We all want to succeed. Whether it’s in losing weight, learning the piano, speed reading, or starting our own business. For those of us who have tried and failed, success seems elusive. Why is it that one person succeeds where another person fails? First and foremost, I believe it is in their mindset. But secondly, I believe that successful people have developed certain habits, either naturally or through research, that the rest of us haven’t stumbled upon yet.
- Identify your core values
What is important to you? Finding your core values may seem a bit off-topic when it comes to success, but creating goals that are in line with your values is key to creating intrinsic motivation. Sit and reflect on what you value most. Pick a handful of things and actually write them down. Remind yourself of your values every day, and reflect on whether you are honoring those values through your work.
- Pick a goal (Focus)
Choose one goal to start. Something large enough that will give you a sense of accomplishment, while aligning well with your core values. Focus is key here. The more focused you are on one goal, the higher chance you have of success. If you spread yourself too thin, you might never complete your projects because they will take far too long. Believe me, multitasking isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Focus on one task until completion is the way to go if you are just starting out.
- Set a deadline for success
Set a date for success. Identify when you hope to achieve your goal. Keep it realistic, and there is something about setting a deadline to your goals, it alerts you when you are running behind schedule and also prompt you to do the most important tasks on your lists. By setting a time limit, you are making the process more real. You also now have something to visualize in the next point.
- Build the right mindset
Believe fully in your ability to achieve your goal. Visualize yourself having completed your goal in the exact time-frame you have chosen, although finishing early is also acceptable. You don’t need to consider the failures that will happen along the way. Success is inevitable. Others may think you will fail, don’t let yourself be one of them! (If you have trouble visualizing success, perhaps a fear of success is limiting you. And even if fail, see it as a temporary setback, re-strategize and move on
“Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.” – Henry Ford
- Consequences for missing your deadline
Set up negative consequences for missing the deadline and positive treat for meeting up. Necessity is the mother of all invention. If you can manage to keep yourself intrinsically motivated, that’s great. If not, this will help kick you into gear and keep your eye on the prize. Celebrate each of your achievements no matter how insignificant it may seem to be.
- Weekly and Daily Goals (Plan)
Break down goals by week and by day, setting up a plan to reach your overall objective. Keep the number of tasks per day as low as you can, and focus on completing only your planned tasks for each day. If you find yourself done, pick the next thing from your weekly list. Do the hardest things during your peak energy level, which usually means doing them first! Learn how to prioritize your tasks in the order of, Most Important, Important, Urgent, and not Important.
Prioritize the task you have at hand. Don’t always do the most urgent thing first. Pick the task that’s the most important. Sometimes these overlap, which is nice. By always accomplishing what’s most important, you are making clear progress toward your goal.
Also, keep in mind that completing the hardest task first is a sure-fire way of increasing your productivity. If you put it off until later in the day, your energy level is bound to drop, and finishing the hard task will seem daunting and maybe even impossible. But, if you start off with the hardest task, when your energy level is high, you will have the focus and energy required to finish it off.
- Take risks
Push yourself. Go out of your comfort zone. STRETCH! This is the best way to learn, and the best way to make progress quickly. If you’re looking for new ideas, being risk-averse
will not help. This takes a lot of self-awareness. Try and be conscious of when you are holding yourself back out of fear. Push yourself to be courageous, and take that next step.
Failure is inevitable when you take risks, which is what you’ll be doing if you want to succeed. By its very definition, the desire to succeed at something means you are risking failure. Many people tend to give up far too early. Don’t fall into this trap! Remember your mindset earlier, and visualize your success. Know it will happen. A failure is merely you working out the details, and learning what works and what doesn’t. Use failure. Treat it as a good thing, and march on!
Take time every day to sit quietly and reflect on your values, goals, and progress made so far. Where have you excelled, and where can you do better. Is everything you are doing still lining up with your core values? Always look for ways to improve.
Never stop learning. Know what everyone else is doing, and what everyone else has done, and how they did it. Search wide for knowledge that might help you, and any inspiration that may do the same. Never think you have nothing to learn from others.