Are you standing in your own way?

Achieving goals is not always easy even if you make them S.M.A.R.T Goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic & time bound) or even D.U.M.B. Goals (dream driven, uplifting, methodical/manageable, and beneficial behaviour based).

The Question is: Are you standing in your own way?

Are you hoping for success, or expecting success?

Here are 10 ways you can turn your goals around so that you can break through to success.

1. Passion for the Outcome and the Process!

Goals are about moving towards a future vision that you can be proud of, that you are passionate about. Without that yearning, that sense of desire, that attachment to the process as well as the outcome it is hard to demand more of ourselves.

Often we inadvertently take on the Goals of another person, be these suggestions from a well-meaning friend or family member or health practitioner. Or perhaps we have just looked at someone else and decided that we want what we view to be "their life."

As a way of getting started this isn't always a bad thing, because often getting started is the hardest part. However, to be able to keep going we need to make the goal our own. We need our own internal intrinsic reason for wanting the outcome, we need to find a way to enjoy the journey itself.

2. Flexibility

Life can throw us curveballs, sometimes they are challenges, and sometimes they are opportunities. The last thing you want is to become so blinkered in your approach to your goal, climbing up your ladder to success, that in 5 years time you find you are on the wrong ladder, or the ladder is against the wrong wall.

When you make your goal, think about what it will feel like to achieve that goal. What is the end result actually going to bring you? What really is your motivation? 

If your goal is a specific weight. What does that mean in terms of what you are able to do once you have lost the weight? Perhaps your real reason is you think it will make you more attractive? Or better at sport? Or there is someone whose approval you are seeking? When you have this in mind you can start looking at your daily choices slightly differently, more flexibly.

3. A Sense of Future Identity 

Do you have a clear vision of your future self once you have achieved the goal? What will it feel like to be that person, how will they act differently, what will they enjoy doing, what will they have, who will their friends be?

The clearer your vision about your future self after achieving the goal, the more motivation you will have to work towards it. Most importantly the more able you will be to stop and think "what would that person do / say" in any given situation on your journey to success. When you start thinking like the person who is already successful then you start acting like them and everything you do becomes self-fulfilling.

4. Learn from the Past

Everyone makes mistakes. "To err is human, to forgive divine" Alexander Pope. Are you prepared to admit your mistakes and forgive yourself for them so that you are able to learn and move on?

  • What went wrong?
  • Where were you?
  • What was the temptation?
  • Can you remove it completely or if not how could you avoid it next time? 
  • Who were you with?
  • What time of day was it?
  • Were you tired, hungry, angry?

When we plan for mistakes and learn from them we can create "If.... Then...." Rules that allow us to move forward without repeating history.

In fact setbacks rather than being viewed as failures, often lead us to ways of moving forward faster than ever before.

5. Find the right tools and systems

If you have set yourself a target of losing weight, but you don't have any healthy food in your house, it will be pretty difficult right? Similarly, if you want to be more organised but your house is a mess and you are always late for work, chances are just buying a productivity planner isn't going to be enough.

Think about the larger goal, what other things do you need to put in place to help you along the way?

Do you need to learn about meal planning? Do you need a virtual assistant? Do you need some baskets and bins to organise the physical clutter before you unravel your mental clutter? Does your family need a shared schedule and daily time to share what's coming up that day? Do you need new running shoes?

There are a million articles out there on habits and goals, type in your specific one and find out what tools / apps / hacks other people have used to help them get started.

6. Daily Planning

I touched on it briefly already. Planning is everything. Having your goal in mind in everything you do is about setting the mentality for success. When you plan for success you know what you need to do, when you need to do it, and what to do if something goes wrong. High performers are planners, plain and simple! They have the big plans, but they also have the little plans, the ones for each day that they can review and mark their progress by. It is the small actions that carry you forwards and if you don't plan for them they can easily get put off.

7. Accountability

Who else knows about your goal? Do you have 5 friends / associates working towards the same goal? Do you have 5 people you can talk to who have already achieved your goal?

Surrounding yourself with people who know what's at stake, who are not just supporting you from the sidelines but who are breathing the journey with you is immensely powerful. 

If you don't yet have a support network, put yourself out there. Publish your goal and ask who wants to join you for the ride.

 8. Discipline

 Motivation helps make a task feel easier to accomplish, but a lack of discipline can lead to us accomplishing nothing at all. Training yourself to remain consistent and fully committing to the steps that you need to take in order to accomplish your goal can feel hard, but as Jim Rohn once said "discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment."

How can you become more disciplined?

9. Patience

In the modern world, we often hear the term "overnight success" bandied about. To an external observer, these people seem to come from nowhere almost instantly, and we can start to think that that should happen for us. What we don't realise is the hours of practice and failures that they have been through before they achieved their fame.

  • J.K. Rowling was rejected by 12 different publishers before being accepted by Bloomsbury.
  • James Dyson had 5,127 failed prototypes before creating the Dyson Vacuum cleaner
  • Colonel Sanders of KFC had his fried chicken recipe rejected more than 1,000 times before giving up and starting his own business making lamps!
  • Walt Disney was once told "he lacked imagination and had no good ideas."
  • Henry Ford went bankrupt 2 times and was rescued a 3rd time by Angel investors.

Expect setbacks, plan for them, be patient and avoid short cuts. Success is about putting in the groundwork, being consistent and persistent.

10. High Self-Expectation

 Have you ever noticed how successful people seem to just exude confidence? Have you ever wondered to yourself if that was possible for you?

The simple answer is Yes, it can.

It won't happen overnight, but little by little 1% a day you too can build your confidence in yourself. It starts with setting high expectations. By asking more of yourself. By expecting more of yourself. By being disciplined. Yes, you will have self-doubt along the way, even the world's greats do, the question is how will you harness that self-doubt?

Will you choose to wallow in it?

Or will you use it to spur you on to greater possibilities?

High self-esteem underpins every positive experience in your life. It is what drives you forwards, helps you cope with adversity, and appreciate the good times.

The ultimate success in life is to be happy whilst living on your own terms. This means that you are able to accept disagreement and criticism whilst acknowledging that you are your own experiment. Your own work of art.

It is always down to you how you respond to that criticism. Do you get defensive? Or do you take it on as feedback, someone else's opinion, that may or may not be useful to take into account for your future self?

Here are a few ways you can help to boost your self confidence so that you can expect more of yourself

  1. Positive affirmations and open-ended questions - eg "Why am I finding it easier to improve my confidence every day?" "I have endless reserves of inner strength"
  2. Take up meditation - learning to control your inner voice and critic and allowing yourself time to just be, has many scientifically proven benefits
  3. Planning - when you are specific with yourself about what you will achieve each and every day, and you log it. Then you are able to chart your progress, feel like you are gaining momentum and hold yourself accountable.
  4. Acknowledging your limiting beliefs - every time you find a negative thought popping into your head, acknowledge it, notice it, and then ask yourself the question "Is that really true?" "Am I 100% sure?" "Is there any evidence to support that?"

"The man who does not value himself, cannot value anyone or anything" Ayn Rand

No matter what journey you start, the path starts with raising your self-esteem and your self-expectations.

What can you do today to get out of your own way?

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