oxygen and nutrients), but it improves your body's ability to fuel itself. It helps you sleep and reduces stress. Start going for a walk nearly every day. Walk for at least thirty minutes, ideally forty-five minutes. Move your body more throughout the day. Avoid long periods of sitting. Build your muscles with some strength training or physically strenuous work. Probably the best exercise for your brain is dancing.

3. Sleep: Getting good sleep every night is extremely important for reversing Alzheimer's. The brain does its cleaning and repair while you sleep. It recovers from stresses while you sleep. It reduces inflammation. You need enough sleep (7-8 hours a night), and it needs to be good quality sleep. If you don't sleep well, there are ways to fix that. You can get tested for sleep apnea, you can make your bedroom darker and quieter, you can avoid looking at a screen close to bedtime, etc.

4. Stress reduction: Stress is normal, and it's even healthy, but not if it's chronic. If you feel stressed often, it is bad for your brain. You need to take it seriously, and do what you can to have less stress in your life. It's important. The number of ways you can reduce stress are enormous. Pick one (meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, reframing, using to-do lists to organize yourself better, forest bathing, avoiding overscheduling yourself, getting good sleep, exercising more, etc.) and start doing it regularly. Find a way that works for you to feel calmer and more relaxed more often.

5. Brain training: Anything that challenges you mentally helps you form new connections in your brain, and even more brain cells. You want your brain to be in a state of growing, not declining. Not shrinking. Expanding. 

There are websites and apps specifically designed to challenge your mental abilities. And normal life presents many opportunities to push yourself a little bit. If you've been putting off getting a new phone because you don't want to have to deal with the learning curve, change your attitude about it, and think of it as a way to grow new connections in your brain. Push yourself. Not to the point where it becomes stressful, but definitely to the point where it becomes challenging. Somewhat difficult, but not overwhelming. Stretch yourself gently.

Also, more socializing and more determined, purposeful activity, taking classes, helping others — these all challenge and stimulate your brain to grow. 

6. Detoxification: There are many possible toxins that could be causing your brain to try to protect itself. Alzheimer's is a protective response to an assault or a deficiency. And one of those assaults is toxins. If you have black mold in your house, for example, it can be more of an ongoing assault than your brain can handle, and could be contributing to the progression of Alzheimer's. Removing that source of toxins, then, becomes an important key to reversing your cognitive decline.

We are all exposed to lots of toxins. Air pollution, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides in our food, mercury in our fillings, chemicals in cleaning products and in cosmetics, etc. Your body is capable of handling a certain amount of toxins, but if you're getting too much too often, the system is overwhelmed and creates an emergency response, part of which manifests as Alzheimer's. Remove the source of the toxins so you're no longer regularly exposed, and then help your body remove the toxins from your system with exercise, regular saunas, detoxifying herbs, and fasting.

7. Targeted supplements: Nutritional deficiencies can contribute to the progression of Alzheimer's. Blood tests can reveal whether you are low on vitamin D, vitamin B1, vitamin B12, iron, zinc, etc. You can change your diet to make sure you get enough, or you can take supplements.

To find out more, read The Ruthless Progression of Alzheimer's Can Be Reversed.

Adam Khan is the author of Antivirus For Your Mind: How to Strengthen Your Persistence and Determination and Feel Good More Often and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English)Subscribe to his blog here. You can email him here.