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How to Achieve Anything

How To Achieve Anything

Top Tips to Define and Achieve Success in Life.

When we define our goals and take decisive steps to achieve these amazing things can happen!

We don’t arrive at the end of a race in first place not knowing how we got there. Success is not an accident – it takes intent, dedication, sacrifice, persistence, resilience but above all a plan followed through to completion.

“It’s possible to wander into a mess, but not to wander out of one.” –  Dave Ramsey

What separates many successful individuals from the crowd is their willingness to make plans and see these through. Think about it like this, how can we expect to arrive at our dream destination if we don’t know where this is? Or how to get there?

Our reality is that time will continue to tick on regardless of what you or I do. If either of us are lucky enough to arrive in two or ten years from now then how we find our life at that point will be largely defined by the decisions we have made along the way, what we ate, what we worked on, what we prioritised and how we chose to treat the people around us.

The intention of this guide is to emphasise the importance of planning and show how we can effectively do this and see the plan through. Achieving our dreams is rarely easy but when we start taking action that pushes us towards our goals life becomes so much more rewarding.

I hope you find some benefit from the information within this guide. If you did you might also be interested in my guide – Top Tips to Secure the Dream Job where I provide my principles for success in your career whatever your goals may be!

The top tips below will help you to define your goals and start taking action to achieve these.

   

Understand Yourself and Define What You Want To Achieve

How do you expect to get there if you don’t know where there is? You can’t take decisive action towards your goals until you define what your goals are.

If you are new to this kind of planning and don’t know what you want to achieve start with what’s most important to you in life in broad terms. This might be yours and your family’s health, their wealth or both.

Once you understand what’s important to you keep drilling down to get more and more specific around what you want to achieve. Under health this could be to lose weight and improve your fitness levels, the next step is to go even further and define what success looks like, i.e. how much weight do you want to lose and by when?

There is a very useful model that can help you define your objectives called SMART, which stands for:

Specific – Be specific with what you want to achieve.

I.e. Save up money for a round the world trip.

Measurable – Make your goal measurable so it’s clear when you have achieved it.

I.e. Save up £10,000 for a round the world trip.

Actionable You need to define the actions you need to take to achieve your goal.

I.e. Save up £10,000 for round the world trip, by saving $1,000 a month for ten months.

Realistic The action needs to be realistic. It’s great to be ambitious with your goals but these should be achievable or you are setting up to fail which can be very disheartening. If you can’t run a mile at the moment, committing in your plan to run ten miles a day from tomorrow could be unrealistic.

I.e. Save up £10,000 for round the world trip, by saving $1,000 a month for ten months – This will leave sufficient money each month to live and gives a reasonable buffer for unexpected spending.

Timely Be time specific when you will achieve your goal and when you will achieve each step.

i.e. Save up £10,000 for round the world trip by December next year, by saving $1,000 a month for ten months – This will leave sufficient money each month to live and gives a reasonable buffer for unexpected spending. Saving of $1,000 a month to commence from January with the final $1,000 in October.

The above example gives a basic idea of how the SMART model can be used to define a goal and set measurable steps to achieve that goal.

You could get much more specific and I would recommend you try to strike a balance between being specific without getting lost in the detail – know yourself in this regard.

Passion is so important to succeed
Passion is so important to succeed

    

Be Clear On your Why

When you are setting out to achieve anything hard it’s important to know why you are doing it and have a vision for the future that drives and motivates you.

When you are getting up at 4:00AM for a run or going without to save up your dedication and resilience to achieve your goal will be tested. You need have a vision for your future that motivates you to sacrifice and push through.

It’s easy to go for a run when you want to, but when it’s cold, dark and raining you might well find you would rather not. We all know that mental conversation where we start to talk ourselves out of doing what we need to do – “it makes sense to miss today”, “one day won’t matter” and so on. Once this starts the whole plan can soon be gone.

It’s in these difficult moments where the why can sustain your commitment. This might be a vision for your future that inspires you such as having the financial resources to give your children the great education that you did not have yourself. It could be anything but if you are not energised when you think of your why you need to think again. Your why should inspire you.

Your why could be anything but it’s important to understand this upfront. If your why is meaningful enough for you it can sustain your motivation to achieve your objectives in your darkest most challenging moments.

   

Prioritise Your Goals

The odds are you probably want to achieve more than one thing in your life so you might have goals across a number of different aspects of your life. Maybe starting a small business and having your first child.

It’s okay to have multiple objectives but don’t spread yourself too thin. The reality is that time is finite, you are not a robot and not a time traveller you’re a person and you only get 24 hours in a day.

Define what’s most important for you at the moment and work on that. You can always add more goals as you knock some off as complete but don’t overwhelm yourself. You might want to quit smoking, quit drinking, run a marathon and get a promotion but it’s going to be hard to deliver all of these at the same time.

Be realistic, hit an objective then move on to the next once its complete.

    

Knowledge Is Only Part of the Equation

The saying goes that knowledge is power. It’s true that Knowledge can be very powerful but without a desire to apply it or an opportunity to do so knowledge is useless.

To emphasise my point we all know that junk food makes us overweight and a lack of exercise makes us unfit. This is fundamental knowledge in our society yet it is not changing most people choices because knowing this is only half of the equation. Without a desire to apply the knowledge we acquire we are going nowhere. You might know the way to New York but if you have no desire to set off you will never arrive.

The point here is that we may need to do some learning, research and planning to achieve our goals but anything we learn is pointless without action. Action changes lives, knowledge can only inform us before we take action so we set off in the right direction. If we never set off that knowledge was a very sad wasted opportunity.

Only real action moves us forward, we can be the most knowledgeable people in the world but if we don’t apply that knowledge we are going nowhere.

Once all the planning is done take action! A plan has no power without desire to execute it. Don’t get caught up in over preparation, this is often our way of convincing ourselves we are doing what we can – whatever the goal is you can start taking action to move yourself closer to achieving this today.

Positive Momentum is Powerful
Positive Momentum is Powerful

    

Momentum Takes Time to Build

When we start working towards our goal it will often take us time to build momentum and for us to start to see results. It’s important to keep pushing in the early days, this will pay huge dividends later on.

So many of us give up on our goals because it did not happen straight away and we couldn’t see the results of our efforts. We can study for six months for an exam but if we give up two months before the exam we will never know what may have been.

Momentum is incredibly powerful in nature and our lives. We can’t build momentum overnight but the more positive action we take in our lives the positive impact becomes exponential as the momentum kicks in.

Les Brown the motivational speaker once said he achieved his dream because be kept running towards it, even when it seemed impossible. At times it might not feel like we are getting anywhere but we can always be building positive momentum and eventually you will start to feel and see the benefit of this.

I would highly recommend Les Brown’s teachings which I have found to be both inspirational and transformational in my own life. If you are interesting in learning more about Les you can now buy a collection of his work in the form of an Audio CD. You can view this on Amazon by clicking here.

    

Consistency Is Key

Success is rarely an isolated event, we typically can’t train once and become the best athlete or invest once and become the richest person. Usually success in life is achieved through changing our habitual behaviour so that we do those things over and over again that push us towards our goals and success.

One example of this would be building wealth, where regardless of income it would be very difficult to build significant and relative wealth by saving once. Assuming you are on your own and starting from scratch the way to accumulate significant wealth would be to regularly save and invest and live prudently.

The same is true of exercise, training once will change very little but when you train every day your body quickly adjusts. Whatever your goal focus on continually moving towards it rather than looking for a quick fix. Sometimes the only way to get there is to do it properly over and over again and you really will get back what you put in. Consistency is key, take positive action habitually, this is how you change your life one step at a time.

          

Confidence Builds As You Go

Many people struggle with their self-confidence and a lack of self-belief. Self-doubt and a lack of self-worth can be incredibly destructive and inhibit progress towards personal goals. These are not however fixed traits and do change over time as we grow and learn.

One of the best ways to build self-confidence is through achievement. If you can commit to your plan and show consistency you will start to build personal pride and self-confidence. As you achieve goals your confidence will be hugely boosted as will your motivation. Seeing success is an excellent motivator to push on and will make you feel great about being you.

So even if you have to start small, just start and the positive action you take will greatly reinforce your self-belief and confidence.

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Saint Francis of Assisi

Prioritise Your Goals
Prioritise Your Goals

    

Celebrate Even Small Successes

A key element of achievement is reward, without reward we can lose motivation and direction so it’s very important we celebrate our successes, even the small ones.

Rewarding yourself for a job well done is hugely important and is our way of saying to ourselves, thank you, I value you and keep up the good work! The chances are nobody else will celebrate your successes if you don’t so remember to balance work and reward.

Think about each goal you have and how you will reward yourself if you achieve this. This value system is hugely rewarding and helps instil habitual positive action as hard-work and dedication become highly rewarding. Whatever the reward is I can guarantee you will enjoy it so much more when you feel you have truly earned it.

    

Try to Find Balance

When working towards important goals it can be tempting to put everything but this on hold. This might be focusing purely on the one task at the expense of time with your family and your health and wellbeing. Sometimes this might seem necessary but should not be the norm and is not healthy long-term.

This should be avoided as much as possible as nothing is worth your health or happiness. I try to focus on achieving my goals across three areas – health, wealth and happiness. These three areas are all hugely important and complement each other, any one on its own has value but all three together can create a hugely fulfilling and rewarding life.

A key point here is that it really is not worth making yourself ill for money. To get a truly rewarding life focus on finding balance although this is clearly much easier said than done!

    

Overwhelm Your Objective

A great way to make rapid progress is to hit each objective individually and only move on to the next when you have achieved the last objective. By focusing on one objective at a time you can be entirely focused on delivering that and can completely overwhelm the objective.

It’s very important to keep in mind the previous point and not to risk your health or happiness. The point here is rather than focusing on delivering three objectives simultaneously you can sometimes make rapid progress by hitting these one at a time instead.

By focusing on one goal you can hit it so hard that you can completely overwhelm it and then move on. This approach can be hugely effective and can prevent you feeling spread too thin or pulled in too many different directions.

This strategy also has the added benefit that you will achieve objectives more quickly which is a huge motivation to continue to push on and deliver the plan. Success is very addictive and both a huge motivator and confidence booster.

    

Keep Your Goals Visible

It’s so easy to set a goal only find that life has taken over, autopilot has kicked in and you have totally lost track of what you are working towards.

It’s important to keep your goals visible as a constant reminder of what you are trying to achieve and where you are at with this. To start with make sure your goals are written down and somewhere you can see them on a regular basis. I have my goals on a whiteboard above the desk in my home office so there is always a constant visual reminder of what I am working towards.

You can see the whiteboard I use on amazon here, I have two and have found the quality to be exceptional. Ultimately as long as you can see what you are working towards you are good to go.

Make Your Objectives Smart
Make Your Objectives Smart

     

Long-term and Short-term Goals

Once you get into setting goals and planning for these it can become highly addictive as you start to see the huge positive impact you can have in your own life by focusing your efforts.

A plan can run for years or you might plan out what you want to deliver each day. Both types of planning have their merits so I would highly recommend you have a long term plan and set daily priorities and goals. After all what you do each day will determine your long-term success.

      

Visualise Achieving Your Goals

This one is an excellent motivator. When my motivation is lagging I remind myself of how good it will feel to succeed in my objective. When you can visualise the way that it will feel, the impact on how you value yourself it becomes so much easier to put the work in, after all you are doing this for you and you owe it to yourself to do it!

This comes back to the earlier point of being clear on the Why. If your vision for why you are doing something is powerful and meaningful enough for you this can maintain your motivation on the tough days where you could otherwise give up.

     

Keep the Plan Fresh

If you follow the agreed actions within your plan the plan itself should eventually be complete as you will have achieved your goal or elements of it. It is important to regularly revisit your plan and understand what progress has been made and update the plan where appropriate.

It’s also important to maintain an element of flexibility as ironically things will come up that we just can’t plan for. We need to exercise common sense and change the plan if something isn’t working.

     

Keep Somethings Just for You

Many people will tell you to share your goal with those close to you. Whilst its fine to share, remember that only your motivation can sustain you long-term as you strive to achieve tough goals. So don’t rely on others to drive and push you forward, you need to keep that fire within you.

Multiple studies have shown that when you share a goal with other people you actually become less likely to achieve it. This seems to be because we get a premature sense of achievement from sharing our plan and thus are less motivated to actually deliver it in reality. Delay the emotional reward and share your success rather than your intention.

From my own experience I have found that we need to be careful sharing goals with others. A negative reaction or a positive reaction can both throw us off course. I recommend in the early days especially that you keep your own council and seek reassurance only from those who can help you refine your plans such as experts in a particular field relevant to your goal.

     

What you’re Passionate about Comes Easy

Doing something you feel passionately about is much easier than something you are disengaged from and disinterested in. Sometimes we all need to do things we don’t want to do but keep the end goal in mind and try to develop a passion for what you are doing.

An example could be dealing with customer complaints which you may not enjoy. If you are passionate however about developing your business you can see that the two go hand in hand and helping customers will in turn help you achieve your business objectives.

This change in mind-set is huge and a must if you are to succeed with an objective. If you hate what you’re doing the chances are you are not going to be doing it very long and are not going to be doing it very well either. So take the time to reflect and try to change your perspective. If you still feel negatively about what you’re doing you might want to reconsider what you’re working on, after all life’s too short!

Solid Foundations are Key
Solid Foundations are Key

           

Best to Build On Solid Ground

When you’re trying to achieve anything tough in life you will be challenged, it’s important that you have a solid foundation in your life that you can build out from.

An example of a solid foundation would be a happy home life, financial security, good mental wellbeing etc. Without a strong foundation it is very difficult to take on significant additional pressures in life as you have significant stress elsewhere.

Where you don’t have a strong foundation in your life it might be worth focusing on building this out before you take on other plans.

An example of building on a weak foundation could be investing significant sums of money when heavily indebted and already stretched. These high risk strategies are almost always doomed to fail not least because it’s tough to think clearly and rationally in these scenarios. In this example my advice would always be sort the debt out first then look to push on. You can’t build a castle in a swamp! The foundations are where the Castles core strength comes from.

The Financial Guru Dave Ramsey said it best when he explained that a ladder only works if you take each step in order. If you are looking for easy shortcuts and jump steps either side you are setting up for a bad fall. So focus on building a strong foundation then push on from there in a logical order.

If you are working on financial goals you might want to consider giving Dave Ramsey’s book a read, The total money makeover – View on Amazon. This book has been a huge help in my own financial learning and has helped me build the strong financial foundation we have just talked about.

     

Manage Distractions

We all get distracted and we all need distractions. The second we become robots what’s the point in doing anything!

Distractions don’t need to be completely avoided but managed to ensure we can still make progress towards our goals without losing the will to live in the process. Be accountable to you and be a good boss to yourself, this means setting achievable but stretching objectives and having downtime.

If things get too much then taking time out can be a really good thing. Don’t be afraid to have down time, not only is this okay it’s also absolutely essential to avoid burnout.

Action Changes Lives
Action Changes Lives

     

Believe In You

Finally you need to believe in yourself and take a chance even if your confidence is not very high at the start. As you progress towards your goal your confidence will grow and grow and spur you on to go further and faster.

I hope you find some benefit from the information within this guide. If you did you might also be interested in my guide – Top Tips to Secure the Dream Job where I provide my principles for success in your career whatever your goals may be!

Good luck with whatever you are looking to achieve and remember you’ve got this because you’re awesome! Wishing you good fortune and happy planning!

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