Thursday, 1 August 2013

How to Achieve the Impossible


Alex Gunn

Now, this might sound like a rather extravagant claim. To be more accurate, a completely extravagant claim, but I promise that at the very least this will be useful information, and at best it will help you change your life and achieve the impossible.

Firstly let me ask you two questions. Do you believe that when you really, really make up your mind to do something you do it? Do you also believe that when you haven't really made up your mind, when your heart's not really in it, things don't work out? I would go one step further and say that most things we fail to achieve is purely because our heart is not really in it.

Think back over all the things you have managed to achieve in life and I bet that all of them were things that you really, really wanted; getting married, (getting divorced), passing exams, your driving test, having children, buying your house, getting your job. All of these things have one thing in really wanted to make them happen.

Now think of all the things you have so far failed at; quitting smoking, cutting down on drinking, losing weight, becoming a millionaire, eating less junk food, living on a private Mediterranean island in a huge white villa with a swimming pool in the shape of a dove...or whatever. I bet you this second list, as desirable as it all might be, do not occupy as much time in your "top three important things in my life" list. And this, in a nutshell, is the problem.

So how do we bump all these things in our second list up to the first list? Believe it or not, it's quite straight forward.

I really began to get interested in what has now become known as Motivational Psychology twenty-two years ago while working as a psycho-therapist in a specialist clinic for people with alcohol problems. Why did some people seem to achieve the impossible and others, often returning home to more supportive environments, did not.

To begin the process of bumping things up to our first list,(the list of things that we achieve) we have to start, what is called in motivational psychology terms "increasing importance". This has been a special interest of mine for many years, probably because I have heard so many people, rather depressingly say "you can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink"...oh yes you can.

Firstly target any one item on your second list (the "failed at so far" list) and give yourself a score out of ten of how important it really is to you. Not how important you would like it to be, but how important it really is, with ten being the most important thing in your world right now and zero being gloriously unimportant. Be honest.

Once you have got that number in your head think about why you have given yourself that number. Why is it as high as it is? What would help to increase your number by just one or two digits, or maybe more? Don't give yourself an easy time, ask your self these difficult questions and give yourself some honest answers.

The second thing to start doing is to identify what you are telling yourself about whatever it is you are thinking of and wheedle out all the self sabotaging statements. Why are you telling yourself that you can't stop smoking, or eat more healthily? There is more and more research piling up that suggests that the only thing stopping yourself achieving whatever it is you want is what you are telling yourself. It is summed up in a really useful quote coined by the psychologist Daryl Bem "we learn what we believe as we hear ourselves speak". So start speaking more positively, it will make a difference.

Now hopefully some of this information has been useful for you and I hope even life changing. Who knows, in a year from today you might be toddling out onto your verandah for a well earned swim in your own dove shaped pool.

About the Author

Alex Gunn invites you to find out how real people are making real changes in their lives at

Learn five important steps to changing your life


  1. This is so true....

  2. Thanks for this. It's right on point. As a career communicator who relies on my PR skills to make a living, a demand is being made for me to be operationally savvy. This is an area I have had no interest in venturing into but I must. Your article has helped me to see it's possible. Yes I can.

  3. I'm truly inspired. Justt that most timew, the spirit is willing but my flesh is weak. I receive Grace to persevere.

  4. This is amazing I ll read it over & over again. Thank you.

  5. Tell yourself everyday what you are going to do today to achieve your goal. Tell yourself why you want to achieve your goal. Constantly think on if what you are doing now is helping you on your way to your ultimate goal.