It is hard to believe how much resistance we receive from the people around us when trying to start something new. People tend to claim that you are not going to make it, that you are too old or you are too young, that you do not have a degree or have too many of them and so on and so forth. Sometimes such comments are said, even if indirectly, by the closest people – husband or wife, parents or friends. You have to realise that these people do not have bad intentions, by doing this they most likely want to protect you. However, you have to answer yourself one question – is it really worth listening to such advice?
Is it worth listening to a friend who claims that quitting your job and starting your own business is an absolute nonsense? Is it worth listening to a husband or a wife telling you that your idea is doomed to failure without having any knowledge about the sphere you are willing to work in? The answer is clear and unambiguous – certainly not!
Even though they do not wish you anything bad, they will always have their own interests – either it is security feared to be lost in respect of the family, fear of reaction from others, or hundreds of other reasons. There will always be people saying that you cannot or are incapable of doing something. Therefore, the undeniable truth on the road to success is that only you decide what you want and what you are capable of doing.
More than 10 years ago, when I just started my studies and begun attending self-help seminars, I set myself a goal – ensuring myself a financial independence before becoming 30 years old, do what I love and focus on the most important things in life for me. Have a guess what was the response I got when I was telling this? I think, you already suspect the answer. People considered me almost as a madman, a member of some sort of sect or so. The goal I have set seemed to them as complete nonsense. It was only because those people are not accustomed to that in their environment, they live according to their beliefs, and so they have a hard time to understand that things might be different.
However, is it worth blaming your friends or acquaintances for that? Definitely not! Is it worth proving your truth to them? In most cases, it is not worth wasting your energy, unless they are your closest people with whom you spend most of your time. Then it is worth expressing your thoughts and ideas to them.
Do not get me wrong – constructive criticism is very useful. It can encourage you to improve. On the other hand, a negative attitude not based on any arguments is an entirely different story and you have to learn to distance yourself from it. You probably would not ask a pharmacist for a piece of advice on how to fix your car or question your dentist where to invest your money. You have to focus on the professionals in the field you want to work in and their guidance. Most importantly – start believing in yourself.
No matter how funny my goal seemed to others or what comments and remarks I heard, finally I reached my goal, and I am very happy about it. One week until my thirtieth birthday, I gave back all the remaining investment business loans and finally secured a passive income stream, guaranteeing my financial independence. On the road to fulfilling my goal I encountered many difficulties, I had to try many things and made mistakes. Looking back, I now know that many things could be done much easier and faster. This is the reason why I decided to share my thoughts and ideas. I also firmly believe that this will help you to concentrate on the most important things and reach your goals faster. I will not present you with any world-changing ideas; in fact, you probably already have heard most of them. I experienced the same: I also heard many times that you need to write down your goals, but still did not do it thinking that, after all, I know them.
It is funny how often we know what to do, but still do not do it, by finding one or another excuse. Stop searching for excuses; begin achieving your goals today. I present you steps that I think are the most important in this process:
#1. Identify your goals
It is hard to believe how simple and thus important this step is and even more strange how often we skip it. How you can come up with an action plan and consistently stick to it, if you do not even know the exact place where you are heading. Do not spare half an hour or an hour of your valuable time each day to sit down and think, try to understand what you want and above all – be honest with yourself. Often there are notions dictated on what we should want or what is normal considering certain age groups, gender and status in society.
This is a rather strange form of public pressure when there are prevailing opinions about the most appropriate time to work, marry, have children, etc. Do not let others decide for you – answer the most important questions for yourself, no matter what is the area where you are expecting the result:
- What do you want?
- Why do you want it?
- How will you feel when having it?
- What will you do next?
It often gives us an insight of what do we actually want and at the same time helps to come up with a plan on how to achieve it.
#2. Goals should be specific and measurable
Many of my students skipped this paragraph and defined abstract goals, for example: „to work a lot“, „achieve success“, „often go on vacation“, etc. However, what is a real meaning of the phrase „to work a lot“? How to interpret a phrase „often go on vacation“? Each of us would answer these questions differently. For a person who worked four years in a row without a break, even a week of vacation would seem like a true happiness. While for an individual who is accustomed to working on a free schedule, planning his own time, the above-mentioned week of vacation can seem like such a natural thing and that one would not call it a holiday after all.
Be specific in naming your goals. If you are seeking good results at work – list the things you would call as good results:
- Is it a salary raise to x amount?
- Professional advancement?
- Optimisation of work so that you would not have to work overtime?
- Attracting a new important customer, etc.
Considering these things, it can become much easier to set your priorities, also to select things that are the most important to you and get rid of meaningful tasks that are wasting your time. As we have already talked in the first paragraph, do not delude yourself, find out what you really want and establish a specific goal!
#3. Goals must be achievable
This paragraph can raise a lot of debate and controversy, yet it is good! After all, the best ideas are born in the discussions.
Ambitious goals are great, but do not raise completely unrealistic ideas. If your goal is to learn the English language, there is no need to set yourself a deadline to speak English fluently in one week. If you want to create a passive stream of income, there is no need to want high-income the next day after starting your investment.
Set high goals, but leave space for their implementation. Of course, the higher the goal, the more you will have to step up, plan your time more efficiently and work harder to achieve it. This is a very positive stimulus to act. Whatever your goal is, reserve some time for its implementation, set a plan of things to do to reach your target and even the major objectives will become easily achievable.
#4. Categorise goals into short-term and long-term
Most people can concentrate and retain motivation only for a short period. This is because they do not see progress. For us, it is simply necessary to know that we are moving in the right direction. It not only helps us resist giving up while facing the difficulties, but also helps to make sure that we are getting closer to the goal that is set, observe the progress and finally enjoy it.
It is quite easy to do it; you only need to divide the big goals into smaller parts, the intermediate intervals and when you reach it, you can be sure that you are moving in the right direction.
In the past, I had to simply fight myself to go to the gym. I hated it, not to even close to so-called joy of sports. For a long time, I had a number of problems with being overweight and my primary goal was to get rid of extra body fat. No matter how strongly I focused on that thought, how much I tried „torturing“ myself with sports and constant regulation of food (I cannot called it a diet compliance, because there are not many diet products in pizzerias and McDonald restaurants), I never attained the results I wanted, simply because I did not see a quick progress. The battle lasted for a long time, until one day when I got lucky to meet a wonderful trainer Paulius Ratkevičius. He helped me to understand and learn the basic principles and probably most importantly I learned to notice the intermediate results, enjoy small things and move forward. When I understood those things, I got rid of 20 kilogrammes without the hassle, and my struggle changed into enjoying sports. At the same time, I continued to pursue all my other objectives in my life.
Therefore, if the next step, you have to achieve is still a long way off – after a year or more, break it into shorter goals (intermediate intervals). This way you will feel much more confident because you will see that after achieving one thing at the time, you are getting closer to your main goal. Then, motivation and self-satisfaction level will significantly increase. Moreover, this will help to maintain a focus on a specific goal easier and for a longer period.
#5. Set a deadline for achieving your goals
It is crucial to determine the exact deadline for implementing your goals. You have to set a specific date until when you have to achieve your objectives, thus you will be obliged to try to keep up with that date and that is very useful! Otherwise, your goal will remain a fantasy or a distant mirage.
Like all advice, this also applies to various spheres. We are fully accustomed to the fact that at work we usually have specific tasks and deadlines for them. However, at home and in our personal lives we make every effort to avoid such practice, although it is proved long ago that having a clear deadline helps people to work more productively, maintain concentration and use available resources more efficiently. So can we potentially adapt the same principles everywhere?
Of course, we can! Not only we can – we must. Even in the simplest things. Maybe you are delaying to read a book that you bought half a year ago. Set a deadline until when to read it. For example:
- Set a deadline for yourself that would push you to make the effort and prevent you from postponing things: I have to read a book in 30 days.
- When obliged to seek for a solution and you will surely find it: before going to bed every night I will read a book for 30 minutes.
- When having a clear plan, reading a book within one month will be a piece of cake.
Think about how much you can do when compelled yourself to take action. Give yourself specific instructions, a specific timeframe, and you will learn how to do everything to achieve your goal.
#6. Write down your goals
You probably heard about it many times, but most of you never did it. I am not an exception. A long time has passed – many books read, and many seminars visited until I started writing down my goals. While looking back, I understand that I wasted a lot of time by not implementing all these ideas immediately. Even though it is much easier for us to learn from our mistakes, undoubtedly it is wiser to learn from others’ experiences.
You would say, it is easier said than done. I agree, but is easier always better? No matter what might happen you will not harm yourself in any possible way with writing down your goals, so maybe it is worth taking a risk? I prefer simple pen and paper instead of various Apps or Excel files but you can choose whatever you like. Try writing down your goals according to all the principles discussed above. I am sure that you will be surprised at what positive impact it can have. It will be much easier to understand what you really want and easier to make a clear plan on how gradually approach your dream.
Focus all your attention on achieving your goals rather than thinking about what those goals are – write them down!
#7. Revise your goals regularly
Even though you have already made the first steps – properly formed your goals and wrote them down, but threw those papers in a drawer and forgot them forever, it is very likely that it will not bring you the potential benefits.
Regular review of goals allows you to concentrate on the main points and keep your focus on the ultimate goal. All this sounds like a nice theory, but does it work? I can assure you – it definitely does!
If you dedicate at least 5 minutes every morning to review your goals, you can change many meaningless things, you make every day, without bringing any benefits for yourself or the environment. You will learn how to stop wasting your time and concentrate on what is important.
Revise your goals to remind yourself what you are aiming for, and you will approach your goals much faster.
#8. Reward yourself
It is probably my favourite part, and I was convinced many times that it is effective. Always think of a reward or a particular prize for the work you have done. As discussed earlier, big goals should be broken down into intermediate sections, and you should reward yourself after achieving goals in any of it. It can be simple things: a ticket to the cinema, evening at the restaurant, weekend trip or anything else.
There is no need to reward yourself with a trip for remembering to take out the garbage or cleaning the house. It can be a small thing. Thus, it is important to choose a reward adequate to the tasks performed. A reward must motivate and empower to pursue your objectives and perform all the duties assigned to yourself.
In this way, you will learn to enjoy your activities and works, even if sometimes you need to do something that does not seem fascinating. People often come up with different reasons to delay their job. Therefore, it is better to concentrate on the reasons why you do that work and do not postpone it.
Most of the described steps are very much elementary and do not require a lot of time and effort, but can create incredible results. Devote some time for yourself, find out what you want and decide what you should be doing to achieve it.
Rephrasing the famous Farrah Gray phrase: BUILD YOUR OWN DREAMS, OR SOMEONE ELSE WILL HIRE YOU TO BUILD THEIRS!