1. Visualize Your Goals
It is possible to train your subconscious mind to “see” your success, believing that it already exists. All that is then left is for you to move toward it. This is the basic concept of visualization and it can be applied by anyone. Visualization motivates you to carry on and helps to keep you focused, making it more likely that you will spot opportunities to make your dream a reality.
Having a distinct picture of what you are striving for within your mind’s eye is one way to visualize it. Another method is to have a physical representation of that target. Decide on your immediate and long term goals then write them down. You can also find pictures or an object that represents your goals and place these where you can see them every day. These reminders allow your goals to fill your mind.
Visualize to the process that it will take for you to reach your goals and remind yourself that the journey getting there is as important as the goal itself. This realization gives greater substance to your dream and helps you to find happiness in the pursuit of your goals.
Steadfast dedication to the goals you have visualized requires tremendous drive and strength of character. Daily life will place pressures on you that may threaten to bog you down or divert you from your goals and this is where visualization helps. The effects of visualization at lifting your spirits and encouraging you to carry on are magnified if each day you recommit to your goals and the actions you are taking in pursuit of them. The wonderful thing is that visualizing your goals and recommitting to them every day will build character over time, empowering you to achieve lifelong success and happiness.
Visualizing your goals makes you more proactive and gives you a more positive outlook.
2. Plan for Your Success
We tend to get caught up in the here-and-now. Between deadlines at work and bills to pay at home we become consumed with making it to the end of the day or to the next pay check. We fail to realise the value of investing the minutes it takes for us to plan our days ahead of time. Usually this is because we become fixated on and overwhelmed by the notion that we simply do not have enough time.
Successful and happy people do not make that mistake because they know the many benefits of planning. They understand that time spent jotting down and prioritizing the activities for the day, or that will take them to a long term goal, is time well spent. They take the time to plan because the act of planning is, in fact, an integral part of their journey to success.
If success is what you are aiming for, then you too must get into the habit of planning not just for your big goals, but also for each day. As you do this, you find you become more adept at setting clear and practical short-term and long-term goals. Also, since your plan is a clear outline of the tasks you need to complete, it is a definite boost to your chances of accomplishing them.
As you plan, write it down – a book, notepad, whiteboard, or some convenient electronic device will do. Rank items so you will know what jobs must be done first, no matter how difficult or unpleasant they are. Try not to include more than two major tasks in a single day and try to complete them before you tackle any smaller tasks. In so doing, you will build the habit of always focussing on the important issues first, along with the habit of getting them done. Always complete every task on your daily to-do list. Remember you are trying to build constructive habits, and if you routinely fail at finishing your daily to-do list, then it’s almost certain you will fail at your long-term goals as well.
You can make a daily to-do list for immediate tasks, as well as one that takes you to the achievement of your grand goal. The physical list serves as a reminder of what is to be done since it is very easy to become distracted by the routine happenings around us. The list is also your tracker of what you have accomplished thus far. It provides motivation as you take pride in checking each task from the list, as much as in completion of all items on the list. Additionally, as unexpected challenges or stumbling blocks arise to discourage you, the list will keep you focussed on what needs to be done. You can look back at your list as a source of inspiration, showing how far you have come.
To go along with your to-do list, start a journal and review it regularly. Journals are a part of the day- to-day lives of successful people because they have realized that dreams, goals and to-do lists become tangible when written down. A journal also helps you avoid being forgetful, by holding your plans, schedules and tasks you need to complete, plus ideas that come to you as you journey to your goal. Changes that you are considering, along with affirmations to give you motivation as you plough ahead, may also be placed in your journal.
A part of planning is learning how to assess yourself, your capabilities and your accomplishments thus far. This assessment allows you to better determine what works for you and what does not. This makes you more likely to set goals that are achievable or to break your big goal into smaller more manageable steps. Of course, you cannot plan for every eventuality, and so as situations change you may have to come up with a new plan and devise new strategies to tackle them.
The time spent planning is an investment that will pay off in the long run.
3. Be Confident
True success and happiness relies on the confidence that comes from knowing your abilities and your limitations. That confidence enables you to define and choose your own goals. Being confident in what you can do strengthens your resolve to accomplish what needs to done. You then gain the mental energy and purposefulness it takes to get on with daily tasks and to strive for your goals. Your level of confidence affects you physically as much as mentally, with physical efforts often limited by doubt: we think we can’t and so we don’t. Believing in yourself generates positive energy that literally “puts a spring in your step”. You may find that your to-do list becomes a little longer over time or that your estimation of how long it will take you to achieve a goal has to be shortened.
It is understandable to be confident about your abilities, but why should you be confident about your limitations? Acknowledging your weak areas enables you to recognize situations in which you need help. It also gives you the presence of mind to seek out that assistance or to accept it when it is offered. When you admit that a particular task is outside of your capacity, you can easily hand it over to someone who can accomplish it more efficiently than you. You feel no shame or self-deprecation in doing so because you are confident in the knowledge that you made the right decision. When you delegate in this manner, you then gain the time and freedom to put more of your energy into the tasks your skills are suited for.
It is important to accept that confidence in your abilities does not guarantee that you will succeed at a particular task or in the accomplishment of your long-term goals. Many factors may impinge on the outcome, some of which are simply out of your control. Even people who are very successful now have experienced failure in the past. They, quite likely, still do experience some measure of failure even now. What does not change for them is the ability to grow from the experience of the failure, move on and press toward goals.
So, do not waste time and energy in fear of failure, rather, treat each failure as an invaluable life lesson. You do not want to fail, but you accept that failure is possible and you are prepared to learn from the experience of having failed. When or where did you go wrong? What or who did you underestimate or over-estimate? Take the time to dissect your failed attempts without getting lost in self-pity or regret. Remind yourself that it is in understanding the reasons behind your failure that you can ensure you do not make the same mistakes in the future.
Be warned, however, that the confidence to accept failure and learn from it does not mean it will be any easier to bear each time you are confronted with it. When failure and disappointments come along, you must confidently decide to approach them with a positive attitude. It may help to rebuild your confidence if you pause to take stock of all that you have already accomplished and all that you have to be thankful for. Looking back at times when you triumphed and reminding yourself how hard you worked for those moments, will give the push you need to keep going.
Confidence in yourself brings with it the feeling that you are capable of making the right decisions.
4. Meet Your Challenges Head-On
If you hope to succeed, then you must boldly take on the challenges that come your way. Do not view them as obstacles, but more as opportunities to apply yourself. Persons who have achieved success and happiness did not do so by locking themselves away from the challenges life presents. Their accomplishments came from taking on the challenges, doing their best and being able to proudly say “I tried” whether they won or lost.
You, too, must not shy away from challenges you come upon. Embrace the challenges as they come along by thinking of them as life’s way of teaching you to hone your adaptation skills. Situations you find challenging provide the instances in which you learn new approaches to problems, or realise coping mechanisms you did not know you had. These cases test and build your stamina, giving you the resilience needed to make it to the end of your goal. They offer the chance for personal growth through the acquisition of vital life-skills.
A word of caution here: as much as challenges present you with an opportunity for growth, it is important that you do not create unnecessary ones for yourself. Do not make situations any more difficult than they need to be, as you will only end up wasting energy that could be better spent in the pursuit of your goals. Accept the challenges as they are, take them on and move ahead. As you conquer each challenging situation, you develop a more positive outlook on life and on your ability to succeed and be happy in it.
Respect the value of the challenge and appreciate the chance to show and test your skills.
5. Put Your Back into It
To achieve and maintain happiness and success you must be prepared to work hard at them. There will be long hours, multiple tasks to manage and competitors to outperform. You will have to wholeheartedly throw yourself into the tasks that need to be completed in order to stay on the path to success.
In addition to working harder, you will also have to work smarter than everyone else, focusing your efforts on improving your effectiveness, efficiency and overall productivity. Consequently, you must make good use of available resources that can assist you in the completion of tasks, including getting help from others if you need to. You should also ensure that time dedicated to work is spent working – not doing things that are distractions and detractions from the important task at hand. You can do this by aiming to complete tasks within the time allotted, so as not to infringe upon time set aside for something else. You might even be able to fit in another task into the time saved.
While our goals for happiness and success may not ultimately be centered on money, our financial independence or the lack of it can affect whether or not we are able to achieve our long-term goals. Demonstrate how much you value your goals by investing in them and not in superficial material possessions which have no bearing on your attainment of lasting success. For this reason, you must become prudent with your finances, developing the habits of savings and reinvesting the greater portion of your earnings in your personal and professional development.
You must begin to make sacrifices, knowing that they are in the best interest of your long-term goal. This will be difficult at times because there will be things you really wanted or were always used to having, that you may have to do without in order to make you dream of success a reality. Resist the urge to waste money. One common way to waste money is by spending to celebrate every little achievement made – don’t! Instead, put that money toward reaching your ultimate goal. Be dedicated to that dream and you will be able to temper the strain of hard work and sacrifice with the reminder of the role they play in the achievement of your success.
As you make progress, there will always be the danger of complacency creeping in – a feeling that you can “go easy”, let some things slide or do less than your best on a project. At all times remind yourself that the achievement of your short term goals, while cause for joy, should not lessen or slow your drive for ultimate success. After each minor victory, stop to take stock and rededicate yourself to the pursuit of your success.
Working hard and making sacrifices are prerequisites to lasting success.