Why have you been so successful in reaching some of your goals, but not others? You may think that everyone is born predisposed to certain talents and lacking in others, but in reality this is only a small piece of the puzzle. In fact, decades of research on achievement suggests that successful people reach their goals, not simply because of who they are, but more often because of what they do.
Here are Seven Things that People who achieve their goals do differently:
Instead of having a goal of “lose some weight”, try being more specific such as “lose 5 pounds” because it gives you a clear idea of what success looks like. In April, I set a goal to lose 15 pounds. This is specific. Even more specific, I set a plan to lose 1 pound per week with a deadline of 15 weeks. Knowing exactly what you want to achieve keeps you motivated until you get there. Furthermore, think about the specific actions that need to be taken to reach your goal.
Be a realistic optimist
Believing in your ability to succeed is enormously helpful for creating and sustaining your motivation. But whatever you do, don’t underestimate how difficult it can be to reach your goal. Most goals worth achieving require time, planning, effort, and persistence. If having a goal guaranteed its success, the rich would represent more than 3% of the world. Being realistic on the level of difficulty in achieving the goal as well as realising that it is achievable, significantly decreases the odds of failure.
Seize the moment to act on your goals.
Given how busy most of us are, and how many goals we are juggling at once; it’s not surprising that we routinely miss opportunities to act on a goal because we simply fail to notice them. To seize the moment, decide when and where you will take action on each step you want to take. Again, be as specific as possible. Writing down your goals will allow you to stay focused on your important goals. Read your important goals every day and allow your subconscious to find ways to achieve them.
Focus on development rather than current abilities
Believing you have the ability to reach your goals is important, but so is believing you can get the abilities that might be missing. Don’t just focus on goals where you already have the necessary competence to achieve them. Stretch yourself and focus on goals that require you to develop and acquire new skills.
Embracing the fact that you can become more will allow you to make better choices and reach your fullest potential. When you focus on the skills you need to achieve your goals, the journey in reaching your goals becomes as important as the achievement itself.
Don’t put too much on your plate
You can have several goals. In fact, I do a goal workshop where I challenge participants to write down 50 goals and then even 100 goals. However, you cannot work on all of them at once. Focus on the tasks and actions you need to accomplish on your most important goals first and work your way up. Often, one goal plays on another.
Example, let’s pretend 3 of your financial goals are the following:
- Pay off your line of credit in 12 months
- Put 10% of every paycheck in savings
- Have $10,000 in the bank account in 24 months
You will need to create certain habits in order to achieve your first goal of paying off your line of credit in 12 months. Whether it be cutting back on expenditures, or creating successful savings habits, you will need to change the habits that got you to hike up that line of credit. Once that goal is achieved, the skills you have now learned will help you to achieve goals 2 and 3 as well.
No matter how good you are, you cannot successfully focus on too many goals at once. Decide which ones are the most important to you. You can set different goals for your personal, professional and financial areas.
Focus on what you will do, not what you won’t do
Do you want to successfully lose weight, quit smoking, or put a lid on your bad temper? Then plan how you will replace bad habits with good ones, rather than focusing only on the bad habits themselves. Studies have shown that if you are trying to avoid a thought, it makes that thought even more active in your mind. The same holds true when it comes to behavior – by trying not to engage in a bad habit, our habits get strengthened rather than broken. Therefore, if you want to increase your chances of achieving your goals, train your mind to focus on the actions necessary to succeed.
Focus on what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it, first.
Have an accountability partner
For those who have joined a Weight Watchers program, I am sure that just before your next group meeting, you made sure you followed every guideline from the program as possible. Why? Because you knew that in your next meeting, you were going to be accountable for your results.
The same is true for your goals. Share your goals with someone who will challenge you if you start to deviate from your path. The key here is to find someone or a group of people who will support you, encourage you and who believes in your ability to obtain your goal. Do not share your goal with someone who will put you down for even believing it was possible. If you don’t have a current circle of people who can help you get there, try to find someone who will. Look for people who have success achieving goals and chances are they will always believe in the “possible”.
What tips do you have for goal setting?