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 …
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.
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.
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.
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