We all have goals; some people have more ambitious ones than others. Have you ever stopped to wonder why that is? Why some people are more successful than others? Are they smarter, richer, or somehow more savvy? Maybe, but in most cases it is because they have a clearer vision of what they want to do in life and an aggressive plan on how to get there. From that point, it then becomes a matter of following the plan.
But that is not always as easy as it sounds. Here you will find some tips and techniques successful people use to get where they want to go and how you can use these same tips to achieve your life goals. So let’s get started!
How to Get Clear on Your Life Vision
Life is like a road trip – before starting out, we map out the best route to get to our destination. Most of us would not think to get in the car and start driving without having a destination and map of how to get there, yet many of us do this exact thing with our life – no vision or idea of how to get there. The two go hand-in-hand … you must have the vision or goal set, and then plan the things you must do to achieve it. But how do you do that?
Your life vision starts out with asking yourself (and not being afraid to answer honestly) what you really want to do with your life personally and professionally. In this day and age, we can almost do anything we put our mind to doing. There are so many opportunities that the hardest part is sifting through them all to find the one you want. Rely on your dreams, values, aspirations, and desires to help you make the right choice for you.
For most people, it is only feasible to plan out their next five or ten years at the most. In some cases, they will be able to go out longer – out to 20 or 30 years, but it is best to start small and build on that choice. Starting small does one other thing – the way technology changes, what you want to do five years from now may not even exist or it may have evolved into something that did not exist five years ago when you planned it out. On top of that, you will also be growing along the way, which will also open up new possibilities you may not have considered before. By going out only five years, you will have fewer adjustments to make along the way.
To make the process easier, journal your thoughts or use a vision board to document all the things that go into your decision. Don’t be surprised if it ends up taking more time that you thought to reach a conclusion.
When you are planning out your life vision, start at the far end and work backwards back to today. As counterintuitive as it may sound, this is the best way to plan out your life. For example, if you want to be a surgeon, you would plan backward from the kind of surgeon you want to be first, then the school that teaches that surgery. Next you would choose a medical school to become a doctor first. Then which school you would go to get your four-year degree. It could even come down to choosing which courses would serve you best to take in high school. But in this example, you first must have the life goal set – wanting to be a specific type of surgeon.
How to Choose and Set Big, Scary Goals
Many of us take too conservative of an approach to our goal setting. Why? Because we do not want to set a goal so high that we end up failing.
But here is the truth – even if you do not achieve your big, scary goal, you most likely have progressed much farther than you would have if you had set a lesser goal. So even though you did not achieve what you started out to accomplish, you still ended up farther down the road because of your lofty goal.
However, there is such a thing as a goal being too high – so high that the chance of accomplishing it is almost nil. As a guide to setting your goal, check to see if other people have accomplished what you want to do and see how they got there. If you have similar resources available, then you should be able to attain a similar goal, too. But if nobody has achieved it, it might not realistically attainable unless you have a particularly creative slant to achieving it that no one else has yet tried.
And speaking of people, another tip is to surround yourself with other successful people. It is proven that success breeds success. If you read or talk to other people that have accomplished similar goals, it lights a fire in you and boosts your desire to succeed even higher. In doing so, many times you can learn from their accumulated insights and experiences to discover new opportunities and avoid preventable mistakes along the way.
As the creator of the light bulb Thomas Edison once said, “I didn’t fail. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work!” There are two lessons to be learned here: First don’t look at your mistakes as failures, they are just part of your learning process. Second, persistence pays off, and even though you may hit some speed bumps along the way, in the end you will succeed.
And something else to ponder – most of the wealthiest people today have been wealthy, lost it all (some several times over), but then came back to build an even higher level of wealth. In short, don’t be afraid of failure. The mistakes you make are just part of the process – especially if you are going into uncharted or unexplored territory goal-wise.
One last thing on choosing big and scary goals – have you accomplished something in the past that you thought you did not have a chance of accomplishing? If so, use that as fuel for your current fire. Success builds on success. And what if you don’t yet have any inspirational accomplishments? Use the success of others as your catalyst! If they can do it, so can you.
How to Get Over the Fear That Your Life Goals Are Impossible
We all have things we would like to accomplish in life. Even if you may not have clearly-expressed goals written down in your journal or on your vision board yet, deep down there is a fire smoldering that is just waiting for that breath of wind to ignite it into a firestorm. But many people let fear prevent that fire from becoming anything more than the smolder. Why is that?
What people say matters to us – just make sure it is the right people we listen to.
Dr. Seuss, the well-known American children’s book author once said, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” That is pretty heavy philosophy for children under the age of 6 – it is even heavy for us adults.
In other words, the people that mock your failure do not impact your life, so it doesn’t matter what they think, and with the people that do impact your life, your failure doesn’t matter to them … because in most cases they have failed at things, too, and came back in their own right, so they understand your plight and will encourage you to bounce back and continue your journey.
This is a good quote to keep handy and to remind yourself of often. In this day of social media, many people say hurtful things on these platforms that they would never say to that person face-to-face. But because they can hide behind the scenes, they think it is okay to negatively impact people. The problem is that people care about what others say and because of what was said, many take it to heart with devastating results. It has happened several times over the course of the last few years. But those people making the hurtful comments in most cases do not impact the person being hurt beyond words being said, so do your best to brush it off and focus on the people that can (and do) impact you. They are your true friends and the ones that will help you reach your life goals.
You will fail – get over it!
We all fail at some point. Some failures may be small and inconsequential; others may be devastating. You must accept failure for what it is – one way that didn’t work. Analyze why it didn’t work, adjust and drive forward. If road you took at the fork led to an insurmountable roadblock, back up and take the other one instead. A good mantra to keep in mind is what doesn’t kill you just makes you stronger!
Adjust with the times
Here is another quote worth keeping in mind; the great John Wooden, the Head Basketball Coach at the University of California – Los Angeles from 1948 to 1975 once said, “Failure itself isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be.” This is especially applicable today the way jobs are being replaced by technology. If you don’t change with the times, the job you are doing today could be non-existent tomorrow. In this case it would be fatal to your professional life because you did not keep pace with changing times.
How to Make Scary Goals More Manageable
Having scary goals brings with it a certain amount of fear. Whether real or perceived, that fear can have a significant impact upon you and ultimately your accomplishment of those life goals. So how do you get past the fears holding you back and move forward again? In these three ways:
- Breaking goals down into smaller chunks
- Remembering your ‘why’
- Learn what is holding you back
Breaking goals down into smaller chunks
Remember the old adage “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!”. It is true when faced with what seems like insurmountable and scary goals of things you want to accomplish. Here is how to take the scariness out.
First write down all the things you must do to accomplish the end goal – your life’s goal. A journal is a good place to write these down. Next, separate the tasks into bite-sized chunks – something you can get done in the time allotted for that piece. After that, put each chunk on a timeline with a milestone of when you think you should have it done – a mini-deadline date.
Now use your timeline, due date, chunk of tasks and get started. If something is taking you longer than expected, adjust your timeline appropriately so that you have the time you need to finish that group of tasks. If that pushes everything else farther out, then so be it. After all, what is the worst that can happen if you accomplish your goal a little later on your timeline than expected. At least you are making forward progress toward accomplishment and success!
Remembering your ‘why’
Sometimes we get so involved in our mini-goals or other things in life that we overlook or forget about the end goal. When you feel that happening, bring back up and review your reason or ‘why’ you are doing what you are doing. It was important in the beginning and most likely is still an important goal to work toward, but in the heat of the moment, you lost your way and got off track. But by reviewing your plan for life (because you had written everything down in your journal or on your vision board), it can bring back the drive or desire – your ‘why’ if you will – for doing this in the first place and can be the kick in the butt you need to get going again and back on track.
Learn what is holding you back
In many cases we get off track because something is holding us back. Until you figure out what that is, it can be difficult to make forward progress again. And what is holding you back can prevent you from getting started in the first place or crop up unexpectedly mid-way on your journey. You must get past the ‘what’ that is holding you back.
To get past the ‘what’, you must first identify it. It usually is some “obstacle” in your way. And it can be at the unconscious level, so you are not even aware of it – you just know something is inhibiting your progress. One thing to look out for is limiting beliefs. These are things from your past that are driving your negative thinking. Usually a trigger of some sort brings them up and starts affecting you. Write down the feelings or emotions of your thoughts that happen, when they happen and what triggered them. Working backwards like this, you should be able to identify the limiting belief – something from your past that is holding you back. Once identified, you can dispel that thought as false and turn it into a positive that it is something you can do, so your progress is no longer impeded.
Mindset Techniques to Help You Focus On Your Goals
Much of what we do accomplish or don’t is due to our mindset. Our minds are very powerful – much more so than most of us think – so whatever your mind is thinking, your body will often do. And this is also the case when working toward life goals. But fortunately, there are some techniques we can use to change a negative mindset into a more positive one.
Also known as guided imagery, it is an intervention technique that focuses our imagination in a positive way. There are actually two types of visualizations: process and outcome. In the first, we focus on a routine or practicing of a habit. This is the one you see athletes using frequently use before they perform an event.
You see it all the time – the small things they do (in sequence) before each and every event. Swimmers for example will shake their arms and legs before getting ready to dive in; golfers will frequently swing their club back and forth while eyeing up the path from their ball to the hole.
The second type is rehearsing the thoughts and emotions we will feel once we achieve our life goal. At times they can be overwhelming in themselves. Ideally the best results come from a combination of both types of visualizations.
Visualizations work because our mind doesn’t distinguish between what has happened and what has not. So by going through your script to make your visualization happen repeatedly each day, the mind thinks it is happening. This in turn brings you more opportunities and confidence to make your visualization actually happen than you would have had without visualizations.
This mindset technique is the drive or the ‘why’ that keeps you working toward your goal. And while similar to the mindset above, this one uses physical types of inspiration. Some people use this mindset technique in the form of motivational quotes printed and placed in places where they can see, read, and ponder them each day. Others write out a list of reasons why they are working toward their goal. They read that list each day and make time to meditate each item on the list. Some people use things different from these two examples.
The point is whatever method you use to inspire you has to be physical and must speak directly to you. Hence because it speaks only to you, while you can pattern your inspiration mindset off of someone who has succeeded using theirs, you will need to really think through and personalize it to you. In other words, use another person’s method as an inspiration for your mindset if you want;,or you can create something entirely new and untested from the start.
Raising your vibration
This mindset technique is somewhat of a combination of visualization and inspiration. Here is how it works. Every thought and feeling that comes across your mind has a value or resonates at a certain vibrational level. The higher you can get a thought to resonate, the closer you get to intention – the place where you feel joy, happiness, and the feeling that your ultimate life dream might actually can become an accomplished goal.
Every single thought that crosses your mind can have an impact on you. Whether you choose to let it influence you or not is your decision. By dismissing the ones that could have a negative impact and focusing on the ones positively affecting you, you’ll raise your vibration toward a more positive and higher value. The more you practice this, the more natural positive thinking becomes.
To help you with this mindset, create a list of affirmations or things that you are thankful for in your life. Post them where you can frequently see them as you go about your day. When you run across them, repeat each of them either silently or out loud a few times.
Meditation is another way to practice the vibration mindset. Set aside some time each day to clear your mind and connect with yourself on a higher level. How you do it or for how long is up to you; the value from this comes from doing it each and every day.
As strange as it may seem, the kinds of food you eat can also affect your vibration level. Foods that are artificial, processed, treated with pesticides or made from unnatural chemicals will lower your vibration level. You will also want to limit or avoid flour-based foods, cereals, dairy, and sugar. However, organic foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and olive oil increase your vibrations.
Surrounding Yourself with Positive People
Just like misery loves company, so does success. Because our life is a reflection of our actions, the more we put into it, the more we will get out of it. The same is true with the people you associate with. The more positive those folks are, the more positive you will become. It is almost like some invisible thing rubs off from them to you. And, of course, the same is true if you hang out with negative people.
But remember we are trying to raise our vibration level and not lower it, so positive people for friends, acquaintances, and even co-workers are a better choice. And because you are trying to be positive, you will have more in common with them anyway.
And something interesting will happen, too, as you become more positive. You will attract more positive people around you. Your positive aura projects out and draws in the type of people you want to associate with to you. You most likely would never have connected with them otherwise. Now your sphere of positivity has grown to a new level and these people will help you get closer to your goal.
Traits of Positive People
Positive people share some traits that negative people do not possess. In particular, we focus on being relentless workers, having positive attitudes in everything we do, being extremely inquisitive asking question surrounding topics of interest to us, and being dreamers. Let’s look at each one in more detail.
Relentless workers – These people work hard, and by associating with them, they will in turn push you to work harder and do more. Their true passion and commitment to their work is their recipe for success, and their drive will push you to do more, too.
Having positive attitudes – It should be no surprise (but probably is to some people) to realize that happy people accomplish more than unhappy ones. While associating with negative people can bog you down, the opposite is true of positive people.
Being extremely inquisitive – By having an inquisitive mind, these people tend to ask questions that may shed a different perspective on a topic – one that may have otherwise not been explored. And by having that different perspective, it can influence some decision that could affect your move toward your goal. The important part is to see all sides of an issue and then make the best decision based on the information you have – information from questions asked by inquisitive associates.
Being a dreamer – By dreaming, we are talking about people that have lofty goals themselves. Through association, you can feed off their goals as a path to your own success. Maybe they are doing something bold that you were afraid to try, but now will because of them trying it and succeeding. In short, you are the sum of the people whom you spend time with. Make sure those people are the ones that will move you closer to your life goal.
Almost all people have goals of some type; some will be loftier than others. Not every effort will immediately succeed, but the accumulated sum of it all eventually will if you don’t give up. Aim high, make a plan, take chances, surround yourself with positive people, keep on track to your goal and you will succeed!