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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

10 Essential Steps to Success to Actually Reach Your Dreams

10 Essential Steps to Success to Actually Reach Your Dreams

What are the steps to success? Many people will say that it depends on your definition of success. However, a definition is not what you’re after.

You know what you want, and you’re interested in hearing exactly how you can bring your dreams to fruition.

Your primary problem is time and the demands of everyday life. For every person who delays their journey to success, there are bills to pay. Your invention goes uninvented, or your book remains unwritten because you have to pay the bills right here and now.

Once you’re done working, it’s hard finding motivation to work more on your dream; you’re tired, and you just don’t feel like it.

There is no one key to success—there are multiple keys to multiple doors, and multiple steps, each one leading to the next. Use the following steps to success to get started on your own success journey. 

1. Don’t Make It a Matter of Motivation

Wait, isn’t accomplishing important goals all about personal motivation? How will you succeed if you’re not motivated in the long run?

Here’s the problem with motivation:

It’s subject to whims and feelings. If the only thing motivating you is an internal desire to achieve results, you won’t achieve results when desire is not there. Then, there will be times when your desire is strong, but you’re caught up in some other task. 

Aytekin Tank, founder of JotForm, recommends relying on “systems” instead of intrinsic motivation[1]. Intrinsic motivation is self-motivation to take action, and Tank points out that “there are probably moments when you don’t want to take action.”

Instead of merely relying on desire, set up a system and follow it, no matter how you feel. Here’s a quick synopsis of how Tank runs his system:

  • Identify two or three things you want to focus on. These things should all have something to do with your primary goal in life.
  • Establish a time each day for productive focus.
  • Say no to any activity that doesn’t fit into your focus areas.
  • Give yourself a certain amount of flexibility. If you have absolutely no motivation to sit down and start writing, read a book to help inform your writing, or spend time cataloging your surroundings.

For many of us, the hard part is saying “no” to those inevitable and attractive distractions. Tank recommends concentrating on what you love about your dream. Why are you doing this to begin with? Practice concentrating on what makes your goals great.

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2. Emulate Others

Not learning from successful people is the same as ignoring directions from locals in a city you’re visiting for the first time. It makes no sense.

Regardless of how adventurous you are and how much of a rebel you want to be, you must have mentors. Learn how they did it, start with the basics, and then find ways to differentiate yourself.

According to Ohio University, some of the most successful self-made business people share common traits including[2]:

  • Simple purposes and plans.
  • Tendency to work with and rely on people who will help achieve goals, and to dismiss those who won’t.
  • Grit and determination.
  • Tendency to prioritize and streamline important, transparent communications.
  • Tendency to save money when possible.
  • Decision-making ability that incorporates a mix of facts and people’s stories and emotions.

If you’re having trouble deciding who to emulate, the above traits are good ones to cultivate.

You can learn more on how to cultivate grit and passion in this TED Talk by Angela Lee Duckworth:

3. Network the Right Way

There’s no doubt you need other people to help you succeed. That said, there’s a right way to build your network through the steps to success.

If you approach networking the wrong way, you’ll walk away frustrated, even hurt. Never underestimate the emotional gamble you’re undertaking when building a network[3].

It sounds daunting, but effective networking is easier when you have a set of guidelines. Keep the following in mind when you begin your networking journey:

  • Be helpful: Follow the Golden Rule of networking—help others, be kind, and do favors. Then, keep in touch with those you help.
  • Be steady: Dependability, consistency, grit—show people you can be steady and cultivate an image that reflects your implacable commitment to your passion.
  • Be authentic: Don’t connect because the person will benefit you. Make connections based on your honest interest in who that person is and what they’re doing.
  • Be candid: Sugarcoating your words doesn’t work. Honesty, sincerity, and forthright communication are the hallmarks of a great communicator.
  • Be attentive: Pay careful and close attention to what others say, and don’t waste words. The more you talk about yourself, the less perspective you gain from the other person. 

Be mindful of the moments, pay attention to what people say and do, and build relationships with the people who are passionate and full of purpose.

4. Practice Right

You know you need to practice to excel at anything—your teachers, parents, and coaches drove this into you while you were growing up. But chances are they didn’t give you an accurate picture of right practice.

After all, this is a discussion on how to actually achieve your dreams. Your dream isn’t to be mediocre or proficient; your dream is to really nail something to the wall with excellence, finality, and precision.

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Practice doing it the right way, and practice it that way again and again.

In Doug Lemov’s book Practice Perfect (co-authored with Erica Woolway and Katie Yezzi), the author points out that how you practice is more important than how much you practice. He provides some valuable tips on training yourself to succeed[4]:

  • Determine the correct way and practice it repeatedly
  • Practice the most important, effective things most. The 80/20 rule says 20 percent of right practice yields 80 percent of results.
  • Through repetition, engrain the activity so deep that you barely have to think about it later.
  • Repeat until you are able to think creatively while performing rote tasks.
  • Each time you practice, set an objective first — to make it “manageable and measurable.”
  • Concentrate on what you’re already good at and keep practicing it.
  • If you do something wrong, correct it by going back and doing the right way repeatedly.

To practice to perfection, it helps a great deal to have someone providing feedback. If you don’t have a mentor or coach, consult the information readily available in libraries and online.

Try deliberate practice too, it will help you pick up something quickly: The Beginner’s Guide to Deliberate Practice

5. Treat Failure as a Part of the Process

If you expect to do nothing but succeed, you’ll be sorely disappointed. In fact, people who avoid failure are often among the most unsuccessful people.

Anything worth doing is difficult, and failure is a part of the process. Failure grants you valuable insight on what not to do as you make your way through the steps to success.

Even if you can’t figure out what you did wrong, there are probably external/environmental factors that contributed to your failure.

Now’s your chance to analyze what those factors might be. When people fail, they need to analyze the following:

  • What were the external/environmental/societal factors that tripped me up?
  • How can I respond differently next time?
  • Were there any problems I created regardless of external factors? Why did I create them?
  • Who can I go to for help this time around?

Analysis and learning aren’t necessarily easy, which is why you should be prepared to fail multiple times.

Failure will become less frequent the more you practice each part of your process with the correct method in mind.

6. Set Realistic Goals

Realistic goals and objectives are the checkpoints you can meet on your way to success. If your goal is to be a rock star or a celebrity, that’s not something you can immediately realize. 

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Without realistic goals that bring you ever closer to your dream, it won’t become reality.

One study found that people experience higher levels of depression and anxiety due to goal conflicts and ambivalence about goals[5].

In other words, you might have a dream of success, but your immediate, small goals may conflict with each other, and when that happens, your mental health suffers.

Additionally, you may be ambivalent about your current goals because they don’t align with what you truly value. Evaluate your goals and ask yourself what you truly want out of life. 

7. Figure out What’s Causing Conflicts in Your Life

You could be facing issues in certain areas of your life, which may cause your dreams and the steps to success to fade into the background.

About 18 percent of people suffer from anxiety disorders at some point in their life, but only 37 percent seek help[6]. Anxiety and other common disorders, such as depression, can affect your ability to perform at work, and can hurt your home-life. In turn, your focus fails as your disorder looms in the foreground[7].

Anxiety can hurt your steps towards success. Learn to identify it!

    Often, those who suffer from anxiety are thinking about the future too much. The path to achieving your dreams will not open until you focus on your immediate goals and objectives. Start goal setting with immediate steps to make things faster and easier—e.g. I will write 500 hundred words a day from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.—and concentrate on the action in front of you.

    Additionally, consider mindfulness meditation to help alleviate anxiety.

    8. Eliminate Distractions

    Distractions are a big part of goal conflict. Strangely enough, you find yourself scrolling your Facebook news feed when you’re at work. You decide to go drinking when there’s an important conference the next morning.

    Sadly, Facebook and drinking have nothing to do with advancing your career, but improving your work has everything to do with your dream.

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    Eliminating distractions can be as simple as loading a productivity app on your phone or tablet. Or, you may need to physically remove distractions from your workspace—whatever it takes to concentrate.

    9. Give Yourself Downtime

    You need to eliminate distractions while you’re focusing on objectives, but you also need to give yourself time to refresh as you’re going through the steps towards success.

    The best type of downtime helps rejuvenate your brain. Take walks in nature, play a game with friends, exercise, read a book—anything you enjoy doing that’s not unhealthy for you[8].

    Practice self-care to improve your steps to success.

      10. Compartmentalize Your Activities

      When you’re working on objectives or networking, that’s all you’re doing. When you’re taking time to relax, you’re not responding to work emails.

      Compartmentalization enables you to achieve maximum focus and heightens your passion.

      Final Thoughts

      The binding thread of these steps to success is focus.

      Determine simple objectives that will bring you closer to what seems like a fantastic dream. As you work on each objective, practice complete focus.

      Repetition is the key to focus. Each small step will eventually add up to something huge.

      More Tips for Achieving Success

      Featured photo credit: Ruffa Jane Reyes via unsplash.com

      Reference

      More by this author

      Dan Matthews, CPRP

      A Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner with an extensive background working with clients on community-based rehabilitation.

      15 Ways to Stop Overthinking and Worrying About Everything How to Be More Positive: 15 Habits to Take Up How To Stop Negative Thoughts from Killing Your Confidence 17 Types of Meditation (Techniques and Basics) to Practice Mindfulness How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

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      Last Updated on January 12, 2021

      Adapting to Change: Why It Matters and How to Do It

      Adapting to Change: Why It Matters and How to Do It

      The one constant thing in our lives is change.

      “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future” – John F Kennedy

      We cannot avoid it and the more we resist change the tougher our life becomes. Change as John F Kennedy quoted is a Law of Life. We are surrounded by change and it is the one thing that has the most dramatic impact on our lives. There is no avoiding change as it will find you, challenge you and force you to reconsider how to live your life.

      In this article, we will look into the importance of adapting to change and how you can adjust yourself to an ever-changing life.

      Why Do You Have to Adapt to Change?

      “Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” —Jim Rohn

      Change can come into our lives as a result of a crisis, as a result of choice or just by chance. In either situation, we are all faced with having to make a choice – do we make the change or not?

      I believe that it is better to be prepared for change because we have more control over how we react to the change we are having to face in our lives.

      When you are unprepared and resistant to change, then you have no control or choice as to how you want to live your life. You live your life as a reactionary rather than an activator of change.

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      “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” —Lao Tzu

      We cannot avoid the unexpected events (crisis) in our lives, as it is these events that challenge us and force us to step out of our comfort zone. If we ignore or hide away from the challenge of change, we deny ourselves the opportunity to learn and grow.

      “To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” —Henri Bergson

      Our resilience in life can only grow stronger when we embrace change and manage these challenges in a positive way, rather than hide away and ignore the opportunities that change can bring to our lives.

      There is no escaping the impact that change can bring into in your life. Managing change in life is key to living a life where you are not only surviving but thriving as well.

      5 Strategies for Adapting to Change

      These 5 strategies below are the key steps that will enable you to adapt and successfully manage change in your life.

      1. Changing Your Mindset – Your Power Choice

      “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”.— George Bernard Shaw

      We like to live our lives in our comfort zone. Our subconscious likes this because it is the “known”. Embracing change is stepping into the unknown and our subconscious will does not like the “unknown.” so it will resist.

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      Our fear and self-limiting beliefs will kick into action when we are faced with the disruptive consequences of change. There is no escaping the fact that change is a disruptor and it feels uncomfortable and scary. However, it is our power of choice that enables us to activate positive change in our lives.

      We cannot control the events of change in our life, but we can control how we react to the impact that these events have on our lives.

      “Life is about choices. Some we regret, some we’re proud of. Some will haunt us forever. The message: we are what we chose to be.” — Graham Brown

      The more you use your power of choice and the more you focus your mindset on positively adapting to change, the more resilient you will be to dealing with impact that change will bring to your life.

      2. Find Meaning In Life

      “Step out of your comfort zone. Comfort zones, where your unrealized dreams are buried, are the enemies of achievement. Leadership begins when you step outside your comfort zone.” ― Roy T. Bennett

      Knowing what is important in your life gives you purpose and sets the direction of how you want to live your life. With a sense of purpose and meaning in life, you have clarity and focus and both these elements are essential to you being able to successfully adapt and manage the impact of change in your life.

      Having no purpose or meaning means that you tend to drift in life within the confines of your comfort zone. Purpose and meaning in life gives you the courage to step out of your comfort zone – which is where you will find change and the opportunities it can offer to you.

      3. Let Go of Your Regrets

      The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” – Steve Maraboli

      Regrets have a huge impact on how you respond to change and they hold you back in life. Letting go of your regrets is key to you being able to move forward in life.

      It is the events of change that present opportunities in life, so if are looking back at your past you may miss the opportunities of the present and the future.

      You cannot change what you did or did not do in the past so let it go. The only control you have now is to choose to live in your present and future life.

      A great exercise to deal with regrets in life is to blow up a heap of balloons and on each balloon write a regret. Then, let the balloon go. As the balloon drifts off, out loud say goodbye to that regret.

      Very simple but an effective way of dealing with the pile of regrets that you have collected in your lives.

      4. Write a List of Scary Things to Do – Then Go Do Them

      Change is scary and it is all about stepping out of your comfort zone into the unknown. Our subconscious needs to get familiar with us stepping out of a comfort zone and doing scary things. In fact we want to train our subconscious into believing that stepping out of our comfort zone and doing scary things is a normal thing for us to do.

      Make a list of scary things that you would like to do but have been too afraid to. Put a plan in place and then go do them. Go have fun, challenge yourself and get yourself use to the feeling of being scared and stepping into the unknown.

      Public speaking is one of the most frightening things for me and for many other people to do. To overcome my fear of public speaking, I joined Toast Masters My first speech I gave was a nightmare. My knees were knocking (didn’t know that was possible – but it is!) and I broke out in a sweat and my voice was a whisper when I started my speech.

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      I got through it and though it wasn’t the greatest speech the exhilaration of actually overcoming my fear was amazing. I kept going and know enjoy public speaking so much that I jump at any opportunity to speak.

      5. Focus on Living a Balanced and Healthy Life

      “To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep the mind strong and clear.” – Buddha

      Living a balanced and healthy active life builds our resilience and ability to successfully manage the disruption that change can have on our lives.

      Stress is a normal response to dealing with changes and challenges in daily life. In the short term, stress can help you perform better under pressure, but constant stress can pose problems for your health.

      Finding positive ways to deal with the stress and pressure that we face daily is key to our survival on both a physical and emotional level.

      Some healthy lifestyle actions you can use to successfully manage change and disruption in your life are:

      There are many more things you can to do to live a health balanced life. The key is that you commit to activities that enable you to be resilient, optimitic, physically and mentally fit to successful work through the impact that change can bring to your life.

      Final Thoughts

      We all desire to live successful, happy and long lives. To achieve what we all desire we need to be proactive about how we mange the change we face in our lives.

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      Denial and resisting change will only result in you living a miserable life. This is why it is so important to learn how to be adaptable, resilient and bold in life because these 3 things are key to you successfully adapting to the constant impact that change will have on your life.

      More to Help You Adapt Change

      Featured photo credit: diana spatariu via unsplash.com

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