The 3 Best Tips On How To Succeed No Matter Your Goal
Having a firm grasp on our goals is paramount because we often have to work backward to move forward.
By Renee Goyeneche
Goal-setting is a significant psychological mandate; it helps facilitate autonomy and creates purpose in our lives. Formulating and working toward goals helps us develop new skills, teaches us the value of drive and perseverance, and builds confidence and resilience. It also provides an object lesson about life’s inherent need for adaptability, which is arguably the most important thing any of us can learn.
There are three essential things to remember as you move toward your goals:
1) It’s not enough to have goals. You need to define and create a path to them.
Having a firm grasp on our goals is paramount because we often have to work backward to move forward. That means determining what you want, then envisioning what it will take to get there. One means of doing this is to design S.M.A.R.T. goals, which incorporate a multi-faceted action plan of Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based tasks. You could leverage this technique, for example, as you plan to write your first novel. Because this is an artistic pursuit and you likely bear the sole responsibility for completion, it’s best to create a SMART plan. It might look something like this:
- Specific: Avoid vague declarations like “I’m going to write a book.” Instead, make the goal specific. “I will write a 100,000-word fantasy novel.”
- Measurable: “I will complete my novel within one year.” This is a quantifiable measurement; you have one year to write the book.
- Attainable: While 100,000 words is a lot of writing, breaking it down mathematically over a year provides a clearer sense of what it will take to meet your goal; you’ll need to write about 2000 words per week. Considering there are approximately 400 words on a page, that’s just five pages per week.
- Relevant: One relevant factor is your writing speed. “I know I write approximately one page per hour, so I will need five hours a week to meet this goal.” Understanding the amount of time you need to allocate enables you to set specific work periods to maintain consistent productivity.
- Time Bound: “I will start writing tomorrow and finish by this date next year.”
Once you fully understand your goal, what it will require of you, and the specific steps you can take to achieve it, you can begin with confidence. Remember, it’s not enough to know the road exists. You need a clear roadmap to help guide you toward your destination.
2) Discouragement can be part of the process, but don’t let it stop you.
One of the most damaging myths about success is the idea that we should expect a straight path to our goals. We often draw the analogy of climbing a mountain on a difficult but linear path. It’s undoubtedly an uphill climb, but on an unsteady slope. We may have to divert to one side to continue climbing, and we should anticipate that along the way, we might lose our footing and wind up sliding back, having to regroup before we continue moving forward.
Change requires risk. Even more than our successes, our failures prove that we’ve journeyed outside our comfort zone to pursue something greater. Stay committed to your goal, and treat failures as a learning experience. They may be a deviation from your original path. They’re not the end of it.
3) Don’t allow others to define you or your ability to reach your goal.
The human psychological process requires us to form judgments in order to interpret circumstances and make decisions. These judgments are critical to moving through the world because we make decisions every day based on available information. But there’s a rub: this information is sometimes factual and sometimes intuitive; we must often bridge a gap between what is quantifiably true and what we believe to be true.
It’s important to remember this dichotomy exists for everyone because the judgment of our abilities by others can be a double-edged sword. While an opinion that we are more capable than we feel can be fortifying, a negative judgment can wield a serious blow to our confidence.
For example, let’s imagine that you are an efficiency expert, and your goal is to give a TED Talk that outlines the most effective way to scale a start-up business as it moves into the growth phase. If a colleague, however well-intentioned, advises against the idea, saying they can’t see you being comfortable up on the big stage, how does that sit?
Before you let that opinion influence your sense of self or the pursuit of your goal, consider that two things often color advice:
- That person has formed a judgment about your capabilities based on limited information, which is, at best, only partially correct. While they may know what they can see from an outside perspective, they’re certainly not privy to your internal goals and aspirations – or what you are willing to do to achieve them. While they may be right that speaking on stage might be outside your comfort zone, they may not be aware that fact is one of the primary reasons you’ve set the goal for yourself.
- Our own worries and insecurities can influence the advice we provide to others. In this circumstance, the advice-giver may fear presenting in front of a large audience. They may be catastrophizing, imagining a worst-case scenario that reflects their own fears rather than your skillset. Or, perhaps, as a colleague, they worry about your career eclipsing their own.
While receiving feedback can sometimes be helpful, always take it with a grain of salt. Ultimately, you’re responsible for and have to live with your choices. Don’t be derailed by someone else’s opinion of what you can or should do.
By setting well-defined goals, we can implement a plan that increases our chance of success, regardless of the endeavor. Set your goals, stay committed, and believe in your own vision.