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The 5 Steps for Achieving Your Goals in 2012

We all have hopes and desires for this upcoming year. It may be paying off a credit card, traveling somewhere exotic, or in my case, get published.

But having goals and achieving goals could not be more different. Anyone can say they want to do something. Actually doing it, on the other hand, is the true sign of success. We all know big talkers in life that brag about their plans, yet mysteriously as time goes by, those plans never come to fruition.

I hope this post helps you prevent the “I would have, but…” syndrome. And instead help you crush your goals. So without further ado, five things to consider for goal success:

1. Make Them Attainable

Samar superyacht

The first step in achieving our goals is being honest. Most people would love a private island and yacht, but if you’re struggling to make rent, is it reasonable to believe those are – at least in the short-run – attainable goals? Probably not. But creating enough extra cash flow to pay off a credit card or to visit one new country is well within anyone’s reach.

And just to be clear, I’m a huge proponent of shooting for the moon with goals. However, this article is “how-to achieve your goals,” not “hopefully, maybe, possibly one-day capture your goals.”

When setting goals we must look at what we can truthfully achieve. Shooting for the moon will not always land you amongst the stars.

2. Have a Roadmap

winding road

Creating a roadmap to achieving your goals should be at the forefront of the entire process. Saying you want to increase your income threefold is great and all. But how are you going to do it? Without a plan to succeed, you will never succeed. There is no magical goal fairy that visits you at night. Reaching a goal is up to you and only you.

When it comes to bigger goals, I like to use the concept of chunking. By deconstructing the goal into manageable parts, days, and milestones, the steps towards success become easier. Essentially, chunking goals will eleviate stress and prevent those horribly overwhelming I-want-to-sleep-all-day feelings.

Most importantly, your roadmap should have specific dates attached to when these goals are to be achieved. This will further keep you focused

3. Write Your Goals Down

Questioned Proposal

Simply thinking about your goals will not do you any good. You must see them on paper before you set out to achieve your goals. Without writing them down your brain will continually overlook the goal. Or worse, suppress it. But by seeing the goal in ink, your brain can formally process it.

The important concept to keep in mind here is to write the goals in the present tense. For example, “July 12th: I am in Italy for a month.” Not, “I will be in Italy on July 12th.” This will help you put yourself in the moment, instead of in the distant future.

Update: Another great point to add here, thanks to Srini in the comments (p.s. his blog is a must read):

Be sure to also write down what action(s) you took each day as it will help you stay on task and continually ensure you are on the right path. This is based on Zig Ziglar’s work.

4. Read Them Every Morning & Night

Constantly reminding yourself of the goals you set forth is extremely necessary. What good is a goal if you put it aside, barely giving it a second thought after you initially write it down?

By reading your goals before and after you sleep, you will keep focused on your goals. And if at all possible, read them out loud for stronger mental reinforcement.

5. Post Pictures

Above and beyond writing down your goals, hanging visual representations on your wall, at your desk, and anywhere else you commonly are located is very important.

The ability to imagine yourself enjoying that golf club membership, wearing that bikini, or sailing along the coastline is the most powerful motivator you have in your goal achieving tool belt.

Personally, I have an Aston Martin as the background of my computer and cell phone. I want the car and its purchase will be a symbolic step in my entrepreneurial life, so with me seeing it constantly, I repeatedly get to visualize myself sitting in it.

Bonus: 6. Just Do It

Life’s hard. It’s easy to give up. Don’t.

Everyday, do at least one thing that brings you closer to your goals and dreams. Soon you’ll be doing two a day, then three things a day. Suddenly, you’ll find freedom. You’ll find happiness. You’ll find yourself surrounded by family and friends who love you. Your life will be better.

We all have the ability to do something amazing. The deciding factor though, is actually doing it. By following these guidelines for achieving goals you’ll have an amazing chance of succeeding. I wish you the best of luck in 2012!

Already doing these tips? Do you have any success stories you’d like to share?

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