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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

The Surefire Way to Set Long Term Goals and Reach Success

The Surefire Way to Set Long Term Goals and Reach Success

Have you ever wondered what you life is going to be like in 5 or 10 years? Will you be doing the same things you are today? Will you have the same job, the same apartment, the same car?

There are only three possibilities for your life in the future:

  1. It will be the same.
  2. It will be worse.
  3. It will be better.

There really is no other choice, so realizing this, which option will you choose?

If you choose #1 or #2, then you can stop reading now, there is no need to set any long term goals for your life. You are, in effect Alice at the fork in the road.

“One day, Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked. ‘Where do you want to go?’ was his response. ‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered. ‘Then,’ said the cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

It really doesn’t matter which path you choose. If you don’t have a destination in mind, choosing a path is not important.

But if you choose option #3, then being able to set long term goals is the best way to ensure that you’ll get to where you want to go.

The Importance of Setting Long Term Goals

Where do you want to be in five years?

Everyone has a plan for their life. We all imagine what our future will look like, what we will be doing, how we will be living and even who we will be living with.

While things rarely workout exactly as planned, it is nonetheless important to set long term goals and work toward them. Without long term goals, we are just wondering aimlessly through life.

And even if we have goals for our lives, unless we take concrete steps to realize them, we are relying on dumb luck to get us there.

The most successful people know the power of goal setting and how to break down big long term goals into a series of smaller short term goals that will keep you focused and motivated.

Reach Your Goals in 7 Simple Steps

Do you suffer from paralysis by analysis? It’s a common condition that happens when people are faced with a lot of options or a seemingly overwhelming tasks.

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When faced with too many options, they become obsessed with choosing the “right” one, and never being sure what the “right” one is, they never make a decision.

Likewise, when faced with a seemingly overwhelming task, they may never even start because they “just don’t know where to begin”.

By following these 7 easy steps, you can set and achieve almost any long term goal no matter how big or small it is.

1. Make Goals, not Wishes

Who hasn’t thought about winning the lottery or inheriting a lot of money from a rich relative? While there is nothing wrong with daydreaming about these things, they are not goals.

A goal should be something that you can work towards, not something that falls into your lap through luck.

A goal is “I want to have a business that makes one million dollars a year within five years” not ” I want to win the mega millions within five years”.

2. Be Specific

Remember when you were young and a grown up would ask “What do you want to be when you grow up?”.

No one ever said I want to work in the medical field or in government or I want to help people. NO! You said I want to be a Doctor, the President, a Policeman. These were specific goals that we had as kids, and while most of us didn’t end up Astronauts or Presidents, we still pictured ourselves in these very specific roles.

When you are setting long term goals for your life and career, it’s important to be as specific as possible. Get into detail about what you want, and think about it in very concrete terms.

So instead of saying “In five years, I want to be rich.” Think about what that really means to you and what it would look like. Having a more specific goal would be “In five years I want to own a Ferrari, live in an upscale neighborhood and be making enough money to take a two week vacation to Europe every year.”

Having specific goals makes measuring your progress easier. You know you reached you goal to have a Ferrari if you look in the garage and see one. It’s much harder to gauge if you are “rich” as rich is always a moving target.

3. Write Down Your Goals

A goal that’s not written down is just a wish. Please do not neglect this step!

As humans, we are prone to daydreaming and wishful thinking. We need to take concrete steps to realize our goals.

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So when you set long term goals, you need to write them down. This single act will take your goal out of the realm of the mind and into the physical (real) world.

Just by taking this step, your odds of achieving your goal go up tremendously.

4. Breakdown Your Long Term Goal into Smaller Goals

When setting long term goals, it’s okay to make them big, in fact, some say the bigger, the better.

The only problem is that it can seem overwhelming to say “In five years, I’ll have a business that makes one million dollars per year”.

How do you get from not having a business at all to having one that makes a million dollars per year? The answer is the same way you’d eat an elephant, one bite at a time.

Once you have decided on your long term goals, you’ll then need to break them down into bite sized chunks.

So if our goal is to have a business that makes one million dollars per year five years from now, where do we start?

First you need to do some research on a businesses you can do from home in your spare time. There are a lot of options out there that don’t necessarily take a lot of time or money to get started.

Then you’ll want to get competent in the business by taking training courses and networking with others who are already successful in the business.

Once you have a good foundation, it’s time to get started. Launching the business will be the scariest and most rewarding day of your life. But you’re still not close to making a million dollars per year, so break it down some more.

Your first year goal maybe to earn $50,000. Your second year you’ll want to earn $150,000, third year $300,000 Fourth $600,000 and in the fifth year $1,000,000. Each of those years can be broken down into smaller goals.

So your first year in order to make $50,000, you’ll need to make $4,170 per month, that’s $1,043 per week and $149 per day. You can break it down even further to say I need three sales per day to make the $149.

At first, you may have no sales, but by experimenting with various marketing strategies that you learned earlier, the sales will start coming in. Then it’s just a matter of fine tuning your marketing efforts and building on your successes.

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5. Remember Your Long Term Goals

You have set your long term goals and even written them down.

Now, don’t just put them in a drawer. We need to have a constant reminder of why we are doing this. Your long term goals should be displayed somewhere prominent (for you). You don’t need to hang them over the fireplace, but they should be placed where you can see them everyday.

Some popular places are on your bathroom mirror or taped to your computer. Really anywhere you will see them everyday.

Setting long term goals and reaching them is not an easy process. If it was, everyone would be making a million dollars per year.

Things go wrong, issues and problems arise that no one can see. It’s during these times that remembering your long term goals is important.

6. Reevaluate and Adjust

You should always be looking for ways to improve what you are doing, but it’s especially important in this new internet age.

We don’t have to look very far to see how quickly things can change. You must be willing to change coarse or be left behind. Toys ‘R’ Us closing their stores in the U.S. is an example of this.[1]

So getting back to your growing business, the marketing that got you to $600,000 per year might not be the marketing that gets you to your long term goal of one million dollars per year.

Always keep your goal in mind but always be willing to adjust course to get to it.

7. Don’t Give Up

Realize and understand that the road to success is never straight. You will inevitably come up against obstacles and barriers to your goals. This is not the time to quit.

In fact, many times coping with the obstacle or finding a way around the barrier has led to more success than anticipated. Always remember, the only sure way to fail is to quit.

Bonus Step, Practice Daily Aphorisms

I know it sounds cheesy, but having a daily aphorism is a great way to stay motivated and focused. It’s a good practice whether you own a business or just want to get ahead in your job.

Come up with five to ten concise statements that you find inspiring and write them down.

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When you wake up in the morning, choose one aphorism for that day. Put it on your bathroom mirror next to your long term goal. Repeat the aphorism and the goal several times out loud.

Carry the aphorism with you for the rest of the day. You’ll want to keep it in a place that you will run across it several times, (wallet or pocket).

Then, every time you come across it, take it out and read it. It only takes a second to do, and that reinforcement is priceless. Not sure what to write down? Here are some common aphorisms:

  • “Those at the top of the mountain didn’t fall there.”
  • “If you do what you always did, you will get what you always got.”
  • “If you want to achieve greatness, stop asking for permission.”
  • “Don’t give up. Life rewards those who work hard at it.”
  • “I will strive to make today better than yesterday”
  • “Successful entrepreneurs are givers and not takers of positive energy.”
  • “Do one thing every day that scares you.”
  • “What’s the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable.”
  • “Every time they stay out late; every time they sleep in; every time they miss a workout; every time they don’t give 100% – They make it that much easier for me to beat them”.

Obviously, these are just suggestion, you can use whatever inspires or motivates you to improve your life.

Final Thoughts

Very few of us can count on winning the lottery or inheriting a fortune for a rich relative. But luckily, most of us don’t need to.

With so many options in the world today, the only thing holding most people back from success is themselves.

Fear of failure is the number one reason most people will never become as successful as they could be. Change is a scary thing, and let’s face it, no one wants to lose, it’s not easy for people to get out of their comfort zone. Most people won’t unless they have to or they perceive that the reward is worth the risk.

By setting long term goals and then breaking them down into smaller goals that are easily achievable, you have created your own personalized road map to success.

And while that long term goal of making a million dollars a year seems insurmountable, the short term goal of making $149 is easily doable.

Now, for some people, the thought of taking any risk will always be an insurmountable obstacle, for others, having a destination clearly defined and a series of steps they can take to get there all that they need to overcome the fear and find success.

While the road to achieving your goals is never a straight line, and there will always be detours and bumps in the road. Embrace these things, they are all part of the journey and they really do make the fruits of your labor sweeter.

Remember, Alice was just wandering through the forest, you want a destination.

More Resources About Setting & Achieving Goals

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

David Carpenter

Lifelong entrepreneur and business owner helping others to realize the American Dream of business ownership

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Last Updated on October 22, 2019

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

We live in a world of massive distraction. No matter where you are today, there is always going to be distractions. Your colleagues talking about their latest date, notification messages popping up on your screens, and not just your mobile phone screens. And even if you try to find a quiet place, there will always be someone with a mobile device that is beeping and chirping.

With all these distractions, it is incredibly difficult to concentrate on anything for very long. Something will distract you and that means you will find it very difficult to focus on anything.

So how to focus and concentrate better? How to focus better and produce work that lifts us and takes us closer towards achieving our outcomes?

1. Get Used to Turning off Your Devices

Yes, I know this one is hard for most people. We believe our devices are so vital to our lives that the thought of turning them off makes us feel insecure. The reality is they are not so vital and the world is not going to end within the next thirty minutes.

So turn them off. Your battery will thank you for it. More importantly though is when you are free from your mobile distraction addiction, you will begin to concentrate more on what needs to get done.

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You do not need to do this for very long. You could set a thirty-minute time frame for being completely mobile free. Let’s say you have an important piece of work to complete by lunchtime today. Turn off your mobile device between 10 am and 11 am and see what happens.

If you have never done this before, you will feel very uncomfortable at first. Your brain will be fighting you. It will be telling you all sorts of horror stories such as a meteorite is about to hit earth, or your boss is very angry and is trying to contact you. None of these things is true, but your brain is going to fight you. Prepare yourself for the fight.

Over time, as you do this more frequently, you will soon begin to find your brain fights you less and less. When you do turn on your device after your period of focused work and discover that the world did not end, you have not lost an important customer and all you have are a few email newsletters, a confirmation of an online order you made earlier and a text message from your mum asking you to call about dinner this weekend, you will start to feel more comfortable turning things off.

2. Create a Playlist in Your Favourite Music Streaming App

Many of us listen to music using some form of music streaming service, and it is very easy to create our own playlists of songs. This means we can create playlists for specific purposes.

Many years ago, when I was just starting to drive, there was a trend selling driving compilation tapes and CDs. The songs on these tapes and CDs were uplifting driving music songs. Songs such as C W McCall’s Convoy theme and the Allman Brothers Band’s, Jessica. They were great songs to drive to and helped to keep us awake and focused while we were driving.

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Today, we can create playlists to help us to focus on our work. Choose non-vocal music that has a low tempo. Music from artists such as Ben Böhmer, Ilan Bluestone or Andrew Bayer has the perfect tempo.

Whenever you want to go into deep, focused work, listen to that playlist. What happens is your brain soon associates when you listen to the playlist you created with focused work and it’s time to concentrate on what it is you want to do.

3. Have a Place to Go to When You Need to Concentrate

If you eat, surf online and read at your desk, you will find your desk a very distracting place to do your work. One way to get your brain to understand it is focused work time is, to use the same place each time for just focused work.

This could be a quiet place in your office, or it could be a special coffee shop you use specifically for focused work. Again, what you are doing is associating an environment with focus.

Just as with having a playlist to listen to when you want to concentrate, having a physical place that accomplishes the same thing will also put you in the right frame of mind to be more focused.

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When you do find the right place to do your focused work, then only do focused work there. Never surf, never do any online shopping. Just do your work and then leave. You want to be training your brain to associate focused work with that environment and nothing else.

If you need to make a phone call, respond to an email or message, then go outside and do it. From now on, this place is your special working place and that is all you use it for.

Every morning, I do fifteens minutes of meditation. Each time, I sit down to do my meditation, I use the same music playlist and the same place. As soon as I put my earphones in and sit down in this place, my mind immediately knows it is meditation time and I become relaxed and focused almost immediately. I have trained my brain over a few months to associate a sound and a place with relaxed, thoughtful meditation. It works.

4. Get up and Move

We humans have a limited attention span. How long you can stay focused for depends on your own personal makeup. It can range from between twenty minutes to around two hours. With practice, you can stay focused for longer, but it takes time and it takes a lot of practice.

When you do find yourself being unable to concentrate any longer, get up from where you are and move. Go for a walk, move around and get some air. Do something completely different from what you were doing when you were concentrating.

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If you were writing a report in front of a screen, get away from your screens and look out the window and appreciate the view. Take a walk in the local park, or just walk around your office. You need to give your brain completely different stimuli.

Your brain is like a muscle. There is only so much it can do before it fatigues. If you are doing some focused work in Photoshop and then switch to surfing the internet, you are not giving your brain any rest. You are still using many of the same parts of your brain.

It’s like doing fifty pushups and then immediately trying to do bench presses. Although you are doing a different exercise, you are still exercising your chest. What you need to be doing to build up superior levels of concentrated focus is, in a sense, do fifty pushups and then a session of squats. Now you are exercising your chest and then your legs. Two completely different exercises.

Do the same with your brain. Do focused visual work and then do some form of movement with a different type of work. Focused visual work followed by a discussion with a colleague about another unrelated piece of work, for example.

The Bottom Line

It is not difficult to train your brain to become better at concentrating and focusing, but you do need to exercise deliberate practice. You need to develop the intention to focus and be very strict with yourself.

Set time aside in your calendar and make sure you tell your colleagues that you will be ‘off the grid’ for a couple of hours. With practice and a little time, you will soon find yourself being able to resist temptations and focus better.

More Resources About Boosting Focus and Productivity

Featured photo credit: Wenni Zhou via unsplash.com

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