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Follow These Tips to Achieve any Goal
There isn’t some secret “success formula” being hoarded in a top secret bunker by the 1% or some magic success potion brewed once every hundred years by mute Tibetan monks that guarantees your success. It simply doesn’t exist. Then why do we keep chasing short-cut after short-cut, get rich quick schemes by dubious “financial wizards”, and shell out our hard earned money for the proverbial magic bullet? Because we hate failure and we desperately want to succeed.
We hate it so much that we’re willing to make exceedingly terrible decisions for the merest whisper of an opportunity at success. It’s precisely because of this that people keep buying lottery tickets despite the astronomically long odds of success.
Being Successful Takes Work
The recipe for success is not a mystery, it’s just an inconvenient truth that many people simply don’t want, or outright refuse, to accept. Here’s the big secret. Are you ready for it? Success takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice over a long period of time.
That’s the recipe for success right there.
Hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. Feel free to quote me on that.
With such a simple formula, you’d think that more people would be successful and you’d be right if it weren’t for human nature. Bottom line, we’re lazy. Given two options to take in order to achieve the same result, we’ll nearly always choose the easier route. It’s just how we’re wired.
Our brains love the path of least resistance so we take the get rich quick scheme, we buy an egregiously overpriced workshop with a self-proclaimed guru, and we chase magic bullet after magic bullet and wonder why the hell we aren't getting anywhere.
To top that all off, we’re creatures of habit. We have an innate aversion to change because it’s unknown and we fear what we don’t know. Many people would rather stay in a dead end job or a bad relationship or keep eating unhealthy food when we want to lose weight because it’s comfortable and familiar. It’s part of our routine. As the saying goes, “The Devil you know is better than the Devil you don’t.” but here’s the thing, when you step out of your comfort zone, you’ll find that it wasn’t so comfortable.
Here’s an heaping dose of truth for you, you have it within you to succeed. No matter what it is that you want, you can get it and I’m going to help you achieve it. All you have to do is be willing to work hard and never give up.
Who the heck are you & why should I listen to you?
I’m Jimmy Hays Nelson, a.k.a. Coach Jimmy, and I’m no stranger to both the highs and lows of life. Up until about 10 years ago, I was always the heavy kid in school and at my worst, I was 100 lbs overweight while I was at college. I hit rock bottom when I was a three time college dropout living at home with my parents working as a bartender, I had multiple maxed out credit cards, I just got dumped by the woman I thought I was going to marry, and there was nothing on the horizon for me. No job prospects. No plans to go back to college. No hope for a future. Just nothing.
I was miserable.
I wasn’t happy with who I was, how I looked, or where my life was going, but I wasn’t doing anything about it either.
I was simply coasting through life taking it as it came along regardless of how unhappy I was until I worked up the motivation to lose weight.
Fast forward a few years, I lost 100 pounds, I got my confidence back, and I get an opportunity to build a home based business by partnering with a company that sells products I believe in and that legitimately work. It was a no-brainer to me, but I still took the chance and dove in because I had a feeling that it would get me to where I wanted to go. Fast forward a few more years and I built a seven figure business out of my home that generates a multi-six figure income so that I can lead the life that I want on my own terms.
None of this would have been possible if I hadn’t made the conscious decision to take back control of my life and relentlessly chased my goals.
What you’re going to get out of this guide
No matter what it is that you want to achieve, whether it’s losing weight, getting a new job, landing a promotion, building your own business, becoming financially stable, getting out of debt, or anything in between, this guide will help you achieve it. I’ll help you identify your true goal, break it down into more achievable chunks, and give you tips on how to stay on track and stay motivated.
Step #1: Set Your Goal
“Success” is a nebulous and subjective concept that’s based off of one’s accumulated life experiences, values, and cultural norms so there is quite literally an infinite number of definitions of what “success” is. What’s successful to me may be a failure to you and vice versa. However, if your goal is something vague like “be successful” or “get rich”, hit the drawing board. That’s not a goal. You’ve got more work to do.
Identify your goal
When thinking about your goal, you need to be as clear and precise as possible because you won’t be able to figure out the steps you need to take or where to start until you know where you're going. It’s like trying to drive to Seattle without a map or a compass. Sure, you might get lucky and miraculously end up there, but the odds are heavily stacked against that happening.
You’ll end up spending a lot of time going in the wrong direction and wasting energy on things that aren’t pushing you towards your goal.
You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know what you want. The more specific you can be about your goals, the easier it will be to achieve them.
Be very clear about what your goal is and what it means to achieve it so you aren’t chasing an idea of what you believe success is. This will also make your journey to your destination immeasurably easier as you’ll be able to plan the exact steps towards achieving your goal.
Understand the motivations behind your goal
Sometimes your goal may not be what you think it is, it certainly wasn’t for me when I started my business. I initially did it because I got a discount on the products I was going to be selling and I’d make a little cash on the side so I could get out of debt a little faster, but kept asking myself why I was doing it until it finally dawned on me that I wanted to take back control of my life.
Too many other people had a say in what I did with my time or my money. It was never about what I wanted or where I wanted my life to go and I was sick of it.
So, I want you to do the same thing with the goal you identified above. Ask yourself why you want it? When you have your an answer to that, ask yourself why do you want that and keep drilling down until you have your “A-HA! moment” where your actual goal and your actual motivation reveals itself.
Knowing that this was the real reason behind starting my own business put it all into perspective and gave me the motivation I needed to power through when times were tough. I knew what I was working so hard for and why I needed to keep pushing.
Be true to yourself
Whatever your goal is, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. If you’re embarking on a journey and you’re doing it for the wrong reasons or you really don’t want to do it or it's actually someone else's goal, you’re going to have a rough time and, honestly, you’re setting yourself up for failure. When times are tough, you’ll quit because you don’t really want it.
Which shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of us. When something isn’t important to us, it doesn’t really matter and we lack the motivation to keep pushing through roadblocks when the road gets a little bumpy. When you do quit, this will make you feel like a failure because you “failed” a goal that you didn't really care about to begin with.
Do do that to yourself. You have to deal with enough negative nonsense on a daily basis that the last thing you need is unnecessary guilt and shame piled on top of it.
Before you get started on making a plan or rush into pushing towards your goal, you need to ask, and answer, a few questions to see if you’re setting yourself up for success.
Questions that Need to Be Answered
- Will achieving this goal make me happy?
- Will achieving this goal make someone I love happy which will in turn contribute to my happiness?
- Will achieving this goal change my life for the better?
- Are the risks of achieving my goal worth the happiness I’ll receive?
Do it because you want to. Don’t let someone else’s vicarious desires determine your life’s trajectory. Your happiness is what matters most and working your butt off for something that doesn’t enrich your life is literally a waste of time and energy.
Write Your Goal Down
One of the best ways to make your goals real and tangible is to write them down so they aren’t just bouncing around in your head.
The simple act of putting pen, not pencil, to paper is you making a conscious decision to pursue this goal. This is where your journey begins because it’s real now. It’s out in the world and you can't un-ring that bell.
You know what you want. Now you just have to get to work.
When you’re writing this goal down, you should frame in in firm, decisive terms like “will” rather than “want” or “hope”. So if you’re big goal happens to be weight loss, rather than writing “I would like to lose 30 pounds,” you need to write “I will lose 30 pounds,” so each time you look at it you’ll get another shot of motivation to keep on trucking towards your goal.
Step #2: Make a Plan
Now that you’ve got your destination in mind, you have to figure out how you’re going to get there. We’ve got to build our roadmap and plan our trip, otherwise we’re not going to know what to pack, we’re going to waste time driving in the wrong direction, and ultimately spin our wheels going nowhere. This phase of achieving your goal is the most important and the most overlooked.
Break Your Big Goal Down into Smaller Pieces
Large goals can be intimidating and prevent you from starting because of OHMYGODLOOKHOWMUCHWORKITWILLTAKE or OHMYGODLOOKHOWFARAWAYITIS. Staring up at the mountaintop from its base makes you see just how far you truly have to go, but if you lower your eyes to only what’s in front of you, it’s nothing.
You don’t have to climb 10,000 feet anymore, just the 10 that are right in front of you. You can wipe the floor with those 10 feet. You can show those 10 feet who’s boss. You can walk up and down those 10 feet all day.
Break it down into smaller chunks and break those bits into even smaller bits if you have to. We’ll use weight loss as the example again and let's say that you want to lose 30 pounds. Alright, what are the steps that you need to take to achieve that?
Well, you probably need to get on some sort of diet or meal plan to manage your caloric intake and portion control. Add that to the list.
You’ll probably need a gym membership and some sort of workout schedule / program. Add those to the list too.
You’ll want to get some snazzy workout gear so you’re comfortable while you’re working out so you need to go shopping. Tack it onto the list.
You'll want an accountability partner or support group to help keep you motivated and on track. to the list it goes!
And you keep drilling down and drilling down until you’ve got yourself a complete list of all the little things and the minutia you need to knock out in order to lose those 30 pounds. You may think this is tedious, but guess what? You now have a literal roadmap to success. You have outlined the exact steps that you need to take to reach that goal.
All you have to do is complete all the things and success awaits.
Completing Small Goals Feeds Your Motivation
I’m calling it now and remember I said this, when you look at your list and see how many of these smaller tasks you’ve crossed off this list, you’re going to feel accomplished.
You’re going to feel motivated.
You’re going to be hungry to move onto the next one and strike it off your list for good, because you’re making progress towards your goal. Don’t believe me? Alright, which of the two lists below is more motivating when you look at it?
- Lose 30 pounds
Do morning cardio Research diets Make a meal plan Go grocery shopping Cook food for the week Shop for new workout clothes
- Look for gyms near me
- Do evening workout
Yeah, the one with all the tasks marked off. Trust me, I speak with a deep well of experience when I say that at some point trucking through your list, you’ll hit this state of critical mass where you’ll feed off your progress and accomplishment, so much so that it becomes its own motivation.
Can You Do It All?
With your newly written roadmap to success, you can be proactive about crushing your goal by planning ahead for future tasks that you may not be able to accomplish right now. Maybe you have a bullet item that requires you to have a certain skill or maybe it relies on someone else doing something first.
Knowing this ahead of time pops it up on your radar so you can give it the extra attention it needs or learn that skill with time to spare before that bullet pops up.
If you’re missing a tool from your toolbox and not actively pursuing it, you’re forcing yourself to work harder than you have to by handicapping yourself.
Set Your Deadline
“A dream is just a goal without a deadline” - Napoleon Hill
Remember those smaller objectives from earlier? Set dates. Set milestones. Set benchmarks. Set pulse checks to see if you’re still on track.
If it’s on your list, it needs to be on your calendar so there's always a sense of urgency. If you do this, you’re far more likely to accomplish your goal.
Step #3: Get Moving
There’s no such thing as an overnight success
“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” - Leonardo da Vinci
People may be born into wealth, but no one is born into success. You don’t just wake up one day and you're magically able to run a multi-million dollar company or have whatever your goal is dropped into your lap. The world doesn’t work like that.
There are no shortcuts. There are no magic bullets. There is only hard work and dedication.
Everyone that’s had great success has thousands of hidden hours behind them where they’ve had late nights doing research, honing their skills, or getting ahead so they can keep hustling the following day.
Bottom line, you have to be willing to work hard for every day for the rest of your life so when the opportunity you’ve been waiting for comes along either by the workings of the universe or your own blood, sweat, and tears, you’ll be ready to crush it. You’ll never achieve your goal if you never get started and what better day to do that than today?
When you hit a wall, go around
Invariably, you’re going to come face to face with a problem you can’t solve. It's absolutely unavoidable. Accept it now. You will encounter problems that are going to stump you.
Whether it’s figuring out how to drive more customers to your business, convincing your boss you deserve an accelerated performance review, finding the perfect brand name for your startup, or any number of things, you’re going to come to an absolute stand still and it’s going to frustrate the ever-loving crap out of you (trust me, I know).
Rather than beating your face against the wall and stressing yourself out over not being able to get past this hump, move on to something else. If you can’t solve or come up with a new plan of attack in 20 minutes, don't waste 2 hours staring at the wall mulling it over in your mind. Pick another item on your list and knock that out.
Once that’s finished, circle back around. You’ve built some momentum, you’ve crossed another task off your list, and you may have an idea you didn’t have before because your mind is actively engaged now rather than being preoccupied with your lack of progress.
If inspiration still hasn’t struck, move to the next item on your list and keep repeating this cycle until the solution presents itself. You may have a tough time with this at first, but the key here is staying productive.
What’s a better use of your time? Spinning around in your chair angrily trying to solve a frustrating problem or scratching off four or five other tasks while you let that problem simmer on the back burner? You know the answer to that. Stop wasting time.
By all that is good and holy, do NOT put off to tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is a slippery slope because it’s so damn easy to do nothing.
There is no, “Oh, I’ll just do this tomorrow,” because one day will bleed into two, two into three, three into a week, and before you know it, it’s six months later and you haven’t done squat.
“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.” - Jerry Rice
It’s so easy to recline on the couch and flip on the TV or pull up Facebook on your phone or power up a video game and veg out. Unless your goal is directly, and positively, influenced by one of these things, turn them off. Turn them all off. Every hour you spend scrolling through your Facebook news feed is an hour you could spend building your business or working out or building a better relationship with your spouse or loved ones.
These leisure activities are a luxury and you don’t have time for luxury. You have more important things to do. You have goals. You have an action plan.
Every step you make towards your goal today is one less step you have to take tomorrow.
If you’re at this point of the guide, you have your action plan written out so you have all the tasks and projects you need to complete in order to achieve your goal. You know what you need to do, it’s right there in front of you. Get off your butt and do it!
Step #4: Stay Motivated
One of the biggest reasons why people don’t achieve their goals is because they lose their motivation.
Maybe they’re not seeing the return they were hoping for, maybe they’re not as far along as they’d like to be, maybe the newness has worn off and it isn’t quite as exciting as it was before, or maybe life just keeps getting in the way, but one way or another, that lightning bolt of motivation that got the ball rolling stopped doing it for them and they never got that spark back so they gave up.
If you truly want to achieve your goal, you can’t be like those people. Those people fail. Those people coast through a life of mediocrity. You have to fuel your own motivation and keep that fire burning so when the wintry winds of frustration and disappointment blow in, your fire doesn’t go out.
Be kind to yourself
This is going to be a long journey and it doesn’t need to be made any tougher with you beating up on yourself every time you make a mistake or something doesn’t go the way that you planned.
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” - Henry Ford
You’re going to make mistakes.
You’re going to have setbacks.
You’re probably going to fall behind schedule and miss a deadline or two, but you know what? That’s okay. You’re human. Accept that it happened, forgive yourself, pick yourself back up, and move on.
Tomorrow’s another day to kick it into high gear and crush it.
Don’t compare yourself to others
I know it’s hard not to do when you see someone drive by in a nice car or with that thing you want, but don’t do it. You’re seeing a tiny snippet of their life and you’re projecting all the things you think they’ve done to be successful onto this snapshot you have of them. You have no way of knowing what they do for a living, whether they have healthy relationships with their family, if they hate themselves, and so on.
If you’re looking to lose weight and you see someone with the body type you’re working towards, they could be a trust fund baby and literally have all day, every day to exercise where you have maybe a hour a day with your busy schedule. Is that a fair comparison between the two of you? Hell no.
You can’t compare someone’s highlight reel to your behind the scenes footage. It doesn’t matter what they’re doing or what they have. All that matters is the work you’re putting in day in and day out and making consistent progress towards your goal. That’s what you can control and that’s what you should be focusing on.
Focus on your progress
No matter how granularly you break down your roadmap, long-term goals can be tough to accomplish, especially when you look at a calendar and see that ‘x’ months have gone by and you haven’t achieved it yet. You have to remember to not lose perspective. You have to focus on how far you've come and not whether or not you’ve accomplished your goal yet.
When I help people with their weight loss goals, I make sure that they take “before” photos and weekly progress photos whether they want to or not so when they start to feel those de-motivational blues seeping in, they can compare exactly where they were to where they are now and literally see how far they’ve come.
This is also why we keep that roadmap handy so when you’re starting to feel like you aren’t getting any closer to success, you can look down that list and see how many tasks you’ve checked off.
Don’t worry about the big goal. Focus on making small gains every day, remind yourself of your progress, and it’ll take care of itself.
Surround yourself with positivity
“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” - Thomas Jefferson
Your surroundings play a heavy role in your mindset. If your life is chock full of drama, stressors, and negative people, chances are that you’re going to have a tough time staying motivated or focusing on the task at hand when you’re being circled and derailed by chaos.
The best thing you can do for your mental well being and motivation is to remove that negativity and replace it with activities and people that enrich your life. Every morning when I wake up, the first thing I do is listen to something that enriches my mind or my spirit. Whether it’s motivational music, a sermon, or a seminar, there’s always something that puts me in the right mindset to attack the rest of my day.
You have to find whatever that is for you. Whether it’s feeding off of the energy of other driven people, listening to motivational music, following thought leaders and innovators in your field, or watching personal development seminars, the possibilities are endless and they will be a positive influence on both your motivation, mood, mindset, and ability to achieve your goals.
Step #5: Take Responsibility
No one is going to achieve your goal for you. No one is going to put a boot in your ass if you miss your benchmarks. No one is going to give a damn if you don’t get what you want. No one is going to pick you up and dust you off if you fall off the wagon. No one is going to keep you from succeeding except you and you only fail when you quit.
Hold yourself accountable
This is your goal. This is your responsibility. It is your hard work that will lead to your success. This is on your shoulders and no one else’s so when you don’t hit your deadlines, whose has to take responsibility for it? You do. When you’re not getting the traction or progressing as fast as you were hoping for, who has to figure out why? You do.
"Everything wrong in your world is your fault." - Gary Vaynerchuk
At the end of the day, the buck stops with you. If you want to achieve your goal, it’s going to take hard work and dedication and no matter what happens, you have to be unwilling to compromise on getting the work done.
You have to own it and take responsibility for all of it.
The good, the bad, and the ugly. The parts of it that you love to do as well as the parts you hate.
It doesn’t matter whether or not you feel like doing it, you have to.
It Takes Sacrifice
One of the most frequent excuses I hear from people when they talk about why they haven’t achieved their goal yet is because they “don’t have enough time” and my first question to them right after that is, “Well, what are you doing with your time?”
The answers vary from person to person. Some people have to look after their kids in the evening while their spouse is away or they’re a single parent or they’re working two jobs and that’s all totally understandable. Those are responsibilities. You can’t and shouldn’t avoid those.
However, words like Facebook', TV, Internet, video games, Instagram, and party invariably come up and guess what? These aren’t responsibilities.
These aren’t important things that you have to do. These are luxury activities. These are time wasters. These are things you do when all of the work’s done.
If you’re working towards a goal and you’re doing one of these things instead, you done goofed, kid.
Whether it’s watching TV in the evening when you get off of work or looking at Facebook on your lunch break instead of working, there are only 24 hours in a day and you’re going to have to give something up to fit in your new goal. Sorry. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Deal with it.
So the question that you need to ask yourself now is, what are you willing to give up to be successful? Is watching 3 hours of TV a night more important to you than getting that promotion? Is scrolling through your Facebook feed a higher priority than squeezing in a workout to shed an extra pound this week? Are you willing to give up an hour of sleep a night to get ahead on tomorrow’s work?
You have plenty of time to be successful, you just aren’t making the most of it.
Never Give Up
No matter what it is, this goal is important to you. Achieving it means something to you whether it’s more money, being happier, or just the confidence you’ll get from knowing that you did it. You want to do this and the only way you’ll truly fail is by quitting.
If you’re walking into the office and you trip and fall, that’s failure. You failed to walk. When you’re down, do you say, “This is my life now,” and stay on the ground? No! You pick yourself up, brush yourself off, maybe curse a time or two under your breath, and you keep moving. You may scoff and roll your eyes at my example, but so many people say, “This is my life now,” and give up on their goals when the universe throws them a curveball.
Does it suck that you got derailed? Absolutely. Is it the end of the line? Hell no! Pick yourself up, figure out what happened, and keep on trucking. You will achieve your goal if you don’t give up on yourself.