Mary-Jane Kingsland: Time to activate your ambitions

Hope is a complicated emotion; bursting with wishes and expectations – it offers no certainty of fulfilment.

At this time of year, hope manifests in our hearts and minds; we hope for a great Christmas and New Year and we wish others the same.

Yet, hope is a bit like an unstructured 'spray and pray marketing' campaign – or maybe it's just praying....

Research supports the fact that people who give themselves permission to activate their ambitions, are more likely to find a sense of meaning in their lives and moreover be healthier and happier.

Why wouldn't you want that for yourself?

Acknowledging ambition is the first step to success; goal setting is the instrument by which you will achieve identifiable results, but there is no substitute for action if you want quantifiable results.

It's not rocket science; Goal + Action = Result.

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If all this sounds unrealistically simplistic, then I would ask you to consider who is in charge of your life? The Psychological Performance Specialist, Gavin Drake asked me, when I attended his peak performance seminar earlier this year. In essence; does some invisible force have control over you and your ambitions – or do you?

In psychology it's referred to as the locus of control. As the environment around you changes, you can either attribute success and failure to things you have control over, or in the alternative, unseen forces outside of your influence. Which orientation you choose has a bearing on your long-term success.

Interesting in this theory is the use of the word 'choose'. The concept that you have a choice over the decisions you make in your day-to-day life is very powerful – and worth taking a moment to consider.

At any one time you have a choice about how you react and behave; you are neither an automaton or a slave. Some historic choices may be worth reviewing.

Study of locus of control, dates back to the 1960s.

Julian Rotter investigated how people's behaviours and attitudes affected the outcomes of their lives. Locus of control simply means the degree to which individuals perceive that outcomes result from their own behaviours, or in the alternative; from forces that are external to themselves.

So, back to the goal setting.

Take a mindful helicopter ride and look at what you and/or your business needs to achieve over the next twelve months and swear that you will never use the word 'try'.

Replace it with 'I will'. Forget the word 'should' as well. Given that you are in control, all decisions about whether you will or will not, rest entirely with you.

Tackle the thorny question of time management – it really is the key that unlocks the door to productivity – but you know that already? Just do it.

Don't be shy about what you want to achieve. Write you goals down in clear unequivocal language and set a date by which you will achieve them.

Break the over-arching goal into manageable chunks and – most important –congratulate yourself when you have achieved them.