“You can dramatically change your life but only if you have the desire to change, the decision to take action, the discipline to practice the new behaviors you have chosen, and the determination to persist until you get the results you want.” – Brian Tracy
- “I just need to focus.”
- “I just need to buckle down.”
- “I just need to have more willpower.”
- “I already know what to do, I just need to do it.”
I’ve probably said all of these things to myself at one point or another and I’m betting you have as well. Most of us already know what to do — eat the right foods, exercise consistently, get proper rest and recovery, and do more of what we love and less of what we don’t. Yet it’s so difficult to put it all together.
How can we avoid feeling lost, stressed out, and overwhelmed, and get more focused, more results, and more stuff done whether that be with regards to our health, career, or in our relationships?
The choices you make are yours and yours alone
The minute junk hits the fan, you make a mistake, or times get tough…accept complete responsibility. Refuse to make excuses and commit to not placing the blame on anyone else or the circumstances. Wherever you are now in your life is because of the choices you made. To get yourself over any hurdle you first need to acknowledge that it is there. Otherwise you’ll just keep running into it over and over.
There’s a wonderful poem by Portia Nelson entitled “There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk” that is very fitting…
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in… it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault… I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.Advertising
I walk down another street.
If you are making the same mistake over and over acknowledge it. Ask yourself why do I keep walking down this sidewalk? Then choose a new route. Any route will do. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s not the same one that keep leading you to fall down a hole. When you’re on this new path you’ll now know what to look for. If you see a hole you’ll walk around it and find another path the next day.
If you’re struggling with your nutrition find your hole. Are you always falling of the wagon at night when you get home from work? You’re exhausted and just want to relax? Instead of taking time to prepare a healthy meal are you opting for something processed and quick?
What’s another street you can take? Can you get up a few minutes early every day to make sure you have something prepared for when you get home?
Take a look at your street. Where are the holes? What can you do?
What do I need to do everyday to achieve what I want to achieve
We often don’t fail due to a lack of effort — it’s often consistent effort that we struggle with. Most of the things we want to accomplish take effort spread throughout an extended period of time.
And the honesty…
Most of that effort needs to be extended for a lifetime. Now thinking of things over the course of a lifetime can cause anyone to hyperventilate, but the cool thing is it gets easier and easier. And that effort will become automatic.
Getting up a little earlier to get in a workout will become a habit. Cooking in bulk on a Sunday afternoon so you have meals for the week will feel natural. Using that hour every night you use to reserve for watching your favorite show is now spent on starting your own business.Advertising
But the key is to start with one.
Just pick one area of your life that you want to improve. Trying to do too much at one time will require so much effort that you’ll either burn yourself out or make it difficult to commit 100% to each area.
What is the single thing that needs the you want to improve. Start there, commit 100%, and once it’s a habit move on to the next.
My way or the highway leads to you on an empty road all by yourself.
Learn to adapt
There is one thing for certain in this world and that’s change. I can guarantee you one thing and I will never be wrong. Today is most certainly different from yesterday and tomorrow will be different from today.
Even though some days you might feel like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day”, subtle changes are happening every day. Just look back at your life. How different are you from when you were 10, 20, 30, and so on? I bet your job has changed a few times, I’m certain your body, some of your habits, your friends, where you live. Change is one thing I am certain is never going away.
Failure to adapt, try new things, experiment with new methods, techniques, people, and choices will cause you to be left behind.
What worked today might not work tomorrow. Can you eat like you did when you were a kid? Are you as active?
Your responsibilities and passions I am sure have changed as well. It is up to you to adapt to your new environment, your new role, or your new body and to figure out what it is you need to do in order to get where you want to be.
How do your nutrition habits need to adapt? Your exercise habits? Your lifestyle?Advertising
Plan. Then plan again. Oh yeah, and plan some more.
“Failure to plan is planning to fail.”
I know we’ve all heard that before…but it’s true. Hey, I like winging it as much as the next guy but if something is not going the way you want or expect take a look at your plan… or maybe failure to have one.
It may seem like you waste time planning but in the long run that planning will save you time as you avoid having to start from scratch if junk hits the fan. A plan is like a map. If you planned out your route and hit a snag or make a wrong turn it gives you a chance to see where you messed up and avoid it in the future.
It also works when things go right. If you get to your destination you will have a route to follow and use again and again and possibly now have some guidance for when you embark on a new trip.
So whatever it is you want to do take time to create a plan. Don’t worry about it being wrong, as long as you’re willing to adapt you’ll make the necessary changes as you go.
As in crystal clear. It’s hard to get anywhere if you don’t know where you want to go. Where are you now, where do you want to be, what do you want to do? Don’t concern yourself so much with the “How” but more so the “Why.”
What ever your goal, whatever you want to do define why you are doing it and why it is important to you. If building muscle, losing weight, or finding more work that you love is something you want to pursue define your why.
Here’s an example of how to do that.
“I want to lose fat.”Advertising
- Why do I want to lose fat? Because I want to fit into a smaller size of jeans.
- But why do I want to fit into a smaller size of jeans? Because when I’m wearing smaller jeans, I think I’ll look better.
- But why do I want to look better? Because when I look good, I feel good about myself.
- But why do I want to feel good about myself? Because when I feel good about myself, I’m more assertive and confident.
- But why do I want to be more assertive and confident. Because when I’m more assertive and confident, I’m in control and better able to get what I want out of life.
Now your turn. Pick one thing that you want to work towards. Just one thing. Make the statement. I WANT TO _______________. Then keep asking yourself, “but why” until you get to the heart of the matter.
I’m almost certain that almost all problems could be solved by doing this…
By always treating others the way we would want to be treated.
Personal, physical, mental, and social problems could almost certainly be solved if we always treated people the way we wanted to be treated. If our coffee order is messed up there is no real reason to berate the barista. It’s not fixing the order any. The only thing it is doing is raising your blood pressure and stressing out the poor girl behind the counter.
When someone cuts us off on the freeway tailgating them, giving them the finger, and honking at them serves no real purpose. It doesn’t change the situation and doesn’t help to resolve any problems.
If you don’t want to feel stressed out, unhealthy, tired, or upset there is a pretty good chance other people don’t want to as well.
What’s holding you back
What is keeping you from getting the body you want, doing work you love, pursuing adventure and passions? Identify and remove. If a jar of peanut butter is getting devoured every night it might be sabotaging your fitness goals. Identify and remove.
Are finances keeping you from taking that trip you have been dying to go on. Identify where you are wasting money and remove.
Is there anything you know now that if your life started over today you would not get involved in? Well life starts over today. What can you change?
(Photo credit: Honest Abe via Shutterstock)
Last Updated on June 29, 2020
How Does Setting Goals Lead to Success?
As well as being the founder of Lifehack, I also help people on a one-to-one basis through life coaching.
I’ve been doing this for more than 10 years now and have helped hundreds of clients reevaluate their lives and turn inertia into progress and failure into success.
A common theme I’ve noticed with many of my clients is that they don’t have any definite goals to aim towards.
This has always surprised me, as goal setting is frequently recommended by self-improvement gurus, performance coaches, and business leaders. It’s also something that I learned at university and have implemented successfully in my life ever since.
If you’re similar to the majority of my life coaching clients and you don’t have any definite goals to aim for, then you’re missing out on what is probably the most powerful personal success technique on the planet.
The good news is—you’ve come to the right place for help with this.
In this article, I’ll explain exactly what goal-setting is and how you can put it into action in your life. As you’ll discover, it’s a key that can open many doors for you.
An Introduction to Goal Setting
Goals can be big, small, short-term, long-term, essential, or desirable. But they all share one thing: They will give you something to aim for.
This is important. As just like a ship without a destination, if you have no goals, you’ll end drifting aimlessly.
Goals give you purpose. They also give you drive and enthusiasm. In other words—they make you feel alive!
If you’ve never spent time setting goals before, then here’s what I recommend you to do:
- Take some time to evaluate all areas of your life (health, career, family, etc.).
- Determine which of these areas need a boost.
- Think of ways in which to achieve this (for example, if you want to boost your health, you could eat less and exercise more).
- Set some definite goals that you would like to achieve.
- Write down these goals, including the date you want to accomplish them by.
Now, before you get started on the above, I want to make one thing clear: Goals are not wishful thinking!
By this, I mean that while your goals should be ambitious, they shouldn’t be unrealistic or verging into fantasy land.
For example, wanting to be promoted at work would be a realistic goal while wanting to be President of the United States might not be. (Of course, feel free to prove me wrong!)
If you’re new to the world of goal setting, then I’d recommend you start with easy-to-achieve goals. These could be things such as eating a healthy breakfast, walking more, taking regular breaks from your screen, and sleeping early.
These simple goals might take you a month or so to achieve, including making the daily practices a habit.
Once you’ve successfully accomplished these goals, you’ll find your self-confidence grows, and you’ll be ready to set yourself some bigger goals.
Here are a few examples that you might want to choose or adapt to your personal circumstances:
- Run a marathon
- Buy a new car
- Learn a new language
- Travel around the world
- Change career
- Retire early
- Write a book
I’m sure you can think of many more things that you would like to achieve. As the famous Shakespeare line neatly states: “The world is your oyster!”
Now, the trick with big goals (as I’ll show in an example shortly) is to break them down into small, bite-sized chunks. This means you’ll have a big end goal, with smaller goals (sometimes referred to as objectives) helping you to gradually achieve your main aim.
When you do this, you’ll make big goals more achievable. Plus, you’ll have an easy way to track how far along the road to your goal you are at any given point in time.
Let’s see this in action…
Going from an Idea to a Global Success
Everything starts with an idea.
And there appears to be no shortage of good ideas in the world. But there is a shortage of people willing to put these ideas into action!
This is the essential step that will move you from being a dreamer to an achiever.
Back in 2005, when I first had the idea for Lifehack, I really only considered it to be a platform to record some of my productivity and self-improvement techniques. I’d developed these during my time at university and as a Software Engineer at Redhat.
However, based on the number of views and positive feedback I received on the first few articles, I quickly realized that Lifehack had the potential to be a popular and successful website—a site that could help transform the lives of people from all across the world.
It was at that point that I decided to set some goals in place for Lifehack.
The way I did this was to set specific targets for different areas of the business:
- Number of articles published
- Amount of time spent writing and promoting the articles
- Number of new readers
- Number of new email subscribers
- Revenue generated from ads
For each of the above, I set weekly, monthly, and yearly targets. These targets were realistic but were also ambitious. In addition, I wrote down the necessary steps to take to achieve each target within the specified time frame.
This goal setting had a powerful impact on my motivation and energy levels. Because I could clearly see what needed to be done to achieve each goal, I found a purpose to my tasks that made them exciting to complete. Each small target achieved took me closer to accomplishing the bigger goals.
For example, my initial goals for writing articles were for just five a week, which equated to 20 per month and just over 100 per year. However, as I dedicated more and more time to Lifehack, I found I was able to exceed my initial goals.
This led me to increase the numbers. Of course, there’s a limit to how many articles one person can write. So when the readership began to exponentially increase, I started to hire other writers to help me out with the site’s content.
From my initial goal of just over 100 articles per year, I’ve used goal setting to help Lifehack publish more than 35,000 articles to date. This is now the largest collection of original self-development articles in the world.
And in terms of readership—this has skyrocketed from a few dozen in 2005 to several million in 2020.
And of course, I have many new goals for Lifehack, including expanding our range of online courses.
My original goal has always remained the same though: To change people’s lives for the better.
Goal Setting Can Transform Your Life
If you haven’t yet experienced the incredible power of goal setting, then now’s the time to get started.
Build a definite picture of what you want to accomplish, break it down into small, achievable steps, and then start taking action!
You’ll be able to change all areas of your life using this method, including boosting your health, improving your relationships, and transforming your career. You may also want to use goal setting to start a new hobby or plot a path to a prosperous and peaceful retirement.
So please don’t wait for success to drop in your lap (which it is highly unlikely to do). Instead, decide on exactly what you want, then make a plan to get it. This is the secret to lifelong success.
Legendary motivational speaker and author Paul J. Meyer said it well:
“Goal setting is the most important aspect of all improvement and personal development plans. It is the key to all fulfillment and achievement.”
Now, let me leave you with five questions that will help you think about your future:
- What would you like to be doing in 3, 5, and 7 years?
- What things make you happiest?
- How can you share your knowledge and experience?
- Who can help you achieve your goals?
- What would you like to be your legacy?
Take plenty of time to think about these questions. When the answers come, you’ll be able to start building a picture of how you’d like your life to be—and what goals you need to set to make this picture a reality.
More Tips on Setting Goals
- 8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life
- How to Set Goals and Achieve Them Successfully
- How Setting Personal Goals Makes You a Greater Achiever
Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com