post written by: Marc Chernoff

How To Achieve Your Goals


Achieve Your Goals

‘How To Achieve Your Goals’ was written by Vincent, author of Health Money Success.

So you have some goals, but you just can’t seem to achieve them.  You’re frustrated, right?  Well, why is it so hard?  Do only a few lucky people get to achieve their goals?  No…

It’s all about creating a logical plan and executing it.

There are three big reasons why people fail to achieve their goals:

  1. They never set achievable goals to begin with.
  2. They have no plan.
  3. They never take any sort of logical action.

Do you think Steve Jobs and Bill gates were just lucky, or did they have a plan?  You better believe they had a plan – a long, long-term vision.  And then they worked hard and took a series of logical, actionable steps to achieve them.  They didn’t just ‘think it.’  They ‘did it.’

You don’t try to build a wall. You don’t set out and say, “I’m going to build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that has ever been built.” You say, “I’m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid.”
You do this every single day, and soon you have a wall.
-Will Smith

How To Achieve Your Goals

Over the years I have achieved many of my personal goals.  And in all cases this is the methodology I used.  It’s tried and true, and I assure you, it can help you achieve your goals as well.  There are four basic steps:

  • Set achievable goals.
  • Strategize and plan.
  • Take action.
  • Review your progress regularly.

Let’s go through them one at a time.

Set Achievable Goals

When you are climbing the ladder, ensure that
you are leaning against the right wall.

You can climb the ladder as fast as you want, but it’s going to be a giant waste of your time if you get to the top and realize you’re leaning against the wrong wall.  You will need to get this step right to ensure that you are not wasting your efforts on goals that you do not truly want to achieve.  We as humans have a tendency to try to bite off more than we can chew, and this usually causes us to feel frustrated and annoyed.

Because we only have a finite amount of time, it’s foolish to attempt to conquer the world in a day.  Yeah, you could set goals to be the best guitar player, basketball player, football player, lose weight, be financially savvy, earn $10,000 and join the public speaking club all at the same time.  But does that sound logical or achievable?  Not to me it doesn’t.  How can you excel at anything when you are juggling everything?

So the first key is to figure out a few (1 to 3) things that you truly want.  And make sure you truly understand why you want these things.  Otherwise you’ll just lose interest.

Strategize and Plan

Here are the basic strategies you will need to employ to keep your motivation burning and your progress on track:

A)  Paste up your goals where you can see them every day. – Without reminders, you will likely forget about your goals and become easily distracted by other stimuli.  So print them out 10, 20 or 30 times and paste them up in the most prominent, visible areas around your house, office, etc.

B)  Create a visualization board. – For most of us, our mind sees the world in images and we remember images more clearly compared to text and numbers.  A visualization board is basically a large bulletin board filled with clear images of what you want to achieve.  This added visual stimulation can help invoke powerful emotions that will constantly drive your motivation.

If you want to lose weight and get back down a few pants sizes, put an old photo of yourself up on the board.  If you want your blog to start making a thousand dollars a month, find a few success stories online of people that have achieved that goal and stick it up on the board.  You get the idea.  Position the board right next to your work area so you can see it while you work toward your goals.

C)  Form a small mastermind group. – A mastermind group is your support group.  And believe me, this group is a vital entity to your success.  The group can consist of any amount of people (at least 2), but the important thing is that everyone in the group must share similar goals.  It doesn’t help much when you are trying to lose 30 lbs and other members in the group have goals of setting up their own company.

A mastermind group helps to hold all its members accountable.  This will help you maintain consistency in taking action even when laziness gets the best of you.  Be sure to meet with your mastermind group at least once a week.

D)  Create a daily action plan with actionable tasks. – Bullet points A, B and C help you to sustain the desire and motivation to achieve your goals.  This will ensure that you will not give up halfway though and fall backwards on your rear end.  But you also need a real, actionable plan that you can follow every day until you actually do achieve your goals.

Every morning, brainstorm for tasks that will help to bring you closer to your goals and write them down.  Try to create three small actionable tasks each morning and complete them before you go to sleep.  Make them a priority and fit them into your schedule.  Whether you complete them or not makes a big difference in whether or not you will succeed.

If you find it hard to generate the small daily tasks or an actionable plan that will bring you closer to your goals, seek out a mentor, search online, or purchase a book on goal setting.

Here are three books I highly recommend:

Breaking down your goals will help you avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed.  When you are creating your action plan, keep the short-term tasks in mind instead of obsessing over the long-term end result.  Obsessing over long-term results just creates stress.  It is far easier to think on a short-term task-related basis. And as long as you complete your tasks, the results will take care of themselves.  For instance, if you want to write a book, don’t obsess about completing the book (long-term results oriented), just focus on writing a page or two a day (short-term task-related) and soon you will have your book completed.

E)  Set a deadline. – You will also need to set a deadline for your goal.  A long-term goal without a deadline will not instill any sense of urgency in you.  And defining a deadline also gives you something to look forward to.

Take Action

This step doesn’t need a long explanation.  Just take your daily action plan that we created above and DO IT!  More than anything, successfully achieving any goal hinges on the simple act of making a decision to absorb yourself fully in the process of getting things done – actually taking action.

Review Your Progress Regularly

An airplane goes slightly off its set course 70 to 80 percent of the time during an average flight, but the pilots always manage to land it in the exact location they intended.  How?  It’s quite simple.  Every time they go off course, they make a slight adjustment to correct it.

Reviewing your goals regularly will help you to check your progress to determine if any adjustments are required. In addition, monitoring your progress will also likely motivate you to try even harder.  Whenever we see positive results, we have the tendency to take more action so we can see more positive results.

Parting Words

This article was inspired by one of the comments I recently received over on my blog.  It seems that people are often frustrated that they can’t stick to their goals and achieve the results they want in life.  I hope this article helps.  I would love to hear some feedback from you in the comments section below.  I’ll be sure to follow-up.  Cheers.

Author’s Bio: Vincent writes about personal development over at Health Money Success.  His aim is to help people awaken the sleeping genius within them so they can achieve their desired success in life.  He has also created a free ebook called Unleash Your Maximum Potential.

Photo by: James Jordan

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33 Comments

  • Nice post Marc and Vincent,

    Planning and taking action are 2 important steps to achieve any goal. I just would like to add that persistence is also one of the major steps that are needed to achieve your goals.

    Brilliant article :)

  • I really like the idea of reviewing the plan and modifying it, this will prevent loss of hope if results weren’t as expected. Keep it up Marc (and Vincent). :)

  • Nice article! I especially like the idea of forming a “mastermind group”. Connecting with people working towards a similar goal is a powerful tool - it allows you to focus your collective energies even if the goal itself is personal. I was a competitive swimmer for many years and while we competed as individuals, I would not have achieved the results I did if it was not for the squad that I was a part of. Together we saw each other through the hard work.

    Nice stuff :)

  • Hi Marc,

    Thanks for the opportunity to have my guest article published at MarcAndAngel.

    I will be here to reply to comments and answer any available questions.

    Cheers,
    Vincent

  • Hi Dia,

    Persistence is one of the keys to achieving our goals. Too many people fail not because they lack the ability, but they lack the patience and determination to reach their goals.

    Cheers,
    Vincent

  • Now this is what I’m talking about, Marc! You heard us ask for a nice self-help article, and you answered.

    I enjoy most of your articles, but I liked this one, because I’ve just started my own blog, Finally.

    And as you know, it’s difficult, but articles like this help me get through times when I struggle with myself.

    Thankyou,

    –Parker

  • OK so this post is great and everything…
    but Marc- seriously. You’ve posted something along these lines 100 times before.

    A lot of us come to your blog in hopes of reading things that are actually inspirational– life stories, not a list of how my life could be better.

    I’m sure you’re going to get a million bazillion comments saying this post was super awesome and changed my life forever - but it’s probably not the truth.
    People aren’t inspired by a list of things they are doing wrong- people are inspired by love- by understanding- by a weird story about your cat– people are inspired by real life.
    Get back to that, please!

  • Awesome summary about goal setting. I have taught courses and seminars about goal setting yet I still find new angles, new ideas and strategies that help. This article basically cuts through most of the fluff around goal setting and provides you with some very clear actionable steps.

    I really like that you placed an emphasis on setting proper expectations. As an often over-ambitious person, I find I set my goals very very high and often come short of achieving them. There is a fine balance. I think you should set big goals BUT only 1 big goal at a time. Make sure you actually achieve some of your goals so you can build momentum and gain confidence along the way.

    Best advice from this article in my opinion… the Mastermind group. There is no better forcing function then having other people hold you accountable for something you said you would do. This really works!

  • this will prevent loss of hope if results weren’t as expected. Keep it up Marc

  • We’re closing in on achieving a really huge goal (being able to travel around the world), and we’ve learned a few things along the way:

    1. Tell everyone what you are doing. They will support you, ask questions, and give you the incentive to keep going.

    2. Break your goal down into bite-sized pieces and focus on achieving each one of those. It really is all about baby steps (and taking the first step is often the hardest).

    3. Don’t focus on too many things at once. We got our budget under control first, and then we started slowly getting rid of possessions. Then we got more aggressive with each as time went by and we became more comfortable with this new lifestyle. Don’t try to do everything at once - it is too overwhelming.

    Last, I would say don’t sweat the details. You’ll find that solutions present themselves when you actively work step-by-step on your plan. Don’t waste time worrying about “what ifs” if you haven’t taken care of “right now.”

    Great article!

  • Since this is Vincent’s article, I’ll let him address most of the comments. But I just wanted to say two things:

    1. @Vincent: Thanks so much for this great article. It’s inspiring and insightful. I certainly intend to implement a few of the methods you have used to achieve your goals.

    2. @Carrie: I truly enjoy writing inspirational stories about the events and people in my life, and it’s always nice to hear how others can relate. So I’m touched that I have inspired you.

    With that said, I believe variety is the spice of life. I enjoy writing ‘How To’ and ‘Top List’ articles as well ‘Life Story’ articles. Our blog has always been a combination of these various article formats and it will likely remain so going forward. Each month I usually post a few of each.

    And it’s also important to note that this article was a guest post. Vincent wrote it and I copy-edited it. So if there’s a slight similarity to another article I wrote in the past, that’s why.

    I hope that clears things up. And once again, thanks so much for the feedback and kind words. Have a great week! ;-)

  • I can just say… Indeed. Great read.

  • Vincent,

    Good point, however, creating a mastermind group or finding a right mentor is not easy for many people. Without that support, it is harder but not impossible to achieve goals. How did you create your mastermind group?

  • Debdas Bhattacharjee
    May 11th, 2010 at 4:31 am

    Hi Vincent,

    Only thing I would like to say is that what you have written is great. I find your approach to the topic is practical and realistic.

    Thanks a lot.
    Debdas

  • @Farouk,

    I find that when I don’t review my goals, I tend to sidetrack. This works for me. :)

    @Joshua

    It feels great to be part of a team working towards a goal. I used to be in my school basketball team and the collective energy and focus towards a common goal is amazing.

    @Parker

    I’m glad you like this article. :)

    @Success Coach

    One goal at a time. This is the key to achieving. Spreading our focus all over the place usually slow down our process. I learn this the hard way though.

    @Rosetta

    The most important thing is to keep our hopes alive. Without hopes and dreams, we will not even try to achieve.

    @Betsy

    Don’t waste time worrying about “what ifs” if you haven’t taken care of “right now.”

    This is a great advice. Worrying about what ifs will get us no where. Doing what is important right now is the key.

    Thanks for the great advice Betsy!

    @Marc

    Once again, thanks for giving me the opportunity to write at MarcAndAngel. :)

    @Nachete

    Thanks for reading. I really appreciate it and I hope you find some useful action steps in this article.

    @Zengirl

    My friend found out that I was working on the same “lifestyle project” as him through Friendster (a community site I was in previously). We got together and immediately have something to talk about (our common goal) even though we rarely met up with each other in the past. This is how I started my mastermind group.

    You can form your mastermind group with your current friends who have common goals as you or try to make new friends who have the similar goals.

    Even though it is said to be a group, you can get started with just 2 people.

    If you do have any more questions, you can either ask me here or drop me a mail. I would be happy to chat. :)

    Cheers,
    Vincent

  • “Achievable Goal” is tricky because people tend not to overachieve or break your limit. A goal should be both achievable and has certain degree of challenge.

  • I love that quote of Will Smith. If your goal to climb Mt Everest, you don’t do it in one single step. You take small steps…eventually you’ll reach the top. And it’s important to have vision too. All the great men: Walt Disney, Bill Gates…they all had vision. Another thing to remember is to know your “why?” Why do you want to climb Mt Everest? Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to quit smoking? Every time you think of quitting or you’re losing sight of your path, think of why you’re doing it. It should set you right back in your path. And last but not the least, “never give up” The only time you fail is when you give up. Allow me to share a story http://budurl.com/7jdf about Sean Stephenson who faced many challenges since birth. He didn’t give up and so you shouldn’t either.

  • @Adam

    You certainly brought up a great point. Neither setting a goal that is too easily achievable nor setting an unrealistic goal is going to help with our self esteem. There really is a fine line between setting a realistic goal and stretchable goal (goals that can stretch our abilities).

    @Megan

    I read the interview. It is a great one and thanks for sharing.

    Cheers,
    Vincent

  • Really nice post. I’ve been thinking about, and writing about, goals and values a lot over the past couple of months (at http://www.tedbilich.com). Truly the drivers of so much of our lives. Best, Ted

  • If you don’t stand for something specific, you will likely fail at everything.

  • Wow. This is a great post about setting the steps to success. Personally, I always believe that having a vision is the important first step towards success in any fields and once you know what you want to achieve, you can set your ways to achieve it. However, removing clutter and obstacles along the ways will definitely help in focusing on the important stuff to help you achieve the goals in life.

    Cheers
    Javier

  • I just read it and will start straight away to practise it. I am optimistic it will help me.

    Thanks

    Ik

  • This is very a good article.
    I hope these 4 steps work for me. I’m getting started.

  • Thank you. I found this article helpful.

  • Excellent post. I’ve had the same goals for years and don’t feel like I am getting any closer to achieving them. I also feel like I’m gradually losing my motivation through the frustration. You’re guidelines are very clear and simple. I’m gonna have a go and do my best stick to them and stay focused. Although I don’t think I will be able to do ‘c’ as I don’t know anyone with the same goals as me. Thanks for the advice!

  • Hard work and determination is indispensable in order to attain success and goals in life. Period.

  • A very nice, practical article. Just read it and I believe your advice will work for me. Thank you.

  • Nice post, I feel more motivated already.

  • Hello there,

    I have only just started to read this sort of material over the past few days as I had an experience that made me realise I needed to get my life back on track. I really appreciate the guidelines that you have set out here as I feel that they will help me to achieve what I want to. Here is a breakdown of my own action plan:

    - My personal goals are 1. to become a singer by career 2. to increase my self value and develop myself as a person 3. to gain weight and muscle up).

    - My short-term goals are to have recorded another four part harmony, stop smoking and boost up to 12 stone.

    - My goals for tomorrow would be to learn the alto part for the harmony, smoke no more than 5 cigarettes and to do some chest and arm exercises.

    Might I also add that I feel it is important to take time out; I like to meditate before bed and read a chapter of a good book!

    Again, many thanks for this article and I hope my action plan might help people set out their own.

    Regards,
    Duv.

  • I Love this article…… U must take an action for U to achieve your goal.

  • This is a great goal setting material.

  • Dear Vincent,

    I read this article at a very timely moment. I have had a hard time lately setting a goal and found this article very helpful. I have been lost in the past and want to begin artwork, which is a passion of mine for a long time. Just reading your article on setting goals gave me hope. I don’t want to be an artist, I want to do art and have fun doing it. I laid it aside because of not being myself and being a person of someone’s making.

    I have read several articles on Marc and Angel’s site. I am learning much and want to start doing what I learn and not just read it.

    Thank you

  • Incredible Post!

    There are so many people in the world that have a hard time setting goals and achieving them. Even at one point in time in my life was I struggling on goal setting. It was just a year ago when I embarked on a journey to “become a better me” was I able to make progress in my life through proper goal setting that’s mentioned in this article. Now, I have mastered goal setting (as well as other areas in my life) and have a passion for sharing it on my blog.

    Its people like Marc and Vincent that I look up to and model their success and methods to achieving my goals and to having a better life. Thank you!

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