Close your eyes and visualise who you want to be, because the first step for getting what you want is to know what you want. Without knowing which direction you want to travel in, no wind is favourable; you must first chart your course, before you can set your sail. You must know where you’re going to recognise, harness and optimise all of the resources at your disposal. The alternative is to drift, aimlessly.

As you visualise the person you want to become, be it healthier, wealthier, stronger or renowned, you are igniting a structural tension mechanism in your mind – don’t worry, this is a good thing. Returning briefly to the nautical theme; imagine your conscious mind as the captain of a ship (you). The captain makes the decisions, knows what they want, gives the orders and makes things happen. Now imagine the sub-conscious mind as the subservient crew, fully prepared to obey the captain’s orders unquestioningly; what the captain wants, the captain gets.

Your sub-conscious mind works 24/7 to manifest into reality the thoughts, dreams, desires and feelings your conscious mind gives attention to. This is why it’s so important to be positive in your thoughts, self-talk, attitudes and responses to stimuli. If you allow your conscious mind to engage in negative self-talk (i.e.: I can’t cook, I’m hopeless at parallel parking, I hate maths), then your subservient sub-conscious will work tirelessly to confirm this to be true, so here is your opportunity.

Now you are acquainted with the basic principles of structural tension, and you understand how it works, you can employ positive affirmations (alongside hard work and practice) to make your world better, i.e.: “Every day, in every way, my cooking/parallel parking/ability in maths is improving and getting stronger”. It is essential to turn every negative into a positive, because any negative input will only result in a negative output and this, if left unchecked, can be a slippery slope.

Mind is the Master power that moulds and makes

And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes

The tool of Thought, and shaping what he wills

Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills

He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass

Environment is but his looking-glass

~ James Allen

By visualising specifically who you want to become, the next step is to think positively, as though these improvements are already under way, or have already even taken effect in your world. For example, you want to achieve a first-class honours degree, before training to become a teacher. You visualise the specifics of working towards and then achieving your degree. You visualise your graduation ceremony and shortlist the schools you want to teach in – maybe even being photographed outside of them, strengthening your intent. You then visualise your classroom, students, lesson plans etc – before even sitting your final exams. You begin to think of yourself as a teacher, because this is where structural tension will now step in and help drive your dream forward.

Structural tension is created when your sub-conscious mind identifies there is a discrepancy between your current reality and what your conscious mind is telling it to already be true. In this example, you have yet to achieve your first-class honours degree, much less attend teacher training, or possess keys to a classroom: structural tension. Your sub-conscious – obedient servant that it is – will now work 24/7 to help you turn the details of your visualisations and affirmations, into a hard reality. This is the power of positive thinking: if you can see it in your mind’s eye, you can achieve it. Set your mind, as you would set a sail, to capture and harness a powerful natural force. The wind will power a sail boat forward, as structural tension will power you. No wind, no structural tension via positive visualisation and affirmation, equals drift.

So now we have your (example) goal: a first-class honours degree >> teacher training >> teacher; that’s great. You’re strongly advised to write these goals down, create a vision board, repeat and recite your visualisations and affirmations, and work hard to manifest them into reality. However, a goal is a dream with a deadline, so when is this all going to happen? You now need to define not just what your goal is, but also the vital and imperative parameter of “by when?”

Once again, being super specific will help your focus, so let’s have a date and time to upholster your visualisations and ambition of graduating, i.e.: 12 noon on Friday 18 December 2015. This way, the achievement of your goal can be measured by anyone, which makes you so much more accountable. You will either have graduated by 12 noon on Friday 18 December 2015, or not. Likewise, if you want to i.e.: train to run a four minute mile, tell someone else the date, time and venue of your attempt; you will either run a mile within four minutes, or not – but it can be measured by anyone, not just you. Soft options don’t serve you well, and can even cheat you out of all that’s substantial. As every goal is achieved, and every replacement goal is defined and unleashed, so the measurable goal setting process goes on. If you only give yourself vague goals, you will only achieve vague results: the more specific and intricate the details you attach to the goal, the stronger your results are likely to be.


Are your goals actually achievable? Well of course they are, if you’re willing to do whatever is necessary to achieve them. To improve is to change. To perfect is to change often; it’s your decision. You’ve got what it takes, but it’ll take everything you’ve got – are you okay with that? Are you willing to step out, and stay out, of your comfort zone for prolonged periods of time to get this done? Are you prepared to do the things today that others will not do, to have the things tomorrow that others will not have? It can often be a huge sacrifice, but it can be the difference between a goal being achieved, or not.

Finally, are your goals realistic and timely? For instance, if your goal was to orbit the moon by Friday 18 December 2015 – from scratch – this is neither realistic or timely, but to study and sit your finals, and then graduate by Friday 18 December is both. Ask yourself: “how much, how far, by when?” and write down the answers to help keep you focused.

If you don’t remain focused, life becomes blurred

Using SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) on a daily basis will keep you solidly on track, towards achieving your aims and ambitions. You will be charting your course, adjusting your sails, harnessing your natural powers and making headway – moving forwards towards your desired destination, rather than drifting aimlessly in an ocean of vague. You can be anyone you want to be, so why not apply yourself with these tools, and a huge dollop of mindfulness, and really be someone?

If you would like some assistance from an accountability partner and mentor whilst ploughing your way towards a goal or six, then please contact me on 01536 352385,, or via the Let’s Talk page on this website.


It’s time to define your life. It’s over to you…