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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

6 Ways to Make Progress Every Day (And Realize Your Goals)

6 Ways to Make Progress Every Day (And Realize Your Goals)

Are you at a critical stage in your life, and it seems you are not making headway with your life goals? Does it feel like you are complacent, and you are struggling to accomplish what you set out to do? You can make progress by establishing and diligently working towards those goals that align with your life’s mission.

A lot of dreams are not terminated because the dreamers gave up; they died due to a long period of inactivity. This is the more reason you need to develop a progress mindset while you pursue those relevant and meaningful goals.

A progress mindset will enable you to work on any inadequacy that can truncate the realization of your goals. With such a mindset, you are constantly evaluating yourself, improving your skills, and seeking ways to learn and grow through life.

Why Is It Essential to Develop a Progress Mindset?

Your mindset encompasses your beliefs—how you perceive your talents, skills, knowledge, and personality. Your belief system eventually influences your viewpoints about goals and success. A fixed mindset can hinder your progress, while a progressive mindset will enable you to achieve sound health, happiness, good relationships, and peace.

6 Ways to Make Progress and Realize Your Goals

Here are 6 practical ways that you can make progress and realize all your goals.

1. Figure Out Your WHYs

Nothing is static. You are either making progress or retrogressing. You need to establish why you want to move forward.

  • Career: Why do I want to be fulfilled in my career?
  • Marriage: Why do I want a happy home and loving children?
  • Health: Why do I want to be physically and mentally sound?
  • Finance: Why do I want to be out of debt?
  • Academics: Why do I want to ace my grades?
  • Relationship: Why do I want to communicate better?
  • Personal: Why do I want to be a better person?

For every aspect of your life, establish the reasons for changing levels.

Someone once said,

“When your why is strong and convincing, the how will emerge.”

Establishing your reasons will help you to be an active player in decisions that affect your life. You will also be able to establish if your motivation to progress is intrinsic or extrinsic as you make progress.

2. Establish Tangible Goals

Once you have established your reasons, the next step is to establish your life goals. Develop your aims for short-term, mid-term, as well as long-term goals. This process will enable you to track your progress and implement changes that improve your progress.

Keep Your Goals SMART

Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound in order to make progress. For instance, I want to improve my typing speed by 150 wpm within the next three months. I will spend two hours daily practicing on Mavis Beacon. I wrote in detail on how to set SMART goals that you will accomplish.

You can learn how to write SMART goals in the video below:

Write Your Goals on Paper

Sticking your goals on your wall or notepad will offer you a visual cue that can reinforce why, how, and when you want to make progress on your goals.

Update Your Goals as Required

Review your goals at intervals to ensure you can still achieve them.

3. Create Your Game Plan

It is not enough to know what you want from life; you need to design a roadmap to get to your destination.

Here’s what you can do:

Break Your SMART Goals Into Habits

Begin by highlighting the good habits you need to cultivate and the bad habits you need to eliminate. Here’s how to break bad habits that can truncate your progress.

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Master One Habit at a Time

Once you figure out the good habits to have in your life, then ensure you practice them daily. Scientists revealed that you would need 18 to 254 days to develop new habits and that a new habit will only become permanent after 66 days of practicing it.[1]

Once you have gained mastery over a habit, add more routines that will enable you to make progress in the direction of your goals.

4. Imbibe Positivity

A positive outlook means you are always optimistic about yourself, interactions, and events. It also determines your ability to expect favorable outcomes when working towards your life goals.

Positivity is a mental posture that sees accomplishments and opportunities instead of failures and defeat. It will keep you hopeful when you are facing daunting challenges.

A study on positive thinking revealed that visualizing positive images can reduce worry and anxiety.[2]

How do you maintain a positive outlook on life?

  • Look out for the best in every circumstance to be more progress-minded.
  • Use positive affirmations. For instance, when you wake up, say, “I will work hard to complete all my milestones today.”
  • Associate with positive people that will support your progress. You need positive energy to consistently make progress in the direction of your goals.
  • Change your perspectives about failures and setbacks, and see them as significant components of making progress.

5. Practice Reflection as You Progress

A lot of things will occur once you are determined to advance. You will learn new lessons and implement changes. You will form new habits and eliminate bad ones.

It is reasonable to take time out and evaluate what worked and what did not. Ask yourself how you can improve and surmount new obstacles. You can log your answers in a diary or use a virtual journal to track your thoughts[3].

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Self-reflection guide. Adapted from Gibb's (1988) reflective cycle.

    Scientists have proved the significance of reflective practice on your productivity. A group of students at the Harvard Business School found out that call center agents who reflected for 15 minutes on what they’ve learned outperformed their colleagues by 23%.[4]

    Self-reflection will enable you to keep your goals in mind constantly, which will ultimately help you make progress.

    How do you make this happen?

    Set up a Weekly Appointment With Yourself

    During this period, define your goals and reflect on them. It will also help you verify if your goals are still achievable.

    Ask Reflective Questions

    Did I achieve all I planned? What salient lesson can I pick this week? What new things did I learn, and what actions do I need to make progress?

    6. Celebrate Your Achievements

    It is highly crucial to acknowledge every milestone you complete as you make progress in life. Celebrating your achievements will build your confidence and provide you with motivation to continue.

    One of the best ways to do this is by pampering yourself with rewards when you achieve a goal. These rewards could be things you enjoy, such as a special meal, a music collection, or a mini-vacation.

    These little rewards will continuously remind you of victory anytime you feel like giving up. Merely looking at your mini-vacation pictures will motivate you to keep working towards your next goals.

    Celebrating your achievements will enable you to build on existing momentum and will allow you to attract more successes.[5]

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    Bonus Tips

    Here are other things that you can do to help you make progress toward your goals.

    Invest in Self-Improvement

    Self-development enhances your self-worth and self-confidence. You can improve yourself by listening to podcasts or audiobooks on any subject of interest. You can also attend webinars, seminars, or workshops to enhance your skills and broaden your knowledge.

    Keep Moving

    Every success comes with obstacles. Not giving up on your goals despite setbacks will help you achieve anything you desire. For instance, if you write a book and don’t make a single sale, write another one.

    Don’t allow anything to discourage you from making progress. In case you missed a deadline, train yourself to meet the next one. A positive attitude will enable you to stay on course and infuse you with confidence.

    Final Words

    Goals offer you a sense of purpose and fulfillment when accomplished. When you make progress relentlessly in the direction of your goals, you build up the confidence to overcome obstacles, and every setback becomes a stepping stone to achieve your next target.

    Apply these six practical steps to make progress and achieve every goal you have set.

    More on How to Make Progress Toward Goals

    Featured photo credit: Khiet Tam via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Leon Ho

    Founder & CEO of Lifehack

    FIRED to HIRED with the Fortune Formula Why Having a Goals Strategy Can Help You Achieve More How to Be More Assertive and Go After Your Goals How to Achieve Goals and Increase Your Chance of Success Having Trouble Reaching Goals? This Could Be Why

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    Last Updated on May 12, 2021

    How to Create a Personal Strategic Plan for Your Goals

    How to Create a Personal Strategic Plan for Your Goals

    Creating a personal strategic plan is necessary to achieve your goals. Most companies do that, but for some reason, some talented, motivated individuals don’t. It makes no sense and yet, people broadly think about their goals but don’t create a personal strategy to achieve them.

    In this article, I’m going to address that as it is one of the most critical single tasks you can do to change the course of your life.

    Defining Your Personal Strategic Plan

    Let’s start with the perfect example of John (pseudonym). As a child, he played football, baseball, and basketball, but he wasn’t great at any of them.At the age of 15, he tried to join the basketball team and failed. He was too short and managed to get in to carry the uniform of the star player. The story continues as he continued to practice hard, waking up at 6 am each day, and after a year finally making it to the basketball team that lost the first three tournaments.

    He continued practicing even harder and eventually became perhaps the most influential basketball player of all time—Michael Jordan.

    You might argue that it is definitely a combination of raw talent and hard work for athletes. Still, no one can say that without practice and working hard for years on the same goal, this hard-working individual would have never achieved his achievements.

    This is why it is crucial to define your strategy and then pursue it. It cannot guarantee that you’ll become a world-class athlete, but it can guarantee that you’ll have the best chances of getting to your goals with your unique set of capabilities.

    We’re going to provide you with research-based proven methods of preparing your personal strategic plan.

    What Is a Personal Strategic Plan?

    According to an article in the Journal of Management Research, “effective personal strategy means being able to think in multiple time frames, clarifying what one is trying to achieve over time as well as what needs to be done in the short term to get there.”[1] In other words, it means setting a vision and a plan to execute it.

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    A growth mindset is essential when preparing a personal strategic plan. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be ambitious enough—and if you’re here thinking about your long term goals, it means that you likely already have a growth mindset.

    According to an essay in Harvard Business Review, “individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset. They tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset (those who believe their talents are innate gifts).”[2]

    The main trait that is associated with success is planning. It is sometimes more important than talent.[3]

    There are many methods for building your personal strategy, and I’m going to cover some of them. They all share an understanding of a high-level vision, a sense of your values, and practical steps on how to get there.

    Horizons of Focus

    David Allen is one of the leading time management specialists globally with his famous book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. One aspect of time management is the understanding of what you need to get done in a personal strategic plan.

    His method includes the following horizons:

    Horizon 5: Purpose and Principles

    This is where you set your vision for life. Of course, this is a big thing that requires you to think about what you would be happy with accomplishing decades from now. Sub-questions are which jobs, lines of industry, impact, and legacy are you interested in.

    An excellent method to examine that is by using the “five whys” process. In this simple method, you should ask yourself “why” to help you understand the real reasons for choosing your vision.

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    For example, if you want to become a successful entrepreneur, you can ask yourself why that is. If the “why” is to make an impact, you can ask yourself additional questions, such as whether this is the best way to do that.

    If you decide that it is, you might wonder why you want to create an impact. Perhaps it is because there is something you deeply care about.

    Your vision shouldn’t be only on professional goals; it should be on every life goal you care about. A bad example would be: “To be the most successful entrepreneur ever.” It is not unique and does not address your inner wants and needs. A good one would be specific, non-generic for you and your personal goals.

    By choosing a long-term goal specific for you, you can continue to the next step of figuring out how what the next few years will look like.

    The second part of this horizon is principles. By choosing your principles, you can re-examine your choices and see if they amount to your expectation from yourself.

    Horizon 4: Three- to Five-Year Vision

    Now that you have clearly defined your goal in life as part of your personal strategic plan, you can plan the next few years. Every ambitious goal takes time to accomplish. You should plan how to get there and understand that flexibility is vital during these times, as there are a lot of changes going on.

    This is when you decide on specific goals, such as a career path. If you aim to be a writer, and your goal is to become a columnist in the New York Times, what would get you there? If your dream is to start a successful startup, what can you do to learn the right things to qualify you as a leading entrepreneur?

    When considering the next specific moves you should take, it is always recommended to find a mentor to consult with. This is someone you look up to and picture their life as one that you would like to have. They are usually at least 10-15 years older and successful in achieving their goals.

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    What would be the next step to get you to your vision? This is not an easy question to answer, but broadly speaking, you should envision a road that can’t be 100% clear sometimes and still takes you in the right direction.

    Horizon 3: One- to Two-Year Goals and Objectives

    What objectives will the next year hold?

    Let’s say that you chose a specific career path. Now, you should focus on the main criteria and key performance indicators that would help you get there. That may seem far from your vision, but visions are, by nature, a bit far out.

    If you decided that you want to be a successful entrepreneur in five years to impact climate change positively, but you still don’t feel that you have the knowledge to do that, a first step might be working for a startup that’s doing that.

    When you take a look at the first year of working for that startup, it might be a good idea to understand your job requirements and prepare to be excellent doing them. By doing that, you’re on the right path to your dream.

    Horizon 2: Areas of Focus and Accountability

    After learning what you need in order to plan the next few years, we’re now getting to the important daily stuff. What are the primary few things that are important for your success in achieving your goal?

    This is the part when you understand your day to day responsibilities and excel at making them. Making a daily to-do list may be helpful at this stage. This is one way to hold yourself accountable when you decide on the daily steps you’ll need to take to carry out your personal strategic plan.

    This is also the horizon that will help you avoid procrastination, as you’ll have a clear idea of what to do and when. If you fall into a rut of procrastination, check out Lifehack’s Fast-Track Class: No More Procrastination.

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    Horizon 1: Projects

    These are the open loops of your goals that need to be achieved. One example can be editing that company movie. Another might be finishing that report. It can also be personal things, such as organizing the birthday party for your brother.

    You have tons of these, and every once in a while, it is suggested to ensure that they align with the higher-level goals you have.

    After you add everything to your calendar, the last step is to actually get it done. You can use tons of project management systems, such as Monday, Asana, Notion, and others. In Notion, they actually have a prepared template for this suggested method.

    Additional Methods

    The above method is just one out of many for developing your personal strategic plan.

    Another one is called V2MOM, invented by Salesforce’s founder[4]. The idea is to ask yourself five questions—some of them were also asked above—which would help you clarify your vision and get it.

    The five questions are:

    • Vision: What do you want to achieve?
    • Values: What’s important to you?
    • Methods: How do you get it?
    • Obstacles: What is preventing you from being successful?
    • Measures: How do you know you have it?

    Final Thoughts

    As mentioned, knowing where you want to go and preparing for it has a huge impact on your success in life. That may seem obvious, but some ambitious people don’t manage their lives in a way that helps them position themselves in the best way possible to succeed. Spend a few hours thinking and coming up with a personal strategic plan to put yourself on the right path today.

    More About Goal Planning Strategies

    Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

    Reference

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