How to achieve goals and increase your chance of success

December 4, 2018 – Productivity

by Josh Carlyle

Why is it important to write down your goals? It may sound like a cliché but there’s some truth behind writing down your goals and accomplishing them. In fact, you’re 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down on a regular basis.

It has to do with how our brains work. When you write things down, you’re activating both parts of your brain, the imaginative right hemisphere, and the logic-based left hemisphere. This is well-known in the business community among CEOs who use this technique to stay on track with their countless responsibilities.

Goals help us become better versions of ourselves. But perhaps you never got into the habit of writing down your goals. The same is true for most people. Fewer than 20 percent of people reported that they describe their goals in written form.

As humans, we process visuals 60,000 times faster than having to imagine things, based on a recent study by the 3M Company. Writing down your goals means that you can visually see them. This is an important point because when we see something, it affects how we act. You’re more likely to be productive if you can see what you have to do, instead of just thinking about it.

Here are 5 reasons that will reveal the power of written goals:

Reason to write down your goals #1: Boost your motivation

This is the most important reason why writing down your goals actually works. You can use goals to motivate your actions. Try to use goals to create habits because habits drive performance. You cannot be in control of everything but goals help you control at least some of it, enough to achieve results.

Think back for a moment, how much time have you spent on thinking about doing something? Is it the same as acting on it? Well, it’s not. You need concrete goals to increase your motivation to take action. When you have written down your goals, it creates a sense of urgency to move closer to achieving them.

Reason to write down your goals #2: Improve your focus

When you’re focused on what you’re doing, you’re directing your energy toward your goals and you achieve better results. It’s easier to set other things aside when you know what you should focus on. Written goals help you have a clear focus and stay on track. When your goals are clearly defined, it’s also easier to eliminate distractions.

Reason to write down your goals #3: Reduce your stress level

Moving your goals from your head to a written form reduces stress. While it doesn’t eliminate the actual stressor, it removes the burden of keeping everything inside. When you have your goals written down, you can have better control over your emotional reactions. After accomplishing your goal, you feel more at peace with yourself.

Read on ➔ How to reduce stress with Management 3.0: Stress Management Techniques

Reason to write down your goals #4: Achieve bigger goals

Our goals can sometimes feel overwhelming. A good technique is to break them down into smaller parts. Many of us overestimate our abilities when it comes to defining a timeline. Try to make your timeline more realistic and break your bigger goals down into parts. This is where writing things down comes in handy. Make sure that your targets are concrete and something that can be measured.

Reason to write down your goals #5: Track your progress

An important step in the process of achieving your goals is to keep track of your progress. Failures are inevitable, and therefore you should keep track of your failures, too, in order to avoid making the same mistakes again. When you can see how much progress you have made, you feel encouraged to keep going.

Tracking your progress also allows you to identify the best practices. It’s a way to remind yourself of what you want to achieve. We get easily distracted and lose our thoughts but writing things down gets us back on track.

Many of us have a goal to write something but it’s not so easy to get started. In case you find it difficult to bring your vision into reality by writing, you may want to spend some time polishing your skills. If you don’t feel comfortable with writing, don’t let it hold you back, however. There are tools and services that can help you. Take a look at these, for example:

  • Grammar Girl– a writing blog on the Quick and Dirty Tips website, focused on helping people do things better, e.g. how to improve your writing.
  • Grammarly– a proofreading tool that helps you avoid mistakes in grammar, spelling, word choice, punctuation, and style.
  • Handmadewritings– a website that offers a variety of editing and writing services that can help you polish your content.
  • Readable– a text analysis software that analyzes your text for its readability.

If you want to read more about the connection between writing down your goals and goal success, you can check our earlier post about how to turn goals into habits.

We all want to achieve better results. Writing down your goals is a good starting point. It’s an easy technique that helps you be more efficient and reduce your stress at the same time. It’s your time to give it a try and make the most of your goals.

Knowing how to achieve goals is the first step in successfully accomplishing the goals you set. Goals are funny things: although they are generally there to help make our lives better, they can soon become overwhelming and things we come to dread. This is why it’s important to think carefully about the goals you set and how you go about achieving them.

Here are five steps to increase your chances of success…

How To Achieve Goals: Make Them Realistic

When you set goals, they have to be realistic. To help make sure that they are, make goals that are actionable and measurable. For example, instead of saying you will lose weight this year, tell yourself that you will lose x pounds by March, by walking to work every single day. This kind of goal is specific enough to achieve, and is the first step in knowing how to achieve your goals.

How To Achieve Goals: Make A Plan

Once you know what your goals are, you need a plan to make them happen. The last point touched on this fact: if you can make a solid plan for a goal then you know it’s a realistic one. This may mean breaking down goals into smaller steps you can take every day or every week. For example, if you want to declutter, you might target one area of your home a week. This will help to prevent overwhelm.

How To Achieve Goals: Set A Deadline

If your goal has no deadline then you’ll just keep putting it off. If you want to know how to achieve your goals, you’re going to have to set a date by which you want to meet all of them. We all know things may eventually change, but setting a date in the first place is the best way to make sure you put in some real effort.

How To Achieve Goals: Take Action

Although it sounds obvious, a goal will never become a reality unless you take action. So many of us make goals every January only to forget them a few weeks later. Don’t let this happen to you! Start working on your goals immediately, even if you’re only taking small steps to make them happen.

How To Achieve Goals: Keep Track

Now you’ve started taking action, it’s important to keep track of how you’re doing. Keep yourself accountable by taking an honest look at how you’re doing to meet your broken-down steps, and change the way you do things if you think it’ll help. Realize that everyone does slip up from time to time! But measuring your progress can help you to keep going.

Business Success Program: Business Success Lesson 2

How to achieve goals and increase your chance of success

PeopleImages / Getty Images

What one change can you make to increase your success dramatically? Learn about goal setting and use specific goals in all your business planning. Goals need to be specific if we have any chance of accomplishing them. Establishing specific goals sets us up for success rather than failure.

Setting Specific Goals

A success goal is a specific goal, a goal that incorporates an action plan outlining how you will achieve the goal and a performance measure that tells you whether you were successful or not.

This is the goal setting formula for ensuring that you’re setting a specific goal:

“I will (goal + performance measure) BY (specific actions).”

The performance measure in the goal is often a date or a length of time, but it could be any objective criteria that you can use to determine whether or not you’ve accomplished the specific goal that you’ve set.

Suppose your objective is to lose weight. An example of a specific goal to help you meet this objective is:

“I will lose 10 pounds in two months BY running on a treadmill for half an hour six days a week.”

Setting Goals for Business Success

Before you can set specific goals designed to increase your business success, you need to know what you mean by success. Success means enjoying what you do, to the point that your work energizes you and creates happiness that spills over to your personal life. But what does “increased business success” mean to you?

Perhaps it is to start a home-based business to improve your work-life balance and have more time to spend with your family, or having more energy to tackle your many tasks. Is it becoming more professional and developing more confidence so you can sell your product or service more successfully or try something new? Or is it making your business more environmentally friendly, or improving your customer service?

Examples of Specific Goals to Success

Depending on what the purpose of your goal setting exercise is, you might decide to set specific goals such as:

  • To Improve Your Work-Life Balance: “One month from now, I will spend entire weekends with my family BY reorganizing my work schedule and learning how to delegate.”
  • To Get a Small Business Loan to Start Your Business: “I will develop enough confidence to present my business plan to the bank BY faithfully completing every assignment in the Business Success program.”
  • To Actively Promote Your Business: “I will implement some low-cost ways of promoting my business, including creating a social media plan.”
  • To Improve Your Small Business’s Bottom Line (And Make More Money): “I will cut my business costs by 10% this quarter.”

Goal Setting Tips

Business success isn’t just a matter of a healthy bank account; think about what you want to accomplish, no matter how outlandish it seems at first thought and set your specific goals accordingly. (Think of Elon Musk, for instance, and his goal of establishing a human settlement on Mars. It seems outlandish now, but he’s set the goals and is working towards it.) Writing down a vision statement will help set yourself up for long-term success.

A goal doesn’t have to be sweeping to be valuable; small goals are worth working on, too, because they can lead to big changes. For instance, “One month from now, I will work three hours less a week BY becoming better organized,” is a perfectly acceptable specific goal.

Use this same specific goal setting formula in all your business planning, and you’ll quickly see an increase in the number of goals you accomplish – and more success!

Homework Assignment

Practice setting specific goals by determining how you want your work schedule to be different one month from now.

Look back over your weekly activity record from Week 1 and evaluate your work schedule. Are there activities that you feel you spend too much time on or activities that aren’t there because you didn’t have time to do them? These are important clues to possible changes you might want to make to improve your business success.

Think about what business success truly means to you, and what you hope to achieve four weeks from now. Then write down two specific goals, following the formula laid out above, starting with, “One month from now, I will. “

You can create more than two goals if you wish, but if you do, choose only two of the specific goals you’ve created to focus on over the next four weeks. Too many goals will be distracting.

Business Success Program: Business Success Lesson 2

How to achieve goals and increase your chance of success

PeopleImages / Getty Images

What one change can you make to increase your success dramatically? Learn about goal setting and use specific goals in all your business planning. Goals need to be specific if we have any chance of accomplishing them. Establishing specific goals sets us up for success rather than failure.

Setting Specific Goals

A success goal is a specific goal, a goal that incorporates an action plan outlining how you will achieve the goal and a performance measure that tells you whether you were successful or not.

This is the goal setting formula for ensuring that you’re setting a specific goal:

“I will (goal + performance measure) BY (specific actions).”

The performance measure in the goal is often a date or a length of time, but it could be any objective criteria that you can use to determine whether or not you’ve accomplished the specific goal that you’ve set.

Suppose your objective is to lose weight. An example of a specific goal to help you meet this objective is:

“I will lose 10 pounds in two months BY running on a treadmill for half an hour six days a week.”

Setting Goals for Business Success

Before you can set specific goals designed to increase your business success, you need to know what you mean by success. Success means enjoying what you do, to the point that your work energizes you and creates happiness that spills over to your personal life. But what does “increased business success” mean to you?

Perhaps it is to start a home-based business to improve your work-life balance and have more time to spend with your family, or having more energy to tackle your many tasks. Is it becoming more professional and developing more confidence so you can sell your product or service more successfully or try something new? Or is it making your business more environmentally friendly, or improving your customer service?

Examples of Specific Goals to Success

Depending on what the purpose of your goal setting exercise is, you might decide to set specific goals such as:

  • To Improve Your Work-Life Balance: “One month from now, I will spend entire weekends with my family BY reorganizing my work schedule and learning how to delegate.”
  • To Get a Small Business Loan to Start Your Business: “I will develop enough confidence to present my business plan to the bank BY faithfully completing every assignment in the Business Success program.”
  • To Actively Promote Your Business: “I will implement some low-cost ways of promoting my business, including creating a social media plan.”
  • To Improve Your Small Business’s Bottom Line (And Make More Money): “I will cut my business costs by 10% this quarter.”

Goal Setting Tips

Business success isn’t just a matter of a healthy bank account; think about what you want to accomplish, no matter how outlandish it seems at first thought and set your specific goals accordingly. (Think of Elon Musk, for instance, and his goal of establishing a human settlement on Mars. It seems outlandish now, but he’s set the goals and is working towards it.) Writing down a vision statement will help set yourself up for long-term success.

A goal doesn’t have to be sweeping to be valuable; small goals are worth working on, too, because they can lead to big changes. For instance, “One month from now, I will work three hours less a week BY becoming better organized,” is a perfectly acceptable specific goal.

Use this same specific goal setting formula in all your business planning, and you’ll quickly see an increase in the number of goals you accomplish – and more success!

Homework Assignment

Practice setting specific goals by determining how you want your work schedule to be different one month from now.

Look back over your weekly activity record from Week 1 and evaluate your work schedule. Are there activities that you feel you spend too much time on or activities that aren’t there because you didn’t have time to do them? These are important clues to possible changes you might want to make to improve your business success.

Think about what business success truly means to you, and what you hope to achieve four weeks from now. Then write down two specific goals, following the formula laid out above, starting with, “One month from now, I will. “

You can create more than two goals if you wish, but if you do, choose only two of the specific goals you’ve created to focus on over the next four weeks. Too many goals will be distracting.

Joint planning makes balancing work and home easier.

Joint planning makes balancing work and home easier.

How to achieve goals and increase your chance of success

Do a quick Google search of “work-life balance” and over 260 million results will flood your screen. But the current conversation often treats “work” and “life” as separate and, all too often, in tension. We make annual resolutions, detailed daily plans, and to-do lists, but we do so as individuals — generally not sharing those plans or planning jointly with those closest to us. And we often think of our personal and professional goals as occupying distinct and separate spheres. But what if the work and home “spheres” could merge and actually improve the odds that we’ll achieve our goals?

Research shows that it’s easier to achieve our goals when we’re not trying to go it alone. One recent research paper found a positive correlation between participation in digital communities and reaching fitness goals. Similarly, a study of rowers found that their working together in training heightened their threshold for pain.

For many of us, our closest and most trusted companion is a spouse. Couples in committed, long-term relationships often see each other every day, but rarely plan or set resolutions together. By not doing so, couples may actually be making it harder to achieve their goals. This January, we fully integrated our personal planning for the year for the first time. We’ve always informally mentioned our goals to each other, but this time around, we talked with intentionality about why we were chasing those goals, and how we planned to get there. By including each other in the process, we invited the other to not only be aware of what we plan to accomplish this year, but also to hold us accountable as we strive to reach these goals. And our experience combined with research we’ve evaluated and other couples we’ve consulted with have led us to a few tips for effective planning as a couple.

First, start with an annual board meeting. Several years ago, we attended a seminar where speakers Rick and Jill Woolworth introduced the idea of an “annual meeting” for families — taking time at the end of each year to evaluate that year and plan for the next. Establishing this as a family norm assures that goal-setting happens on a set schedule rather than haphazardly or in isolation. For us, this happened over the holidays between Christmas and the new year, and included a discussion of the past year, how we performed against our goals, and how we felt about life as a couple and individuals. We wrote out our specific goals for the year and the habits we hoped to develop. Then we discussed them and how each of us could help the other achieve each goal. These annual meetings provide accountability, but more importantly, lay a vision for the year ahead. Then, as so many have advised, break these annual goals into habits, monthly and weekly goals, and daily to-dos.

By talking about your goals with your spouse and writing them down, you’ve already improved your odds of success. In Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive, authors Robert Cialdini, Noah Goldstein, and Steve Martin explain how making an active commitment directly affects action. In one of the studies they reference, researchers found that of a group of individuals who passively agreed to participate in a volunteer project, only 17% showed up to participate. Contrast that with those who agreed to volunteer through active means (writing it down, signing a contract, etc.), 49% appeared as promised. Writing down specific goals and sharing them with your partner is like signing a contract. This not only increases social accountability, but it also allows your partner to think about specific ways in which they can act to support you in achieving your goals.

The second essential component of annual planning as a couple is setting joint goals. What do you hope to achieve as a couple or (if relevant) for your children? What habits do you hope to develop together? According to one source, for example, only 30% of people surveyed felt they had achieved work-life balance despite it being second only to compensation among factors that lead to job satisfaction. The person with whom you share your life is likely the best person to help you plan for balancing it. And joint goals can assure that your personal and professional pursuits are more fully aligned.

Further Reading

How to achieve goals and increase your chance of success

HBR Guide to Getting the Right Work Done
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Once you’ve made your plans, help hold each other accountable. When you invite someone to join you in setting and striving for goals, you are not only asking them to cheer you on when you reach certain landmarks, you are also empowering them to point out when you are unfocused or off track. This requires recognizing that constructive feedback can be hard to hear from a partner, and letting go of some ego and pride.

Finally, in addition to conducting an annual meeting, check in on progress at the end of each month. While it is admirable to set aside time to do annual planning as a couple, this isn’t enough to really make things happen. Allow yourself regular checkpoints throughout the year in order to see where you are in developing habits and reaching your goals. Make it fun. Schedule a babysitter and go out on a date night. Keep the focus of the conversation on the progress and setbacks of the month and how you might continue that progress where things are going well and intervene where a goal or habit is off course. Some couples might be tempted to do this weekly — but often monthly feedback is about the right balance for a couple to bear.

Planning for both professional and personal goals with your partner can help you better care for one another, assure that you’re both focused on the issues that matter most, and enlist your biggest supporter in helping you to achieve your goals and get things done.

How to achieve goals and increase your chance of success

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How to achieve goals and increase your chance of success

In making New Year’s resolutions, it might seem like you’re setting yourself up for failure. So many people underutilize gym memberships, quickly revert to old habits or never take up new hobbies they’ve been meaning to master.

For entrepreneurs, breaking resolutions might mean neglecting networking, spending money rather than saving or foregoing opportunities to learn new skills.

But this year, you’ve resolved to make a major change. To ensure that you’ll follow through with your goals, you have to do more than want to achieve them. In most cases, realizing your ambitions will require a series of lifestyle changes.

We’ve sifted through Entrepreneur’s archives to help prime you to reach your goals in 2017. Read on for some of our best advice, and keep in mind that success is a habit, not an act.

1. Make a list.

In order to achieve your goals, first you’ll have to determine exactly what they are. Don’t let this process overwhelm you — rely on instinct. Set a timer for three minutes and get all of your goals down on paper without worrying about how difficult achieving them will be. After that, go back and brainstorm what changes you’ll have to implement or lifestyle adjustments you’ll have to make in order to make your goals a reality. Whatever you do, don’t tuck your list in a drawer somewhere, but refer to it regularly.

2. Keep a clean workspace.

Clutter doesn’t just physically get in the way, it’s scientifically proven to distract you. Think of it not only as a physical mess, but a mental one. Extra objects on your desk compete for your attention, and your brain must constantly reconcile the presence of these items with the ones that are actually pertinent to your work. Speaking of presence, consider that some of the stuff that’s been sitting there awhile is likely dragging you out of the present moment. As for any items you might feel symbolically attached to, ask yourself a simple question: Is this thing inspiring me to achieve my goals, or does it serve another purpose?

3. Minimize other types of distractions.

Your desk might look like a Pinterest lover’s pristine dream, but if you fail to eliminate other distractions, your minimalist workspace will do you little good. Find ways to shut out family members (except for in an emergency), social media notifications and personal phone calls and appointments. Set a schedule for yourself and stick to it, even if no one is there to supervise you. If you’re doing professional work, look the part — or at least change out of your pajamas.

4. Wake up super early.

Sometimes, no matter how much you try to sequester yourself from daytime distractions such as kids, errands or even breaking news, it’s hard to keep focused. One solution that’s helped several prominent entrepreneurs find time to work toward their goals is waking up early. Sure, our bodies become programmed to waking up at the same time every day, and it’ll be difficult to adjust at first. Don’t expect to add three extra hours to your morning in the matter of a day. It takes preparation, patience and peace of mind to become an early riser.

5. Make the most of your weekends.

It’s important to rest and recharge during the weekend, but it’s also a smart idea to prepare yourself for the week ahead, including how you plan on achieving your goal. When you wake up on Monday morning, don’t let the sound of the alarm clock overwhelm you with the dread of mundane chores. On Sunday night, set aside some time to select your outfit for the following day or week, plan meals and organize your to-do list. You’ll rest better, minimize stress and have more time for the work you’re passionate about.

6. Stop procrastinating.

You might embark on a given task only to find yourself wandering over to the fridge, checking email or Googling symptoms of an obscure illness (we’ve all been there). While procrastination may seem inevitable, try the 15-minute rule: Set a timer for 15 minutes, and commit to working on something you’ve been putting off for ages. Who knows? You might gain some momentum and not feel like stopping once the time is up.

7. Find people to help you.

No matter how driven you are, you’d be foolish to think you can achieve success single-handedly. Even if someone else isn’t aiding you directly, it’s helpful to establish a few individuals whom you can emulate, who will inspire you to persevere or hold you accountable.

For example, a mentor can dispense valuable advice so that you won’t have to learn basic lessons the hard way. You might benefit from a sidekick or cheerleader to keep you motivated and hold you accountable. Find specific people who can help you bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be.

8. Play the role.

Think about who you want to be. How will that new-and-improved version of yourself act? How will you think, speak and live? Chances are, you’ll want to portray yourself as a humble yet confident person. Sit up straight rather than slouch. Look others in the eye and listen to what they say rather than gaze into the distance or let your mind wander. Be deliberate about the words you use. If you can learn from others, make a good impression and discipline yourself to show the world your true aspirations, success will more likely follow.

9. Conduct periodic progress check-ins.

It’s not enough to incorporate new habits and ditch old ones. You have to make time to consistently evaluate yourself to make sure that you’re on track. You might do this once you’ve achieved smaller goals that will build toward a larger one, or if you’ve given yourself a deadline (say a year), schedule quarterly review sessions. During these check-ins with yourself, reflect on what you’ve been doing and determine whether it’s working or how you might revise your plan. Let what you’ve accomplished inspire you to keep going.

  • Personal Success
  • Sales Success
  • Business Success
  • Leadership Success

There are nine success factors that you must know in order to start moving forward in life.

Each one of these success factors has been proven to be critical to the achievement of the best life possible for any given person. By systematically implementing one or more of these success factors into your life, you can put your foot on the accelerator of your own career and achieve the best life for yourself.

1. Education

The first of the nine success factors is education.

In our society, the highest paid people are those who know more than the average. They know more of the critical facts, ideas and information than the average person in their field. As a result, they can make a more valuable contribution to a knowledge-based society and live the best life possible . They are valued more, respected more and ultimately paid more money and promoted more often.

The rule is that, “to earn more, you must learn more.” If you want to increase your level of income and achieve the best life for yourself, you must increase your level of intellectual capital and thereby the value of the knowledge component of what you are doing.

2. Skill

The second of the nine success factors that you can use to achieve the best life possible is simply skill.

Your level of ability in your field will determine the quality and quantity of your results. The better you get at what you do, the easier it is for you to start moving forward to get a particular level of results.

As you increase your skill, through study and experience, you get better and better at doing the small things that increase the speed and predictability of your results.

3. Contacts

The third success factor for moving forward and achieving the best life is by developing an ever-widening circle of contacts.

You will find that every major change in your life is accompanied by a person or persons who either opens or closes doors for you. The possibility of the best life for you will be determined by the number of people who know you and like you and who are willing to help you.

In order to broaden your network of contacts, you must network continually, at every opportunity. There seems to be a direct relationship between the number of people you know and how successful you are.

4. Money

Having money in the bank gives you greater freedom and the ability to take advantage of opportunities when they come along. If you are broke, or in debt, you have very few options open to you.

One of the most important things I ever learned in life is that you are only as free as your options. If you have no options, you have no freedom. If you are stuck in a dead-end job that you cannot leave because you have no money set aside, you have put a brake on your potential. You are locked in place and have no option for moving forward. You can end up spinning your wheels and losing months and years of your time by the very fact that you have no choice but to accept whatever is being handed to you.

5. Good Work Habits

The fifth of the success factors that enables you to get far more done in a shorter period of time is simply good work habits.

Your ability to increase your ROTI, or “Return on Time Invested” can enable you to accomplish vastly more in a shorter period of time than another person who is disorganized and sloppy.

Developing good work habits requires that you think before acting. You make a list and set priorities on the list before you begin. Good work habits require that you consider the likely consequences, positive or negative of what you are doing.

6. Positive Mental Attitude

The sixth success factor for your career and life is to reduce the amount of time that it takes you to achieve your goals is by developing a positive mental attitude.

A positive mental attitude is very much a decision that you make. Remember, you become what you do. If you engage in the same activities that positive, confident, optimistic people engage in, you will eventually become one of them and live your best life possible.

Anyone can remain positive when things are going well. It is your ability to look for the good in every situation that you see positive and start moving forward in life.

7. Positive Image

The seventh of the success factors you can incorporate into your lifestyle, and one that can help you achieve the best life for yourself, is the development of a positive image.

People judge you by the way you look on the outside, by the way you appear. The fact is that you judge everyone else by the way they look on the outside, as well. Taking time to present an attractive image in your person, your clothing, your grooming and your accessories can have an inordinate impact on the doors that open for you and the people who are willing to help you start moving forward in your life.

8. Creativity

Creativity is another wonderful way to start moving forward in life and to increase the speed at which you achieve your goals. Creativity is something that requires that you continually look for better, faster, easier, cheaper ways to get the job done. Remember, one good idea is all you need to start a fortune.

9. Character

Perhaps the most important of the success factors to accelerating your life is your character.

Self-discipline combined with honesty will open countless doors for you.

Trust is the foundation of all relationships. When people know you and believe in you and are convinced that they can trust you to keep your word and do what you say you will do, they will feel that they are far more likely to get the things they want through you, to get the things they want, faster, sooner, easier and with greater certainty.

Thank you for reading this article on moving forward and living the best life possible. Do you know of any other factors that can help you become successful and accelerate your career?

Do you want to start achieving any goal you can imagine? It all starts with my 14-Step Goal-Setting Guide.

To learn how to form great habits that will lead you to success, check out my recent post 7 Goal Oriented Habits Of Successful People.

About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian’s goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology. Read full profile

How to achieve goals and increase your chance of success

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What do you think it takes to achieve your goals? Hard work? Lots of actions? While these are paramount to becoming successful in reaching our goals, neither of these are possible without a positive mindset.

As humans, we naturally tend to lean towards a negative outlook when it comes to our hopes and dreams. We are prone to believing that we have limitations either from within ourselves or from external forces keeping us from truly getting to where we want to be in life. Our tendency to think that we’ll “believe it when we see it” suggests that our mindsets are focused on our goals not really being attainable until they’ve been achieved. The problem with this is that this common mindset fuels our limiting beliefs and shows a lack of faith in ourselves.

The Success Mindset

Success in achieving our goals comes down to a ‘success mindset’. Successful mindsets are those focused on victory, based on positive mental attitudes, empowering inclinations and good habits. Acquiring a success mindset is the sure-fire way to dramatically increase your chance to achieve your goals.

The idea that achieving our goals comes down to our habits and actions is actually a typical type of mindset that misses a crucial point; that our mindset is, in fact, the determiner of our energy and what actions we take. A negative mindset will tend to create negative actions and similarly if we have a mindset that will only set into action once we see ‘proof’ that our goals are achievable, then the road will be much longer and arduous. This is why, instead of thinking “I’ll believe it when I see it”, a success mindset will think “I’ll see it when I believe it.”

The Placebo Effect and What It Shows Us About The Power of Mindset

The placebo effect is a perfect example of how mindset really can be powerful. In scientific trials, a group of participants were told they received medication that will heal an ailment but were actually given a sugar pill that does nothing (the placebo). Yet after the trial the participants believed it’s had a positive effect – sometimes even cured their ailment even though nothing has changed. This is the power of mindset.

How do we apply this to our goals? Well, when we set goals and dreams how often do we really believe they’ll come to fruition? Have absolute faith that they can be achieved? Have a complete unwavering expectation? Most of us don’t because we hold on to negative mindsets and limiting beliefs about ourselves that stop us from fully believing we are capable or that it’s at all possible. We tend to listen to the opinions of others despite them misaligning with our own or bow to societal pressures that make us believe we should think and act a certain way. There are many reasons why we possess these types of mindsets but a success mindset can be achieved.

How To Create a Success Mindset

People with success mindsets have a particular way of perceiving things. They have positive outlooks and are able to put faith fully in their ability to succeed. With that in mind, here are a few ways that can turn a negative mindset into a successful one.

1. A Success Mindset Comes From a Growth Mindset

How does a mindset even manifest itself? It comes from the way you talk to yourself in the privacy of your own head. Realising this will go a long way towards noticing how you speak to yourself and others around you. If it’s mainly negative language you use when you talk about your goals and aspirations then this is an example of a fixed mindset.

A negative mindset brings with it a huge number of limiting beliefs. It creates a fixed mindset – one that can’t see beyond it’s own limitations. A growth mindset sees these limitations and looks beyond them – it finds ways to overcome obstacles and believes that this will result in success. When you think of your goal, a fixed mindset may think “what if I fail?” A growth mindset would look at the same goal and think “failures happen but that doesn’t mean I won’t be successful.”

There’s a lot of power in changing your perspective.

2. Look For The Successes

It’s really important to get your mind focused on positive aspects of your goal. Finding inspiration through others can be really uplifting and keep you on track with developing your success mindset; reinforcing your belief that your dreams can be achieved. Find people that you can talk with about how they achieved their goals and seek out and surround yourself with positive people. This is crucial if you’re learning to develop a positive mindset.

3. Eliminate Negativity

You can come up against a lot of negativity sometimes either through other people or within yourself. Understanding that other people’s negative opinions are created through their own fears and limiting beliefs will go a long way in sustaining your success mindset. But for a lot of us, negative chatter can come from within and these usually manifest as negative words such as can’t, won’t, shouldn’t. Sometimes, when we think of how we’re going to achieve our goals, statements in our minds come out as negative absolutes: ‘It never works out for me’ or ‘I always fail.’

When you notice these coming up you need to turn them around with ‘It always works out for me!’ and ‘I never fail!’ The trick is to believe it no matter what’s happened in the past. Remember that every new day is a clean slate and for you to adjust your mindset.

4. Create a Vision

Envisioning your end goal and seeing it in your mind is an important trait of a success mindset. Allowing ourselves to imagine our success creates a powerful excitement that shouldn’t be underestimated. When our brain becomes excited at the thought of achieving our goals, we become more committed, work harder towards achieving it and more likely to do whatever it takes to make it happen.

If this involves creating a vision board that you can look at to remind yourself every day then go for it. Small techniques like this go a long way in sustaining your success mindset and shouldn’t be dismissed.

An Inspirational Story…

For centuries experts said that running a mile in under 4 minutes was humanly impossible. On the 6th May 1954, Rodger Bannister did just that. As part of his training, Bannister relentlessly visualised the achievement, believing he could accomplish what everyone said wasn’t possible…and he did it.

What’s more amazing is that, as soon as Bannister achieved the 4-minute mile, more and more people also achieved it. How was this possible after so many years of no one achieving it? Because in people’s minds it was suddenly possible – once people knew that it was achievable it created a mindset of success and now, after over fifty years since Bannister did the ‘impossible’, his record has been lowered by 17 seconds – the power of the success mindset!

A guide for a setting—and achieving—your long-term goals.

THE BASICS

  • What Is Motivation?
  • Find a therapist near me

How to achieve goals and increase your chance of success

Creating a goal is the first step toward getting the outcomes you want. But actually achieving the goal requires taking further steps and confronting a host of challenges. The following 10 steps are proven to be valuable with long-term behavior changes like health promotion or psychotherapy (Oettingen et al., 2018).

1. Goals. Goals basically guide our choices. The more specific the goal, the better able people are to reach it. Specific goals lead to better performance than “do your best” goals. A specific goal (walking at least 30 minutes every day) is more concrete and easier to monitor. By focusing on fewer goals, we increase the chance of achievement. With too many goals, we often are afraid of making the wrong choice, so we end up doing nothing. As Plato counseled: “Do one thing, and do it well.”

2. Motivation. Motivation is generally described as the force that drives us to pursue a goal. The more you want the goal, the more likely you are willing to make the efforts and sacrifices required to achieve it. We rarely do anything if we lack emotion or don’t care about it.

3. Self-confidence. A strong belief in one’s capacity for achievement is essential for success. Self-confidence is the opposite of anxiety and self-doubt. The confident individual is more likely to persist in the face of obstacles. Confidence is acquired by knowledge, practice/experience, and effort.

4. Progress monitoring. Goals do not work well unless one can track progress. Progress monitoring serves to identify discrepancies between current and desired states. Monitoring progress also helps one to concentrate on goal-relevant activities.

5. Compromise between feasibility and desirability. People generally underestimate the difficulty of successful goal pursuit. For a distant future, individuals commit themselves to goals that are highly desirable but less feasible. However, for the near future, individuals prefer goals that are less desirable but highly feasible (Trope and Liberman, 2010). So it is important to identify and abandon goals that are unlikely to be achieved (e.g., learning piano in six months).

6. Foreseeing obstacles. As noted above, successful goal pursuits require figuring out which wishes are desirable and feasible and which ones to let go. Mental contrasting is a powerful tool to link desirable goals to present reality. By imagining the future and then imagining obstacles of reality, one recognizes that measures need to be taken to overcome the obstacles (status quo) to achieve the desired future (Oettingen, 2012).

7. The power of believing that you can improve. Some people have a fixed theory, believing that their qualities, such as their intelligence, are simply fixed traits. Others have a malleable theory, believing that their most basic qualities can be developed through their efforts and education. Evidence shows that people with a malleable theory are more willing to learn, able to stick to difficult tasks, and capable of bouncing back from failures (Dweck, 2006).

8. Dealing with temptation. Sticking to one’s plan is hard work. We, humans, are notoriously poor at following through with our plans. Gollwitzer (2018) shows that by transforming goals into specific contingency plan, such as in the form “if X, then Y” (for example, “if I see pastry, then I will avoid them”), we can significantly increase the chance of success. The strategy produces automatic behavior. That is, the person doesn’t have to exert deliberate effort in confronting tempting situations.

9. The power of small steps. Nothing is more motivating than the power of small wins. As the saying goes, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” For example, a depressed individual can find the challenges and chores of everyday life overwhelming, but those difficulties can seem less burdensome after getting up from the chair and taking a short walk or a shower. Once a person gets going in the desired direction, it’s easier to keep going.

10. Anticipated regret. Anticipated regret can promote goal achievement via guilt about missed opportunity. Regret helps people stick to their intentions and be more successful in self-control, such as eating healthy food (Zeelenberg, 1999).

Dweck Carol S. (2011), Mindset: The New Psychology of Success Ballantine Books

Oettingen G, Sevincer T, and Gollwitzer P. (2018). The Psychology of Thinking about the Future. NY: Guilford Press.

Trope, Y., & Liberman, N. (2010). Construal level theory of psychological distance. Psychological Review, 117, 440-463.

Zeelenberg, M. (1999). Anticipated regret, expected feedback and behavioral decision-making. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making,12,93–106.