No matter how passionate we are, no matter how fully excited we are to jump out of bed and get started on something, follow-through on a short- or long-term goal can often be a nightmare. Things pop up unexpectedly…sick relatives, extra bills, or relationship issues all throw us off track from time to time. Not to mention, we have this little fear inside us of failure (and success) that keeps us away from our goals. So how do really successful people do it? How to they get there?
Here's part of the answer: They stay committed to their goals. Not because they're inherently more motivated, but because they do what they need to when they feel as if they might go off the rails. They re-center. Want to know how? Follow these seven tips and you might be surprised at what you can accomplish this year in terms of the goals you set for yourself.
1. Keep it S.M.A.R.T.
This acronym is a classic way to write down your goals for maximum feasibility. First, make it Specific; second, make it Measurable; third make it Attainable; fourth, make it Realistic; and fifth make it Time-Bound. If you follow those steps, you're bound to break up bigger goals into smaller actions that can be accomplished on their own. Each step you take will help motivate you to move on to the next thing. Write the larger goal on a piece of paper and smaller steps below. Give them a realistic but relatively urgent time frame to completion.
2. Visualize the Outcome—Often
There's nothing like repetition to set a thought in motion. And before your goals become your reality, they're thoughts, dreams. Make them real by visualizing the end product, as often as you like. Set a reminder on your calendar to do a visualization at least once per week. Look at your goal(s) sheet and remind yourself of what's been done and what still needs to be addressed.
3. Create a Mantra
There is a reason why the concept of mantras has been alive and well for millennia: they work. They help put you in the correct mindset and keep you there for whatever you're trying to achieve. The words aren't important, only that they create an emotional connection for you and your goals when you say them. It could be "The Love of My Life," or "That Corner Office at Conde Nast," or "I am an arrow heading straight toward my ideal life."
4. Get a New Perspective on Setbacks
Literally, get a new perspective on setbacks. How? A surefire way is to read biographies of people whom you admire or who've reached a level of success you'd like to emulate. Life stories allow us to realize that everyone from Warren Buffet to Audrey Hepburn has suffered disappointments, and that at certain times, every successful person has had to exercise patience, tact and superhero-like persistence. They're highly entertaining as well as inspirational, too. When you need motivation juice, this is where to find it. Highlight your favorite passages as you read, so you can revisit on short notice for an emergency dose.
5. Pick Your Team
Who you have in your corner is integral to your success. When you're serious about your commitment to a goal, take a break from anyone who isn't supportive of it. Stay away from people who gossip, people who aren't very good listeners and people who are goalless. I know, it sounds harsh, but a tenet of achievement is sacrifice. The further along you get, the more people you'll meet who are in line with your purpose, it's like kismet.
6. Give Yourself an Auto-Response
How often have you mused idly to yourself, "Wouldn't it be great if…" or some version thereof? What if after every time you thought this, you auto-responded with, "I'm going to go for it!" This can change your entire mindset when it comes to what you think you can achieve and what you do achieve. Don't let one more dismissive what-if thought go through your head without thinking, "I'm going to try." You can do this for any thought that isn't taking you or your desires seriously.
7. Ship It
Seth Godin tells us in an article he wrote for 99u.com that shipping your product (or in this case finishing your goal, engaging in your passion) is more important than perfecting it. That getting it done and out the door is better than agonizing over last details. Right before we "go live" on a goal, we tend to resist the hardest. Adopting a "ship it!" attitude will encourage you to get it done. And if Seth, the guru of DIY-Dream Lives, tells you it's more important to act than to overthink, you can bet he's right. So when you're wavering, when you're 99.8% sure it's good, tell yourself it's good enough and ship it.