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7 Inspirational Rules for Achieving Your Life Goals

7 Inspirational Rules for Achieving Your Life Goals

Whether your definition of success is a happy marriage, a healthy bank account, or worldwide fame and adulation, we’re all motivated by ambition to some degree; the enduring question is “how do we achieve success?” The truth is, there’s no simple answer, but there are plenty of tips you can use to improve your chances of being successful in life. We’ve come up with a list of seven fantastic tips for achieving your life goals, as advocated by some of the world’s highest achievers.

1. Don’t let rejection stand in your way.

Harry Potter author JK Rowling is probably the most famous writer in the world, but if she hadn’t had the courage of her convictions early on in her career, things could have been very different. The Potter series has sold over 400 million copies worldwide since the first installment was released in 1997, but the global hit was rejected twelve times before a publisher agreed to take it. Even once it was released, it wasn’t plain sailing for Rowling — one of the first journalists ever to interview Rowling was given a first-edition copy, but thought nothing of throwing it in the trash; that copy would now fetch around £50,000 at auction! To quote Rowling herself, “Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged to.”

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2. Invest in yourself.

As world-renowned businessman and philanthropist Warren Buffet once said, “the best investment you can make is in your own abilities.” By constantly working to improve yourself through the acquisition of relevant skills and information, you’ll be in a much better position to achieve what you want to achieve. Some of the world’s greatest sportsmen and women put their success down to their passion for self-improvement — and you only have to look at superstar footballer Cristiano Ronaldo for proof. Ronaldo may not be to everyone’s tastes, but he is one of the most dedicated athletes of all time, and regularly reaps the rewards of his efforts on the field.

3. Learn from your mistakes.

Along the path to success, there are bound to be a few bumps in the road — it’s important that you don’t let these setbacks slow you down. Every mistake you make is an opportunity to learn, and by recognizing and accepting your errors, you can ensure they don’t happen again, smoothing that path towards achievement. No less an authority than Einstein put it succinctly: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.”

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4. Don’t be afraid of a little hard work.

If you want evidence in favor of this little bit of advice, look no further than Bill Gates, the creator of Windows and one of the world’s wealthiest business people. The Microsoft founder has always pushed the idea that success requires hard work, and once revealed that he didn’t take a single day off during his 20s, when he was getting the company off the ground. Quite simply, the more effort you put in, the more you’ll get out of it — as NFL icon Vince Lombardi famously stated, “The price of success is hard work.” It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

5. Dare to be exceptional.

Walt Disney knows a thing or two about living out fantasies, animating some of the world’s favorite fairy tales, so when he says “if you can dream it, you can do it,” it’s probably worth sitting up and taking note. Aiming low might reduce the possibility of making mistakes, but what great businessman or woman ever aimed low — if you’re passionate about a project and truly believe in it, there’s every reason to believe you can achieve your goals. You might even find that they’re closer than you think!

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6. Be pro-active.

It’s probably no surprise that Richard Branson has a “get up and go” attitude — the man that created the Virgin conglomerate has delved into the worlds of business, music, media, and politics during his life, not to mention space travel, charity and the odd world record attempt. The billionaire entrepreneur has often cited this energetic take on life as key to his success, advising ambitious young people to “get out there and do things — don’t watch other people do things, and don’t watch television.” In the modern age, it’s all too easy to take a passive attitude towards life, but if you want to achieve big things, it’s best to have a hands-on approach.

7. Engage in your passions.

Ultimately, if you’re going to achieve great success in life, you’re going to need to care about what you’re doing — so if you’re an ambitious high-flyer who wants to go right to the very top, take a close look at the things that interest and excite you, and see if you can use that passion to achieve your goals. As the celebrated jazz singer and famed “First Lady of Song” Ella Fitzgerald once said, “Don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there’s love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.”

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

There’s no denying that goals are necessary. After all, they give life meaning and purpose. However, goals don’t simply achieve themselves—you need to write an action plan to help you reach your goals.

With an action plan, you’ll have a clear idea of how to get where you want to go, what it will take to get there, and how you’ll find the motivation to keep driving forward. Without creating a plan, things have a way of not working out as you waver and get distracted.

With that in mind, here’s how you can set goals and action plans that will help you achieve any personal goal you’ve set.

1. Determine Your “Why”

Here’s a quick experiment for you to try right now: Reflect on the goals you’ve set before. Now, think about the goals you reached and those you didn’t. Hopefully, you’ll notice a common theme here.

The goals you were successful in achieving had a purpose. Those goals you failed to accomplish did not. In other words, you knew why you put these goals in place, which motivated you to follow through.

Simon Sinek, author of Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Finding Purpose for You and Your Team, explains:

“Once you understand your WHY, you’ll be able to clearly articulate what makes you feel fulfilled and to better understand what drives your behavior when you’re at your natural best. When you can do that, you’ll have a point of reference for everything you do going forward.”

That, in turn, enables better decision-making and clearer choices.

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I’ll share with you a recent example of this in my life. Earlier this year, I decided to make my health a bigger priority, specifically losing weight. I set this goal because it gave me more energy at work, improved my sleep, and helped me be a better father—I really didn’t care for all that wheezing every time I played with my kids.

Those factors all gave me a long-term purpose, not a superficial short-term goal like wanting to look good for an event.

Before you start creating an action plan, think about why you’re setting a new goal. Doing so will guide you forward on this journey and give you a North Star to point to when things get hard (and they inevitably will).

2. Write Down Your Goal

If you really want to know how to create an action plan for goals, it’s time to get your goals out of your head and onto a piece of paper. While you can also do this electronically through an app, research has found that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goal if it’s written down[1].

This is especially true for business owners. If they don’t schedule their time, it’ll be scheduled for them.[2]

When you physically write down a goal, you’re accessing the left side of the brain, which is the literal, logical side. As a result, this communicates to your brain that this is something you seriously want to do.

3. Set a SMART Goal

A SMART goal pulls on a popular system in business management[3]. That’s because it ensures the goal you’ve set is both realistic and achievable. It can also be used as a reference to guide you through your action plan.

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Use SMART goals to create a goal action plan.

     

    By establishing a SMART goal, you can begin to brainstorm the steps, tasks, and tools you’ll need to make your actions effective.

    • Specific: You need to have specific ideas about what you want to accomplish. To get started, answer the “W” questions: who, what, where, when, and why.
    • Measurable: To make sure you’re meeting the goal, establish tangible metrics to measure your progress. Identify how you’ll collect the data.
    • Attainable: Think about the tools or skills needed to reach your goal. If you don’t possess them, figure out how you can attain them.
    • Relevant: Why does the goal matter to you? Does it align with other goals? These types of questions can help you determine the goal’s true objective — and whether it’s worth pursuing.
    • Time-bound: Whether it’s a daily, weekly, or monthly target, deadlines can motivate us to take action sooner than later.

    Learn more about setting a SMRT goal here: How to Set SMART Goal to Make Lasting Changes in Life

    4. Take One Step at a Time

    Have you ever taken a road trip? You most likely had to use a map to navigate from Point A to Point B. The same idea can be applied to an action plan.

    Like a map, your action plan needs to include step-by-step instructions on how you’ll reach your goal. In other words, these are mini goals that help you get where you need to go.

    For example, if you wanted to lose weight, you’d consider smaller factors like calories consumed and burned, minutes exercised, number of steps walked, and quality of sleep. Each plays a role in weight loss.

    This may seem like a lot of work upfront, but it makes your action plan seem less overwhelming and more manageable. Most importantly, it helps you determine the specific actions you need to take at each stage.

    5. Order Your Tasks by Priority

    With your action steps figured out, you’ll next want to review your list and place your tasks in the order that makes the most sense. This way, you’re kicking things off with the most important step to make the biggest impact, which will ultimately save time.

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    For example, if you have a sedentary job and want to lose weight, the first step should be becoming even a little more active. From there, you can add more time to your workout plan.

    The next step could be changing your diet, like having a salad before dinner to avoid overeating, or replacing soda with sparkling water.

    Learn these tips to prioritize better: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    6. Schedule Your Tasks

    Setting a deadline for your goal is a must; it prevents you from delaying the start of your action plan. The key, however, is to be realistic. It’s highly unlikely, for example, that you’ll lose 20 pounds within two weeks. It’s even less likely that you’ll keep it off.

    What’s more, you should also assign tasks a start and end date for each action step you’ve created, as well as a timeline for when you’ll complete specific tasks. Adding them to your schedule ensures that you stay focused on these tasks when they need to happen, not letting anything else distract you.

    For example, if you schedule gym time, you won’t plan anything else during that time frame.

    Beware the temptation to double-book yourself—some activities truly can be combined, like a run while talking to a friend, but some can’t. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you can both write and catch up on Netflix simultaneously.

    While you can use a paper calendar or planner, an online calendar may be a better option. You can use it to set deadlines or reminders for when each step needs to be taken, and it can be shared with other people who need to be in the know (like your running buddy or your mentor).

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    7. Stay on Track With Healthy Habits

    Without healthy habits, it’s going to be even more challenging to reach your goal. You could hit the gym five days a week, but if you’re grabbing burgers for lunch every day, you’re undoing all your hard work.

    Let’s say your goal is more career-oriented, like becoming a better public speaker. If you practice your speeches at Toastmasters meetings but avoid situations where you’ll need to be unrehearsed—like networking gatherings or community meetings—you’re not helping yourself.

    You have to think about what will help transform you into the person you want to be, not just what’s easiest or most comfortable.

    8. Check off Items as You Go

    You may think you’ve spent a lot of time creating lists. Not only do they help make your goals a reality, but lists also keep your action plan organized, create urgency, and help track your progress. Because lists provide structure, they reduce anxiety.

    There’s something else special about lists of tasks completed. When you cross off a task in your action plan, your brain releases dopamine[4]. This reward makes you feel good, and you’ll want to repeat this feeling.

    If you crossed out on your calendar the days you went to the gym, you’d want to keep experiencing the satisfaction of each bold “X.” That means more motivation to go the gym consistently.

    9. Review and Reset as Necessary

    Achieving any personal goal is a process. Although it would be great if you could reach a goal overnight, it takes time. Along the way, you may experience setbacks. Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, schedule frequent reviews—daily, weekly, or monthly—to see how you’re progressing.

    If you aren’t where you’d hoped to be, you may need to alter your action plan. Rework it so you’re able to reach the goal you’ve set.

    The Bottom Line

    When you want to learn how to set goals and action plans—whether you want to lose weight, learn a new skill, or make more money—you need to create a realistic plan to get you there. It will guide you in establishing realistic steps and time frames to achieve your goal. Best of all, it will keep you on track when you stumble, and we all do.

    More on Goal Action Plans

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

    Reference

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