Wondering how to achieve goals? Read this!
Have you ever had a dream so big it seemed impossible to accomplish?
Have you ever admired someone else or someone else’s life thinking you could never in a million years be like them?
Have you found yourself making up excuses about how they’re smarter, luckier, prettier, wealthier than you?
I know countless people who let time pass and never amount to anything because even though they have great ideas, they don’t know where to star and therefore, they believe they could never accomplish it, people who dream big but keep thinking “Maybe in another life”.
Well, I don’t mean to get religious here or anything, but you have no guarantee you’ll have a second shot.
So this is it.
If you have an image of a different you but have no clue how to get there, keep reading.
When it comes to reaching big, juicy goals that keep you up at night, it can be terrifying to think about it. It can also be terrifying to imagine your old self regretting all the things you didn’t do.
Feeling full of regret for all those buried dreams…
Over the years and thanks to countless books, YouTube videos, blog posts, podcasts, and courses I’ve learned to develop this process.
Today I want to detail the step by step process, along with useful resources and tools, that I use to reach my goals.
This was going to be a single blog post, but since it was getting painfully long, I decided to break it into smaller pieces and start aimlief’s first blog post series: HOW TO ACHIEVE GOALS.
How to achieve goals
Build the right mindset first
It all starts with the way you think. The things you tell yourself, consciously and not, impact your behavior directly.
This, in turn, has an impact on your plans, approach, actions and so much more.
So first things first. Before we dive into planning a strategy for you to achieve what you want, you need to get the right mindset to do so.
Building the right mindset to set you up for success and put you on the right path towards your goals is not impossible; it only takes time and a little effort.
I’d say it’s not even HARD! It’s actually pretty simple.
You can train your mind as if it were a muscle. Everything you think about you, your dreams and your abilities, you learned it somewhere, somehow.
In fact, if you beat yourself down all the time, for example, chances are you LEARNED to do so. You probably thought something negative about yourself once and then you just kept going and going until it became a habit.
It became part of you.
Now it’s time to reinforce your strengths and UNLEARN whatever’s holding you back.
Forget about feeling ready
Waiting until you feel ready is BS. You’ll probably WON’T FEEL ready until you actually start!
Aren’t you tired of waiting and waiting for the “perfect moment”?
There’s no such thing as the “perfect moment” because life can ALWAYS get in the way if you let it, so you’ll need to take control; you need to start NOW.
I know this is cliché but just think about a baby who’s learning how to walk. He or she will eventually do it, no matter what, but how do babies learn how to walk?
They just go a do it.
And they may look funny but they don’t care. You’ll see him or her in a couple of years walking like masters of the art.
Collect “small wins” and build your self-confidence
I want to tell you about something I call “self-confidence feedback loop”:
I just explained why “waiting for the perfect moment” is a time-waster.
However, I know self-confidence plays a vital role when it comes to achieving long-term goals.
You can have a masterplan to reach whatever goal you want, but, if you don’t believe in yourself and your ability to carry it through to completion, you won’t get very far.
But I get it.
If your self-confidence is below zero, WHAT DO YOU DO?
“I don’t have any self-confidence. I haven’t accomplished anything important!”
Well, you start building your self-confidence from scratch.
The best way to do it? Start collecting “small wins”.
And the best way to collect small wins? GET WORK DONE.
You’ll need to take at least the very first baby steps before you can actually start feeling “ready”.
This is how you’ll start collecting small wins that will propel you and your actions.
Read more: How to build self-confidence from scratch
Probably, you’ll need to fight some good old self-doubt as well.
At some point you’ll start thinking you’re not good enough, you don’t deserve this.
Well, that’s BS too and you need to overcome it.
That’s why you’ll need to prepare for your “quitting mind”.
This is something I learned from David Goggins’ Can’t Hurt Me (amazing book, highly recommended).
You need to know there will be self-doubt along your path, at some point. Thinking you’re confident enough and you’ll never doubt yourself is a trap.
What you need to do is PREPARE for the moment your own mind starts working against you.
This is how I prepare to fight my mind traps back:
I write down all the things I know I tell myself when I’m doubting my abilities and just below that I write all the reasons why that’s a simple, empty LIE.
You probably know what are those things your mind tells you in order to discourage you. Write them down. Now explain your future self why that’s not true and why you shouldn’t fall for it.
(If you find your quitting mind’s arguments to be objectively true, well… you need to hone your skills, read more about the subject or do whatever it takes to prove it wrong. No excuse.)
Forget about motivation. Forget about will power. Build habits instead.
Yes, feeling motivated and excited about your big dream is an amazing feeling.
But, the truth is, you can’t rely on it to act as a fuel for you to keep going.
Savor that excitement but be clear about this: IT WON’T LAST FOREVER.
You’ll need to have a plan that can get you further no matter how discouraged you feel.
We’ll design that plan in the next steps but let me give you a little hint of what it is about: TURNING TASKS INTO HABITS.
Habits are the most powerful tool you can get to reach ANY GOAL.
Discipline beats “talent”, intelligence, money, everything.
Also, remember that feeling demotivated doesn’t necessarily mean your goal is not worth pursuing anymore.
This is also a mind trap many people fall for.
They believe that, if they’re not “passionate” about their goal anymore, it must be because they shouldn’t go for it. Maybe they shouldn’t have even started in the first place.
In reality, they’re just a little discouraged, a little tired, a little used to the goal so it doesn’t spark that same level of excitement as before.
This is where KNOWING YOUR WHY comes into play.
Know your why
With WHY I mean the reason behind your desires. And I also mean your TRUE reasons.
Many people who want to lose weight, for example, will tell you they want to be healthier when in reality the only thing they want is to LOOK good. And that’s ok!
If health doesn’t inspire you to wake up every morning to hit the gym and cook high-quality meals, but being able to wear the outfit of your dreams does… I’d say go for it.
Say it. You want to lose weight because you want to look better. If you keep telling yourself lies, you won’t be able to stick to your plan for long.
Be honest with yourself because knowing WHY you want to reach that goal is key; it’s the core element of your drive.
However, “knowing” your why is not enough: you need to write it down too so you can use this little text as some sort of amulet.
This amulet can help you remember why you wanted this in the first place and why you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get it.
Use a piece of paper you can have with you at all times, a Google doc on your Google Drive or a note on Evernote. Whatever works for you.
Write down your reasons and remember to be honest.
I encourage you to complete this exercise during the week and let me know how it went.
Next week we’ll get practical and start designing the path that’ll take you where you want to be.
Read more: 25 solid steps to find your passion