Why do some people who start from nothing achieve monumental things? It begins with your mindset. Whether life hands you a box of chocolates or a box of lemons, it’s really what you make of it. To accomplish everything you want in life, these are 10 things you can do to get there.

1. Find your passion(s).

What makes you happiest? What do you absolutely love to do so much that you would do it without getting paid? Those are your passions. And those are the things to pursue with vigor.

2. Set the right kinds of goals.

SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-driven) are beneficial in certain circumstances. In Dan and Chip Heath’s book, Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, they say:

“SMART goals are better for steady-state situations than for change situations, because the assumptions underlying them are that the goals are worthwhile.”

However, SMART goals often don’t have any emotional attachment to them, and this is necessary when you’re setting big life goals. The Heath brothers call this a “destination postcard” – a clearly painted picture of where you want to be in the future.

3. Break down the steps needed to accomplish your goals.

Goals without application are useless. What actions will you take to accomplish the things you want in life? What sacrifices are you willing to make? When will you start? These are tough questions, but important ones to answer if you want to achieve big things.

4. Take chances.

Think about the accomplishments you’re most proud of. More likely than not, they occurred during times when you went out of your comfort zone and took risks. All great leaders recognize that failure is an opportunity for growth. You know what’s worse than failure? Not trying.

5. Celebrate the small wins.

Allow yourself to bask in the glory of small wins. Did you eat healthy today? Did you learn something new about starting your dream business and then go apply it? Pat yourself on the back and smile. You just took one step in the right direction. Take time at the end of every day to mentally congratulate yourself for these “small wins.”

6. Learn as much as you can.

Big achievers consciously treat every encounter they have as a learning experience. They read more, write more, and soak up knowledge wherever they can.

7. Do the things that other people aren’t willing to do.

This is the number one thing that separates successful people from those who don’t achieve success. Successful people are willing to do the little things that others don’t want to do. They skip happy hour and hit the gym instead. They stay an extra hour at work to get a head start on a new project. They take the time to go to their kids’ practices. This is the price you pay for accomplishing amazing things.

8. Be mindful about how you spend your time.

Despite what The Rolling Stones said, time is not on your side. It’s your most precious asset, so think about how you use yours. And don’t confuse productivity with business. Productivity means putting in the necessary hours of deliberate practice necessary to become an expert in your craft.

9. Do little things every day to keep your body and mind healthy.

Notice I say “little things.” Because those are the things that will add up to big changes in your life. You don’t need to go to the gym for an hour every day. But there’s no excuse not to spend 5 or 10 minutes exercising. Think about it this way: do you want to increase your odds of being around longer so you have more time to spend with your family and friends… to accomplish everything you want in life? Then start taking the small steps necessary to make healthy habits a part of your life.

10. Start now.

To accomplish the things you want in your life, you need to start. Not later. Not tomorrow. Now. I’ll leave you with these words from Mark Murphy, Founder and CEO of Leadership IQ:

“I’ll start tomorrow. Three words that are the death knell for goals. Because how many times have you said ‘tomorrow’ when what you really meant was ‘never’? I know, as the words tumble from your mouth, you believe them: ‘I’ll start a diet tomorrow.’ You feel strong, relieved, and 100 percent committed to your goal. It seems as if nothing can come between you and the promise of tomorrow. A tomorrow that really will be the first day of the rest of your life. But then tomorrow actually comes. And once again, we face the same decision: start right now or postpone starting for one more day. C’mon, it’s just one day, right? Seriously, how bad is it really going to be to postpone for one more day? The answer, of course, is postponing for one day probably isn’t the worst thing ever except that one day is never one day. One day becomes two, two days become three, and three days become years.”

Featured photo credit: FotoRita [Allstar maniac] via flickr.com

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