On SparkPeople.com, they have a section for motivation articles, as well as goal-setting techniques. One of the goal-setting articles has 10 powerful strategies for success. After reviewing quite a few success strategies I realized that some of these strategies are extremely important and effective for success (creating daily habits for example). Although, in the consistency section I gave an example of two piano students, and it went on longer than I hoped, so feel free to skip that and just remember to take consistent action. Okay, let’s take a look at these Success Strategies and see how they can help us in our climb up success mountain.
1. Start Small
Starting too big, too fast is one of the biggest mistakes made when pushing for success. It is important to set small achievable goals, and then have bigger goals or dreams that the small goals are building up to. A good metaphor for starting small is taking small bites, as opposed to trying to wolf down a whole burger or something and choking to death. Just joking, but a lot of people try to take on too much, or they try to grow their business too fast, and they get overloaded or the business falls apart. Make sure you break it down to small achievable goals so you can succeed along the way, instead of getting overwhelmed trying to do it all at once.
2. Get It On Paper
Success coaches and masters of goal setting always say put it in writing. When you write something down, it is closer to becoming a reality than if you just think lightly about something and then forget it. As you travel toward success, use your writing to record goals, to track your daily progress, to make plans, to brainstorm ideas in a journal, etc.
3. Focus on Daily Habits
Daily habits are one of the most powerful secrets to success that I have found. Almost any time I have accumulated a large amount of creations, it’s because I have developed a daily habit for something I want to do. For example, in 2010 I set out to write a song a day for the year. By the end of the year I had played in 5 bands, and I had hundreds of songs recorded, averaging over one a day for the whole year. Use daily habits to follow your dreams daily, and you can make huge amounts of progress at whatever you want.
4. Always See Your Goal
Always remember the ultimate goal or dream you’re trying to achieve. You’ll need to think regularly about your chief goal so it stays strong and compelling. If you create an attractive enough vision, you will be motivated to take action, and you can do this by the small goals that you can work on every day. These should eventually lead you to your grand goal, and to success, as you define it. Just remember to keep your overall goal or dream in mind so your daily goals are congruent with your ultimate vision.
5. Be Consistent
Consistent action, has an enormous amount of power, as we talked about with the daily habits. On the other hand, if you are not consistent it is very hard to make progress. Let’s look at the difference between two piano players that play the same amount of time, but one practices consistently, and one practices inconsistently in large bulk sessions. Lets say the teacher wants her students to practice 20 minutes a day or about 2 hours a week. The consistent student practices 20 minutes every day after school. Every week he is ready for his lesson, he makes daily progress, and after a month he has built a strong habit of practicing every day. On the other hand, the inconsistent kid practices in either one two-hour bulk, or two one-hour bulks, both of which are overloads. Where the consistent kid is refreshed and engaged for 20 minutes each session, the inconsistent kid gets tired after a half hour, and so he doesn’t get much done at all. The first guy has a strong habit after a few weeks or a month, he’s ready for his lesson, and he’s getting really good at the piano. Mr. Inconsistent practices once a week or not at all, he isn’t prepared for the lessons, he doesn’t have a habit, and he looks like a super beginner as he stumbles through the recital. The fact is, consistency is much more effective and powerful than a lot of work just one time. Build great daily habits, and that’s what consistency is about- taking action every day.
6. Never Stop Learning
Even if your done with school, you never have to stop learning. In fact, you may learn more when your not in school because you actually want to learn the stuff, instead of just memorizing it to pass a test and then forgetting it forever. Whatever your dream is, there is plenty to learn about it, plenty of people that have been successful in that same area, so follow those who succeed and keep learning about your craft.
7. Come Out of Seclusion
You can’t succeed all alone, and even if you could, why would you want to? You want to share your success with as many people as possible. As you build your dream you will also need support from lots of people as you get feedback, hire some employees, fire some employees (jk), and sell your product to real people. The world is full of people, so remember to work with them and share your success with people.
8. Allow for Set-Backs
Accept the fact that you will make mistakes, and they can be positive learning experiences. Also realize that there will be obstacles in the way of your success. Maybe you have to go to school, or work a job for a large chunk of your day before you can work on your dreams. Don’t get down on yourself because you have other obligations, just take care of the daily drudgery and then spend your nights working hard at what you love you do.
9. Trust Your Plan
As you follow your plan, trust that what you planned for yourself will eventually get you where you want to go. For example, lets say you make a daily habit to practice the guitar every day, and you have medium sized goals to 1) get really good at the guitar, 2) start a band or get into an established band, and 3) win a battle of the bands competition to win 10 hours of studio time for a new album. You may start with a daily habit of practicing an hour a day. After getting pretty good and learning some songs, you start looking for band members. Let’s say you call off of an ad, audition for a band, and make it as their second guitarist. You tell them about the battle of the bands, you practice as a group, and when the show comes up you’ll have a chance of winning. So to break it down, you first have to know what your grand goal is (to get in a band and win the competition), and then you set small goals to get their (daily practice, perhaps taking lessons, searching for band members, auditioning, practicing as a group, etc.) So I know this went further than Trust Your Plan, but I think it will be helpful for anyone who reads this.
10. Have Fun!
Lastly, have fun. What’s the point of making it if you’re miserable. Remember to reward yourself when you reach benchmarks, and try to enjoy the journey even though it is hard sometimes. Once you have successes, celebrate with your team and this will keep everyone happy about the triumphs, and motivated to work on the next project because they know you’ll throw a big party once it’s completed. There are lots of different ways to have fun, so get creative, and do activities to really enjoy the journey to success.