Imagine what your perfect cricketing day would be like.
From the moment you wake to the time you close your eyes to sleep, everything goes completely to plan. What would it look like?
It's an exercise that not only feels good but has practical applications.
You are using what Tim Ferris calls 'dreamlining': the art of goal setting to reach your dreams. It's something every cricketer at any level can benefit from doing.
Research has shown that good goal setting dramatically increases your chances of achieving sporting success.
And that starts with imagining your perfect day.
Think about the house you live in, the types of decor, the food you eat, what you drink, the clothes you wear, the car you drive, how you prepare for the match, the type of game you have against what kind of opposition and what happens after play? In short, every tiny detail.
Write it all down somewhere you can refer back to it. It helps to leave room as other things pop into your head at a later date.
James Hamilton has used this method too. Ferris makes the dream include all the things you want to do no matter how unusual or one off they are. James builds on this technique by making the day as regular as possible.
If you really want to make the most of perfect day planning, it's important to do both.
A daunting task?
Most people can quickly come up with a list of hopes and dreams quite quickly but many still feel daunted by the task.
So they put it off and the dreams stay as dreams.
It's easy to understand. Goal setting is about putting your life down on paper. What if you miss something out? What if you change your mind? What if you fail in reaching those goals? What if others consider your dreams as silly or impossible? What if you can't afford it? What if something stops you?
That's a lot of worries. It's no wonder people don't bother with goal setting, but you can do it you take these principles on board:
- Failure is essential. The route to success is not a smooth path. It's a winding road with ups and downs along the way. You will fail at times. You will lose track and let yourself and others down. Allowing yourself to fail in pursuit of your goal is important because, as James Hamilton says, that this is what humans do, even successful ones.
- Action trumps inaction. Goal setting is partly about finding out what real life actions you need to take to achieve. Research into successful businessmen has shown they all are driven by taking action on their plans, even if it is the wrong action. It's more important to be doing something than nothing, to be moving forward than frozen by fear of failure.
- There is never the perfect time to start. It's natural to imagine that the perfect plan needs the perfect start. In fact, the opposite is true. It's essential to start when conditions are not right because conditions are never right. There will be times when things are easier, but you can never know when this will be. As we know, action is always preferred so just get going.
- You can change your mind. If you do start and things go wrong, you can start again any time you like. You can even drop the entire goal and change to something else if you want. It's hard to identify what you really want and you might make a mistake. Accept that will happen and start again, or start something else. You can always come back another time.
- The best things in life are cheaper than you think. It's easy to imagine something like having the latest cricket bat will make you better at batting, but practice is far more important and free. Playing for an expensive to join Premier League club might be a lot less enjoyable than a wandering side with close friends. Don't be seduced by the expense of things and set your aims on the important stuff.
- Life is not perfect. In real life, even your perfect day will include plenty of annoyances. You can't control traffic jams, other people's behaviour or stuff breaking which will always happen, sometimes at exactly the wrong moment. It's not a sign of failure; it's something everyone goes through. A goal is only worthwhile if it is worth having in spite of these things.
- Your success is your responsibility. Despite all the previous caveats, one thing still remains true: It's your responsibility to reach your goals. You will mess up, get it wrong, face negative people and suffer roadblocks but you still need to act. It's easy to fall into the trap of blaming others. As consultant Brain Tracy says, focus on what you can do now.
In the second part of this series, we will discuss how you turn your dream day into reality by taking personal responsibility like this. Click here to go straight there.