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22 Hardest But Most Important Things You Must Do To Achieve Success

22 Hardest But Most Important Things You Must Do To Achieve Success

How many successful people do you personally know in the world? Most people can’t list more than a handful. Why is achieving success so hard and what is it that sets the successful apart from the less successful?

If you study the biographies of successful people, you will find that it is not where they came from or started out that influenced their success, but rather their habits and ways of thinking. Success has a lot to do with doing what you probably don’t want to do now, so that later on you can do what you really do want to.

If you only do the easy things in life, life will be hard, but if you do the hard things in life, life will be easy. Here are 22 of the hardest, but most important things you must do to achieve success and reach all your goals.

1. Taking big risks

“Progress always involves risks. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.” – Frederick Wilcox

Taking risks is scary for almost everybody, but you don’t reach success by playing it safe. You have to go after what you want; it isn’t going to miraculously appear on a silver plate in front of you. The bigger the risk, often the bigger the success!

2. Trusting your gut and following your intuition

“I rely far more on gut instinct than researching huge amounts of statistics.” – Sir Richard Branson

Don’t always overthink everything and try to be as logical as possible, sometimes your intuition is far more accurate in making the best decision for you, according to most successful people. It isn’t easy to do when all logic is telling you otherwise, but learning to trust your gut feeling more could be the best thing you do; it somehow already knows what you already want.

3. Fighting your fears 

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” – Bill Cosby

If you want to succeed, you have to learn how to overcome your fears and deal with them so they don’t undermine your success. If you don’t master your fears, they will certainly master you and rob you of success.

4. Setting and sticking to goals

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

Most people don’t set and stick to goals because it takes discipline and that extra effort. Did you know that the majority of the most successful people in this world regularly set goals? Goals are your roadmap to success. Don’t overlook this important success habit.

5. Taking responsibility for your results

“Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.” – Les Brown

You cannot be a victim and blame others for the results you have in your life. You create the results you want, you can’t expect somebody else to achieve your goals and get you what you want. If you want success, you have to take responsibility for you achieving it or not, you can’t blame others.

6. Waking up early

“Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it.” – Richard Whately

This is on top of most people’s list, it is often just so hard! It is true though, that by waking up just one hour earlier every day, you’ll have an extra five hours a week to work on achieving your goal. Statistics don’t lie and most successful people don’t sleep in, they rise early.

7. Getting up after getting knocked down

“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” – Vince Lombardi

You don’t have control over what happens to you, but you do have control over how you deal with it. To be successful, you have to keep going when you feel like giving up. You can’t give up on your goal because one thing didn’t work out, that is like slashing your other three tires when one goes flat.

8. Stop procrastinating

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” – Pablo Picasso

Procrastinating can seriously sabotage your chances of success. You lose opportunities, money, damage your reputation and confidence. Deal with your procrastination if you know it is holding you back, don’t let procrastination steal your dreams and success, it happens too often to too many people.

9. Putting results before comfort

“The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work.” – Vince Lombardi

You need to work harder if you want more success in life: the extent of your efforts is the extent of your rewards. It’s not about working long hours and getting as much done as possible, it is about working smarter. At the beginning you need to put in that little bit extra and work harder to give you that boost you need starting off. What you put in, you will get out.

10. Getting it going

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt

It is easy to come up with a million reasons why you should put off taking ‘certain’ actions that you should be taking. How often do you say, “The time isn’t right,” or “I’m not ready”? You just have to get it going, it doesn’t have to be right or perfect, but you need to keep taking continuous steps closer towards your goal. There is always something you can do to take you closer to your goal.

11. Dealing with change

“Change is vital; improvement is the logical form of change.” – James Cash Penny 

It is hard to change and accept it at times, but it is necessary to reach certain goals and be more successful. Strive to embrace change and find ways to adapt to it easier. You need change if you want more success, otherwise, you would be successful now. Don’t resist it, welcome it!

12. Avoiding mindless gossip

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

You and your success are largely influenced by your environment and your circle of friends. The conversations you have with them are the seeds of thoughts, and you want successful thoughts. Talk about ideas and have inspiring conversations and don’t resort to mindless conversations with nothing positive to them that only pollute your mind.

13. Reaching out to others

“The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being.” – Pearl S. Buck

Nobody becomes successful alone, it is not possible. Reach out to others and build relationships on the way. Ask others for guidance when you need help and help others too. It isn’t easy to find and build strong relationships, it takes effort and commitment, but they are super important for success.

14. Not worrying about what other people think

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

It is hard to not let other people’s comments and opinions get you down at times, you are human after all. However, it clearly doesn’t help you when it comes to reaching your goals; with no confidence it becomes twice as challenging. It is up to you whether you will allow others to make you feel less, it is your choice. Simply smile at the people who doubt and put you down and keep moving forward.You can’t strive to have everybody like you in this world.

15. Doing what you truly love

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs

One of the biggest keys to success is to love what you do. You already have the motivation, inspiration and commitment to support you from the outset and along the way. It is challenging to actually do what you love in life and make a great living from it at the same time, but don’t put limits on your life. You decide what is possible in your life; get creative and find ways to make it work if that is what you really want.

16. Planning effectively

“Nobody ever wrote down a plan to be broke, fat, lazy, or stupid. Those things are what happen when you don’t have a plan.” – Larry Winget

You need to have a plan and you need to plan effectively as well. If you don’t plan, how do you know where you are going? You need to set goals, plan how you will reach them and execute your plan. Learning to plan effectively is important as well, it is easy to undermine your efforts with bad planning and therefore undermine your chances of success.

17. Staying enthusiastic

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

Staying enthusiastic when things don’t look good is much easier said than done. In the face of adversity, keeping that spirit of enthusiasm will give you the strength you need to keep going. What you focus on expands, so don’t focus on what isn’t working, put your focus on what you can do to make it work and be enthusiastic about the next possibility.

18. Finding the courage to follow your dreams

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

You need to look fear straight in the eye and move past it. You can reach all your goals and have all the success, if you have the courage to take all the action required with a courageous mindset to back it up. Have the courage to follow your dreams and don’t give up until you reach them.

19. Taking on all challenges

“To be successful you must accept all challenges that come your way. You can’t just accept the ones you like.” – Mike Gafka

You attract the exact challenges that you need to overcome in order to reach your goals and be successful. You can’t pick and choose which ones you get to have, you have to take them all on. They are there to support you in growth and in reaching your goals, they are all equally important to your success.

20. Always taking continuous action

“Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Pablo Picasso

When you go to gym, you have to go regularly to really see new results and the same goes for success. You have to take a lot of regular and continuous action if you want to have more than ordinary results. Dreaming, willing and planning alone will not get you there, continuous action will.

21. Always believe in yourself

“Belief in oneself is one of the most important bricks in building any successful venture.” – Lydia M. Child

If you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t expect somebody else to either. You have to be your own cheerleader and toot your own horn. Having confidence in yourself is what makes you successful. Don’t doubt yourself, believe in yourself and you will succeed.

22. Going that extra mile

“Success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.” – Jim Rohn

The only difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little bit more effort you put in. It is hard and takes much more energy, but how badly do you want success?

 

Success is possible if you are willing to do the things you need to do to get you where you want to be. Don’t give up on your goals and dreams of success; know that they are truly possible if you really want them to be. We all have the same chances of success, whether we take those chances when they come is our first choice.

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Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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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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