Have you ever wondered why some people achieve big things and others struggle to get through the grocery store without forgetting something on their shopping list? Whatever your dream, you can achieve it if you take the right steps and are willing to stretch yourself further than most people would.
There are some qualities that every successful person has in common, but one of the biggest is perseverance. Success people might fail 100 times, but they keep trying — and then on the 101st time things finally click. Learn from your failures, keep moving forward, and consistently follow these 7 steps to accomplish your goals.
7 Steps to Reach Your Goals
1. Define a Clear Goal
The first step in accomplishing anything is to set a specific goal. Your goal should include:
- The expected end result.
- An example of that finished goal. If your goal is to build a house, you might build a small model to see what the finished home will look like. Or you might visit a model home with the same floor plan, so you can visualize your goal.
- Be specific. Don’t set a general goal of building a house. Instead, write out that you are going to build a two-story, Cape Cod style home with brick exterior, four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a basement. The more specific you can be with your goal, the better.
- Stick to one big goal at a time. Recent studies show that multitasking is actually counterintuitive to efficiency and may even be bad for your brain. For example, don’t decide to build a house, plan a wedding, and run for mayor all at the same time.
Once you’ve defined your goal, write it down and display it in a prominent place so you can keep your focus on that end result.
2. Set Mini Goals
Once you have your end result in mind, take the time to sit down and write down some mini goals that will get you to your big goal. For example:
- What will you do first? If you were building a house, your first steps might be to find land, hire an architect to draw up some plans, and find a good general contractor.
- If you aren’t sure of the steps to take, find someone who’s been through the process before and ask them about it. For the house building example, you might talk to a local builder or to a friend who recently finished building a new house. Be sure to ask what mistakes they made along the way, so you can avoid those as well.
- Set a time frame for each task. If you don’t set dates for tasks to be completed, your project may take far longer than you’d like. Even if you don’t meet every deadline goal you set, it is still important to set them and strive for them.
Once you record your mini goals, look at the list closely. Can you delegate any of the tasks, so you have time to complete the others? For example, if you need to choose light fixtures for the bathrooms in the house you’re building, ask yourself if someone else could do it for you.
3. Develop Successful Behaviors
Take the time to discover behaviors that will lead you to success. How can you figure this out?
- Study other people who have succeeded at what you’d like to do. What steps did they take to succeed?
- Understand that how you handle failure will often determine whether you ultimately succeed. You have to be willing to suffer a little pain as you pursue your goals. If the sun goes down before you finish painting your house, you may need to use a light tower to keep working through the night. Ultimately, you must do whatever it takes to meet your goals.
- Give the goal your time. If you are building a house, expect to spend at least several hours a week talking to contractors and checking on their work.
People who are successful long-term tend to have some things in common, such as good time management skills, paying attention to detail, and being highly organized.
4. Push Past Your Comfort Zones
People who accomplish big things often do things even though they are scared or uncomfortable. To push yourself outside of your comfort zone:
- Force yourself to talk to people you normally wouldn’t talk to and even ask them for help. You might gain a mentor. For example, talk to that award winning architect you met at a networking luncheon about your dream house you’re building. He or she might have some ideas to pitch in.
- If you become stressed over deadlines, set a few of them anyway. Then push yourself to meet them.
- Find a mentor who will badger you to push harder and farther than you thought possible.
If you want to accomplish big things, you have to try new things and new ideas. Success means pushing through discomfort.
5. Be Passionate
It’s easy to be excited about a new idea, but what about when the project is boring and you aren’t as excited anymore? Here are a few tips:
- Revisit your vision. Try to seek out the excitement you felt initially. If you’re building a house and exhausted from all the little details, such as picking carpet and hiring painters, envision the model home to help reignite your passion for the project again.
- Talk to others about your project. People who haven’t heard about your goal may get excited and this may help you remember your original vision.
- You’ve probably heard the saying “fake it until you make it.” Even if you are tired of your project, force yourself to dig into it. Eventually you’ll remember why you loved your goal in the first place.
Staying passionate about a goal isn’t as easy as it sounds, but with a little work you can keep your initial vision, which will help you through the steps of accomplishing almost anything.
6. Celebrate Successes
Some people have inner voices that are very cruel. In fact, we are sometimes downright mean to ourselves and treat ourselves in a way that we’d never tolerate from another person. Remember:
- Don’t always beat yourself up for failures. Learn from them and move on.
- Celebrate when you learn something new or solve a problem. Write your success on a sticky note and place it on your bathroom mirror so you see it every time you wash your face or brush your teeth.
- Celebrate with others when something good happens. Is your house halfway finished? Did you hire a brilliant electrician? Go out for a meal with friends and toast to a job well done.
Take time to appreciate small successes, because they add up to big achievements.
7. Never Stop Learning
The most successful people in the world learned from their own failures and from the successes and failures of others. They make their strengths stronger and overcome their weaknesses. To become a lifelong learner:
- Read books in your niche.
- Take courses or network with people who know more than you do about a topic.
- Never rule out anyone as being brilliant. The janitor in your building may have a common sense solution for your squeaky chair, even though the engineer with a Ph.D. can’t figure out.
Curiosity is a trait that will serve you well.
You can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Keep striving toward your goals and before you know it, you’ll be the next big success story.