Let me know if this sounds familiar, It’s January 1st, the beginning of the year, you came up with all your resolutions for the New Year and you are excited and eager to accomplish all of your goals. You swear this year you will hit the gym and lose those 10 pounds you didn’t mean to put on last year. The year starts out you feel extremely motivated and you hit the gym every day and say no to that candy bar. Things seem to be on track and going well and you think if I keep this up I’ll lose that weight in no time. But before you know it, you quit the gym and eat unhealthy food again! So what happened? Where did the motivation go? Why do some people seem to always accomplish goals they set and others don’t? In this article I will provide the answers to these questions and teach you exactly how to achieve your goals!
- Write Down your Goals.
This step seems very simple but it is crucial. Most people never write out their goals, they just keep them in their head. Writing out your goals make them tangible and real and makes you feel more compelled to complete your goals. In addition, writing your goals organizes your thoughts, it’s easy to have all of these goals in your head and get overwhelm and discouraged and shut down and not do any of your goals. So write down your goals, it takes five to ten minutes and its worth it.
- Be specific and have a plan
With your goals written down, it’s is now very important to be specific and have a plan! If you goals is to make more money, it’s not sufficient to write I want to make more money, you have to say how much money, when you plan to have the money by, how you plan to gain the money, etc. Write instead, “I Will Make an additional $20,000 dollars by December 31st 20–, and I will obtain this money by working extra hours at my job and picking up a second job” Notice also that I underlined the word “will”; Do not hope for your goals demand of yourself the accomplishment of that goal. By saying I will obtain this money you are changing your goal from a mystical hope into a definite objective. As Darren Hardy said in his great book The Compound Effect “Top people have very clear goals. They know who they are and they know what they want. They write it down and they make plans for its accomplishment. Unsuccessful people carry their goals around in their head like marbles rattling around in a can, and we say a goal that is not in writing is merely a fantasy.
- Strengthen your Willpower
Motivation is fleeting, that is why willpower is important. People feel burst of motivation and then no motivation at all. Motivation is great when you have it but if it is all you depend on you will never be able to complete your goals. The good news is willpower can come through when there is no motivation left. Willpower will allow you to go to the gym after a long day, or not eat that candy bar when you are hungry. The good thing about willpower is many recent studies have show that it is like a muscle, it can be strengthened if used often. The bad news is, just like a muscle, it can get tired and need a break. There are two things you can do to make sure you have the willpower when you need it. First, do small, non taxing, acts of willpower, like not eating a candy bar when you are hungry. By engaging your will power muscle over and over again, just like when working out a real muscle, you increase its strength. Secondly, according to the book, The Power of Habit by regularly exercising your willpower you can make willpower a habit. Once it is a habit, you can say no to the candy bar without even thinking, it becomes automatic.
- Harness your “Why Power”
Willpower is a great tool to staying on track and accomplishing your goals but since it can be worn out you need to have a backup plan. That is when why power comes in. The Compound Effect goes in-depth about the usefulness of why power but in short it is the why behind all of your goals. For example, if you want to run everyday to lose 20lb because you have always had the dreams of running a marathon, then your why power is to run a marathon . Since you have always wanted to run a marathon you have a lot of emotion tied up in that dream and you channel that emotion to keep you going when you want to quit.
- Believe you can achieve your goals.
This might seem obvious but if you want to achieve your goals you are going to have to truly believe you can achieve them. A lot of people set goals, don’t make the progress they were hoping for, and give up thinking that they are not good enough. When the going gets tough you have to have faith you will get pass the hard time and be that much closer to your goals. As Napoleon Hill wrote in his ground breaking book, Think and Grow Rich “faith is the “’eternal elixir’” which gives life, power, and action to the impulse of thought!”
- Embrace failure and learn from it
People are more negatively affected from losses than they are positively affected by successes. That is one of the reasons people give up on their goals so easily. When we fails our natural instinct is to give up. Failing hurts so much we would rather quit then have to deal with failure again. This is why it’s crucial that you completely change your perception of failure. As John C Maxwell said in his book Sometimes You Win–Sometimes You Learn “The quality that distinguishes a successful person from an unsuccessful one, who is otherwise like him, is the capacity to manage disappointment and loss” To achieve your goal you have to embrace your failures and realize that failure is just a natural step in accomplishing any goal. Secondly, you have to learn from that failure. If you don’t learn why you failed you are destine to fail again. Analyze what went wrong and learn from it! Failures can be a blessing in disguise and can show you exactly where you have been messing up and give you insights into how to proceed going forward.
- Talk about your goals.
Tell everybody about your goals. This hold you more responsible to accomplish these goals and when you feel more responsible it increase your likelihood of doing the hard work to accomplish these goals.
- If possible start a friendly competition.
Being in a competition makes you strive to win, most people are naturally competitive and will work harder for their goals if they are competing. This worked wonders for me in my own life, I wanted to start walking more, to achieve this goal I decided to buy a Fitbit, I convinced all of my friends to get one as well. We started a walking competition and I ended up going from walking 70-90k steps in a work week to walking 140-150k steps in a work week. A little competition goes a long way.
- Form a “Master Mind” Group
A master mind group is a group of success-driven people, (can be as small as two people) who discuss their goals, ideas, and problems on a regular basis. The group sets a specific time to meet each week or month and each member of the group gets time to talk about their goals, ideas, and problems and gets feedback from other members of the group. Think and Grow Rich” was one of the first books to suggest this idea and it has been suggested time and time again through most success literature and content. At first I did not see the importance in forming a master mind group but after forming one it is hard to understate the benefits of such a group. It provides you with an enormous amount of insights that you wouldn’t have otherwise, it encourages you, it inspires you, it keeps you on track, it hold you responsible for slacking on your goals, it is a must. The power of a mastermind group in immense and I highly suggest forming one. If formed correctly it will keep you on track and it will get you much closer to realizing your goals.
- Apply Course Corrections.
Your goal is your destination and your plan is your course. Failure can sometimes be a sign that our plan was faulty in some way and that is why failure can be great, it forces us to make a course adjustment before we go way off course. However, sometimes there is no failure which means there is no sign of any problem. It is imperative to realize that just because there is no sign of a problem doesn’t mean we are still headed in the right direction. That is why it is crucial to weekly, biweekly, or monthly (depending on the length and type of goal) analysis your progress and make sure you are still headed in the right direction. Sometimes it’s easy to figure out signs that we are heading in the right direction (e.g. if you are trying to lose weight, you can measure if you lost weight and thus conclude if your diet is working.) Sometimes it is not so clear cut, and that is when you really need to sit down and brainstorm ways in which you can track your progress. This is another reason why the mastermind group can be helpful; the group can help you determine signs of progress and signs of failure and help you readjust course.
Follow these ten steps and you are well on your way to accomplishing any goal you set your mind too! Did I miss anything, what do you think? Meet me in the comments and we can discuss further.