Last week we wrote about the value of setting goals, about how a goal creates a gap that our minds are programmed to close , either forward or backward, depending upon how strong the picture is. This is why change can sometimes be difficult, because the new picture of where we want to be isn't as strong as the need to maintain current reality which is in our comfort zone.

In order to move forward, to reach goals that we have set for ourselves, we need to make the future picture (our vision) of what we want more inviting, more attractive, more necessary than staying in our current reality. This is easier than it sounds, because of two things innate in human beings. We have the ability to use forethought, or looking forward, and to use our imaginations. In other words, we can look ahead and dream of a future.  No other creature on earth has these two abilities.

When we set a goal and therefore create that gap we wrote about last week, energy and creativity are unleashed in our minds. Those dreams of the future cause ideas and energy to close the gap , and we are tremendously creative creatures. We can dream of just about anything, and make those dreams become reality.

There is a danger, however, in achieving our goal (or vision). As we near completion of a goal or dream, we no longer need the same energy and creativity. Drive and ideas also decline and ultimately disappear. We have closed the gap, and creativity is no longer needed. Effectively, we shut down. We're done! We compare where we wanted to be (the goal) with where we are (our current reality), and it is the same place, the same answer.

Comparing our current selves with how we used to be virtually has the same effect as reaching a goal.  The danger of becoming self-satisfied is great – and it is not a positive way to look at ourselves and our world.  It’s more productive to keep asking ourselves, “Where do we want to be?  Where do we need to grow to solve our challenges?”  We need to keep creating those gaps between where we are and where we want to be.

However, take some time to celebrate successes, no matter how small. Goal achievement is a time for a little celebration. Each of us deserves a pat on the back for a job well done. It’s fine to take some time to take some time to celebrate achievements, but understand that we are doing this by intent and not by neglect.

After the BCS National Championship college football game in which Alabama beat Notre Dame, Nick Saban (Alabama’s coach), who has led his team to national championships  in three of the last four years, said that he’d take 48 hours to enjoy the moment but then start working on 2013.  The goal?  Win another national championship!  Success in achieving a goal doesn’t mean we should stop dreaming.

We have the capability to create a positive future for ourselves and others.  Don’t allow yourself to shut down, and put your growth on hold regardless of what has happened.  Focus your creativity and energies into moving forward toward the future and your vision of success.