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This Is What Will Happen When You Set Ambitious And Realistic Goals

This Is What Will Happen When You Set Ambitious And Realistic Goals

What’s the secret to success?

Well, if you’re looking for a shortcut, you’re out of luck, because nothing beats hard work and dedication. But there is one strategy that just about every high achiever has in common: they have mastered the art of setting and achieving goals on a continual basis.

It’s a skill that you would do well to learn, too, because mapping your course to success can pay immediate dividends. In particular, here is what will happen when you set ambitious and realistic goals …

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1. You’ll Become More Focused.

When you establish clear goals and review them on a regular basis, they become a very real part of your day. Having a defined target allows you to just work toward that endpoint without the nagging doubts that can plague you when you aren’t sure where you are headed.

It may take some practice, but you will eventually be able to zone in on your goal when you need to. Don’t be surprised if you look up from your work one day to find several hours have passed since you last took a break.

2. You’ll Get More Done.

When you turn that kind of laser focus to tasks that you know will lead to your ultimate success, you can’t help but get more done than you would if you’re watching the clock all day long. One day will flow into the next, and your goals will start to fall at a faster and faster pace.

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Soon, what may have seemed like an unscalable summit will be in your rear view and you’ll be ready for something even more ambitious.

3. You’ll Know What to Do Next.

Maybe the most powerful immediate benefit of strong goals is that they remove doubt from your day. By starting with a target that you know is attainable, you also establish a clear path for how to get there. You also learn more about yourself and how to plan your course, so by the time you’re ready for something more lofty, you will also have a great idea of what steps will be required to get to that next level.

4. You’ll Be More Confident.

Nothing breeds confidence like knowing that you can knock down whatever targets you set for yourself. After you reach a few progressively more ambitious goals, you will feel more sure about tackling whatever obstacles lie ahead of you.

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5. You’ll Have People Asking for Advice.

People who succeed to almost any extent in any endeavor become instant role models for those trying to climb the same mountains. As you begin to achieve even modest success in meeting your goals, especially ones that are visible in your business and social circles, you can expect others to ask you how did it. You may not feel like an expert early on, but your accomplishments will make your advice valuable.

6. You’ll Wake Up with Energy.

Working toward a goal that is important to you is one of the most energizing experiences you can have. You will find that fresh ideas pop into your head all throughout the day, and you will be eager to apply those to the work you’re doing. Likewise, you will wake up ready to dig back in to your game plan for success, and that dread of workday mornings will start to fade.

7. You Won’t Want to Go to Bed.

Once you become really involved in the process of goal-setting and achievement, you might find it hard to “turn off” at the end of each day. Your enthusiasm will keep you bubbling along even as bedtime approaches, and you might discover that late night is a productive time for you. Just be careful not to lose too much sleep in the pursuit of success.

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8. You’ll Be Nicer.

If you’re uncertain about your future and feel like you’re just going through the motions of life, you’re likely to be cranky and short with those around you. Once you start achieving the goals you have set for yourself, you will be more optimistic about the future and less likely to lash out at others due to your own frustrations. There are plenty of successful people who are direct and even abrasive at times, but not many who are downright unpleasant.

9. You’ll Feel Less Stressed.

When you don’t have a clear direction, you always feel like you’re scrambling just to keep up with the avalanche of daily responsibilities that only seems to grow over time. Setting and meeting your goals will give you an anchor point for the future, with built-in checkpoints to let you know that you are indeed on track. As a result, you can work through your obstacles with more confidence that you are making progress and with less stress about the eventual outcome.

10. You’ll Set More Goals.

When it comes to success, there is never a final destination but just one long, evolving journey. Goals help you move forward and head toward the type of life that you envision having, but that vision will change and expand with each milestone that you pass. Once you achieve one goal, you’ll be hungry for more, and goal-setting will become a vital part of your life.

11. You’ll Be Successful.

Almost by definition, establishing ambitious but attainable goals will set you up for success. The first time you hit one of those targets, you will have succeeded, but more important than that, you will prove to yourself that you can succeed. If you push forward after that first blush of achievement, all of the factors on this list will begin to snowball and allow you to build momentum that can carry over to all aspects of your life.

Featured photo credit: Doha Stadium Plus via flickr.com

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Adam Hughes

IT Director

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Last Updated on March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

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More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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