We all have goals we want to achieve—a bucket list of sorts. Maybe it’s a bigger, nicer home or a promotion at work or weight loss or getting the kids off to college—or even something less tangible, like emotional stability. Bottom line, we are all striving for some kind of positive change. If we weren’t, there wouldn’t be much point to anything we do. But we also know that change doesn’t happen overnight: It requires dedication, hard work and patience. And, it requires a concrete plan of action.
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It all needs to be realistic. Setting unrealistic goals means expending a great deal of effort in vain. But also don’t underestimate yourself. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in life is be blind to your potential. Many people misunderstand the difference between being realistic and recognizing potential, even if there is no evidence (yet) to back up that potential. This happens a lot in the world of trading. Deciding what your goals should be means truly understanding who you are and what you are capable of. Just because you’ve never done a certain thing before, doesn’t mean you won’t be good at it. Take some time to psycho-analyze yourself and then figure out what’s realistic, but—again—don’t underestimate yourself in the process!
Once you’ve got realistic goals, which means you’ve succeeded in understanding who you are and what your strengths and weaknesses are—the only way to move forward is to set those goals down in stone, and then focus, focus, focus.
Setting goals starts with careful planning of what you really want to achieve, and it ends with a lot of hard work to do it. That means it is not enough just to say “I want” this or that—you have to be prepared—mentally and physically—to do what it takes to get there.
Many successful people are great connoisseurs of goal-setting and goal-achievement. When you ask them how they did it, you will probably learn that they used the same strategies each time. There’s a method to the madness and always a pattern to success.
Here are 5 goal achieving steps to help your both formulate and achieve your goals:
Step 1: Pick SMART, Motivational Goals
First of all, goals will never be achieved it they aren’t motivational. This means that the goals you choose absolutely must be goals that you want more than anything else; goals you will stop at nothing to achieve. No one achieves goals that they only half-heartedly desire; your goals must hold significant value for you.
Once you have a goal that is truly motivational, make sure it’s SMART—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-limited.
- Specific: Is your goal specific? If not, it should be. If you try to make a general goal, you’re won’t get very far because it will lack direction. Most general goals can be turned into specific—so start here.
- Measurable – If you can’t measure a goal, you won’t be likely to achieve it. Somehow your goal needs to be measurable, both from the perspective of time and quality/quantity. This is the only way you will know if you were actually successful, or if there’s anything to celebrate or regret.
Achievable – Is your goal really achievable? This is where knowing your strengths and weaknesses comes into play, and this is the most difficult part for everyone. To do this, you have to step outside yourself and analyze your potential. You have to find that balance between what you’re limited yourself to now, and what your true potential is. Again, don’t underestimate yourself and don’t be unrealistic—to know your goal you have to know yourself.
- Relevant – Your goal should be relevant to the direction you want your life to take. Only a relevant goal will keep you focused on what you need to be successful.
- Time-limited – your goal must have a deadline so that you know when to celebrate success. When you set down a deadline, you have automatically given your goal a sense of urgency, which pushes your forward.
You might also need to change your vocabulary during the process. Words such as “would” and “might” are not words that you see you through to success. Positive action words such as “will” WILL get you there. It’s no longer a case of “I want”. It’s a case of, “I will …”.
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Step 2: Write Down Detailed Goals
The act of writing down your goals makes things real. This is the process of setting something in stone, so to speak. It’s how history is made. Once it’s written down, you have no excuse for forgetting your goals.
And though it may seem a small, insignificant act, it will have a major impact on your motivation. If you’ve made it past Step 1, and your goal is SMART, this is when you want to write things down—with plenty of detail. The more detail you include (and you it can be a work in progress), they more probable a successful outcome. The more detail you have, the more likely you’re dealing with something realistic and maximizing your potential. Writing it all down is an adverbial exercise: What, where, when why and to what extent. And while you’re writing, you’ll feel the motivation increasing, and the possibilities opening up before you.
But now that you’ve written then down … make sure they’re visible all the time. Your written goals should serve as a constant reminder to keep you on track. They should stare down at you from your desktop, or your mirror, or anywhere you are likely to see them multiple times a day.
Step 3: Make An Action Plan
Now that you’ve set things in stone, you need a plan of action that recognizes the potential for obstacles, and poses solutions. Don’t trick yourself into only focusing on the outcome, because without a concrete plan of action there will be zero outcome. Write it all down, whether it’s text or a chart … make it detailed and give each step a deadline.
And don’t be thrown off course by obstacles. There WILL be obstacles, and if there aren’t, then your goal was too easy and wouldn’t have been rewarding enough. Success is measured in how many obstacles we can overcome. Obstacles only make us stronger, so be prepared up front to overcome with real solutions. Think ahead of what obstacles might stand in your way and how you plan to remove them.
On their path to the top, successful people typically have more failures than unsuccessful people. Why? Because they keep trying no matter what obstacles are in their way.
A common obstacle is the intangible fear of failure and lack of self-confidence. Decide up front how you are going to deal with this and turn your emotional weaknesses into strengths.
Step 4: Train Your Brain
Reviewing goals everyday must become your daily routine. Every morning, check your list and remind yourself what you’re working towards. Take a moment to start your day by visualizing, or imagining that you’ve already reached your goals and what your life is like. You train your brain in this way to expect and accept nothing short of success.
Step 5: Stick to Your Goals—No Matter What
Persistence is your key to success. You must keep going no matter what life throws your way. You must not let anything derail you on your mission to reach your goal. This is where you find out what you’re made of. If you give up after the first obstacle, you lack persistence.
Celebrate every success along the way, and reward yourself. Every little success counts.
What goal do you have in mind right now? What are you waiting for? Start today …
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