14 Battle Tested Tips For Achieving Your Goals

Or: How To Kick Failure's Teeth In

Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.– Mario Andretti

Let’s talk about why you haven’t yet accomplished the goals you thought you would by now.

When I was younger, I had a lot of desire to accomplish “great” things. I wanted to write books, travel the world, be in a band, be really healthy, etc. In short, I wanted what I thought at the time was a perfect life.

But I lacked one really important skill set. This skill set trumps all others. Without it, you will never truly accomplish anything great. As a matter of fact, without this skill set, you won’t accomplish anything at all. I’m not talking about writing or technology or being good with people. Those are important skill sets, but the  most important skill set of them all is to pursue your goal with wild abandon. If you want something bad enough, and I mean really want it – then you have to give it everything.

In life, there are no half-measures. If you aren’t giving it your all, then you either don’t really want it (barring physical/mental/emotional limitations) or you don’t think you can get it. Both of these things are surefire ways to not achieve your goal.

I’ll write another post on goal setting and pursuit in the future, but for now, let’s go over the 14 ways you can achieve your goals, both personally and in your business. Knowing that the unspoken “Rule Zero” is to pour all that you are into what you want to accomplish. Here’s a quick video that talks about the power of commitment. This shows you the power of Rule Zero in full effect.

Now, let’s dive into 14 different ways to achieve your goals. These are in no particular order. They range from extremely practical like tip #1 to very esoteric like the tip on meditation.

  1. Use Project Management Software – I used to spend hours typing up what I wanted everyone in my company to do. Then, I would email it to them. This is the  most inefficient way to get something done. If you aren’t using project management software right now, then you need to start right away. My two favorites are Asana and Basecamp. Asana is better for very detailed projects like programming (it’s very task oriented) while basecamp is what I use for very creative projects with a strong visual component like website design.
  2. Let’s get Visual… Visual! – Creating a visual aid to help you represent a goal is a great way to motivate yourself and get more done. To aid in my weight loss once, I made a chart that I hung up in my bedroom. I took the total amount of weight I had to lose and divided it by ten. For example, if you have to lose forty pounds, that’s really just losing four pounds, ten times. You could make a graph of ten squares with each square representing four pounds. Every time you lose four pounds you can X out a square. Better yet, give yourself a reward for each box you cross off. You could even write the reward in the box. Losing 40 pounds may seem like a lot, but losing four pounds ten times… with rewards along the way, doesn’t seem all that hard.
  3. Have Your Team Set Their Own Goals – This one has really paid dividends for me and my company. Instead of creating goals for your team, let them come up with their own goals. They will most likely surprise you with their ambition. And honestly, when they set their own goal, they are more likely to make it happen. It’s all about letting them buy into your company and culture.
  4. Create A Vision Board – This has been talked about a lot, so I won’t go over it in detail in this post. If you aren’t doing this right now, then you need to do it. Create a vision board or dream board of exactly what you want. This can include your dream car, your dream body, the house you’ve always wanted,  the type of business you want to have, etc. You want pictures of all these things. Our minds are very visual. Cut out pictures from magazines or print them off the internet. Paste them on your vision board. Hang it up in your bedroom and study it every day. Visualize yourself living in that house, driving that car, having that body. Then, spend every moment you can making the dream come true.
  5. Make A Commitment Contract – The word contract has a strong connotation to it. We know we have to honor contracts or we can get sued. So, why not take advantage of this powerful correlation and make a contract with yourself? If you have a goal or project you want to complete by a certain date, type it out. You don’t have to write in legalize… just write like you talk. Include exactly what you want to see happen and the date it has to happen by. Then, sign the contract. Hang it up, read it, stare at it. Make it a part of your daily ritual.
  6. Don’t Blame Others – If there’s one trait I’ve seen in successful people time and time again it’s this one. They don’t place blame on others. Usually, successful people take even more blame than they should. This is because we know that there’s also something more we could do. It’s easy to blame others. Most people would rather blame someone or something else instead of looking in the mirror and asking, “what could I have done differently?”. I honestly think that until you accept responsibility for your own life, you will not achieve the amount of success you could.
  7.  Be Open To Change – The only thing that stays the same is that everything changes. Technology changes faster than a fashion trend. Today’s tech titan is tomorrow’s epic failure. The world is changing every day and it’s our job to keep up with it. As a business owner, we are in the business of solving problems. That means we need to keep up with what’s happening in the world and not be afraid of learning new things. Embrace change and success will find you.
  8. Be A Team Player – Success is not a one man show. You can look at any successful person and see that they were surrounded by incredibly talented people. The real secret is to learn to build a team of amazing people and make sure you never put yourself above anyone else. The ultimate model for this is Jesus. He washed his disciple’s feet, and always put others before himself. He didn’t go out of his way to make sure he got credit for everything. We should follow his example. Taking credit for a job well done may feel good at the time, but letting your team share in that is better for the long term.

    “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want. Zig Ziglar”

  9. Meditate Regularly – I have just started implementing this into my daily regimen and the results have been outstanding. I’m not talking about doing all the “ahmmms” and sitting on the floor cross-legged. This may work for some people, but for me, I just focus on emptying my mind. I let the sound of silence wash over me and I do my best to let all thoughts and present reality escape me. I focus on my breathing and go inward. I sometimes listen to guided meditations which can be very helpful. I highly recommend this, especially if you are a very busy person. Just five minutes a day can work wonders.
  10. Find Your Why – If you haven’t read the great book by Simon Sinek, “Start With Why“, then that’s a great place to start. So many times we focus on the “what”. Like, what should I do today to make more money? What goal should I set for myself? In reality, we need to start asking ourselves why a lot more often. I call this, “The Big Why”. I’m talking about the internal motivator that drives you to want to live. What brings you infinite joy? Once you find your “why”, everything else moves into complete focus. Your “why” will show you the way.
  11. Create Checkpoints – Some goals have a longer time horizon. For example, when I was on ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss, I had to lose as much weight as I could in 12 months. At least 50% of my body weight had to be gone in 365 days. That’s a crazy goal, one that many people don’t think is possible. But, we had checkpoints along the way. We weighed in every week and then had “official” weigh-ins every 3 months. We knew that by the end of quarter one we had to have lost at least 12.5% of our body weight. If not, we were already behind. In your own life and business, it’s important to put mile markers or checkpoints on your path. This way, you’ll know if you’re on the right track or not.
  12. Get Clear On What Success Means To You – I see this one a lot when I work with clients. What does success mean to you? Is success a certain amount of money? A certain number of vacation weeks? Being a full-time volunteer? Working more? Success means so many different things to different people that I don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all answer for success. It’s all relative to what you want. So, really decide what success means to you then implement Rule Zero again.

    “Successful people are simply those with successful habits.” — Brian Tracy

  13. Modify Your Plan As Needed – There’s a big difference between sticking with it through the hard times and being hard headed. We all make grand plans that just don’t seem to work out in reality. If you make a plan and it’s not working, don’t be afraid to be flexible and change it. No one is going to care. The truth is, part of your plan should be that you will be changing your plan at some point. If you aren’t open to modifying your plan, you will never be successful long term.
  14. Remember the Pareto Principle – This is also known as the 80/20 principle. There’s a whole book about it. In business, this means that around 80% of your results come from just 20% of your actions. The other 20% comes from the other 80% you do. The key is honing in on what that 20% is and doing more of it. You can also start to cut down on the non-efficient 80%. If you do this, over time, you will get more and more productive (and profitable). The crazy part is that the 80/20 principle never really stops. It’s always at play. If you were to look at the 20% that you do that produces 80% of the results closer, you’d see that within that, 80% of those results come from just 20% of that effort. And so on. Continuing to work on efficiency will net huge gains for you personally and in your business.

Bonus Jonas:

The secret tip named after the lost Jonas brother. Stay positive. Study after study proves that positive people live longer and life more fulfilling lives. Focus on the positive and let the negative stuff pass through you. Holding onto negative past events is like carrying around a bucket of ashes. There’s no point to it. The past is long gone and now only exists as a memory. Holding onto it does you no good. Like Elsa says, “Let it go”.

Successful people maintain a positive focus in life no matter what is going on around them. They stay focused on their past successes rather than their past failures, and on the next action steps they need to take to get them closer to the fulfillment of their goals rather than all the other distractions that life presents to them. – Jack Canfield

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