The Science of Accomplishing Your Goals

It’s good to have goals, no matter what size they are. Maybe you want to cook more frequently instead of ordering take out. Maybe you want to finally finish writing that novel. Or maybe you just want to get past a new level of a particularly tough video game.

Unfortunately, some goals are harder to keep than others. Anyone who has ever made a New Year’s resolution to go to the gym more often can tell you how tricky it is to keep up such momentum for more than a few days.

The human brain is wired to favor routine over novelty, even if that routine is unhealthy. For instance, people who were given either stale or fresh popcorn ate the same amount while watching a movie—even though participants admitted that the stale popcorn didn’t taste as good. The participants were so used to the routine of eating popcorn in the theater that the quality of the snack didn’t matter.

How can we fight our brain’s natural urge to stick to its usual routine if that routine is no longer working? How can we convince ourselves to eat fruit instead of chocolate, organize our apartment instead of watching television, or cook dinner instead of ordering pizza?

Here are three ways to trick your brain into helping you accomplish your goals:

1. Turn the goal into a habit.

Say that you brush your teeth every night before bed, but you want to start using mouthwash as well. Chances are when you brush your teeth you go into “autopilot mode” and don’t think about the specific steps involved in the process, such as getting your toothbrush from the medicine cabinet or squeezing toothpaste onto it. But you don’t always remember to use mouthwash: Sometimes you brush your teeth and immediately go to bed; other times you rely on a sticky note on your bathroom mirror. In this example, brushing your teeth is the habit and using your mouthwash is the goal.

A recent study published in the journal Neuron found that habits and goals are stored differently in the human brain. Specifically, a region known as the orbitofrontal cortex is responsible for converting wishful goals into solid, automatic habits via the neuralmessengers known as endocannabinoids, which are also responsible for modulating appetite, memory, mood and (as the name implies) the psychoactive effects of cannabis.

The best way to get your endocannabinoids to help you form a habit is by being consistent. Work toward your goal every day, even if you don’t feel like it. You can set aside a specific time each day, or a specific context. For instance, you can use mouthwash every day at exactly 9 p.m. (a specific time), or you could use mouthwash immediately after brushing your teeth (a specific context). The more regular the behavior, the more easily your brain can convert it into a habit.

2. Change your environment.

Sometimes a fresh environment is all you need to kick your brain into gear. In one study, scientists discovered that students who transferred to another college were more likely to change their daily habits than students who remained at the same place.

Environmental cues are essential when it comes to habit formation, in part because the brain is excellent at connecting an environment with a specific situation. As an example, someone who likes to snack while watching a movie might be unable to resist purchasing popcorn from the concession stand, even if they’re not hungry. According to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, the best time to change a habit is on vacation—because your usual environmental cues are missing.

If you find yourself constantly giving up on your goals, take a look at your surroundings: Is it difficult to clean the living room because you’re so used to watching television in that space? Do you zone out when you visit your favorite coffee shop instead of finishing your screenplay? Try sitting in a different chair or working in your local library. Think about taking a vacation. Seeing new sights may make it easier to achieve your goals.

3. Use dopamine to your advantage.

When we get something we want—a promotion, an ice cream cone, or a kiss from a loved one—our brain releases dopamine. This chemical is often known as the “feel good” neurotransmitter because it does just that—it makes us feel good.

It’s possible to manipulate your dopamine levels by setting small goals and then accomplishing them. For instance, your brain may receive a spike in dopamine if you promise yourself that you’ll clean out the refrigerator, and then you do. This is one reason people benefit from to-do lists: The satisfaction of ticking off a small task is linked with a flood of dopamine. Each time your brain gets a whiff of this rewarding neurotransmitter, it will want you to repeat the associated behavior. This is why drugs that manipulate the dopamine system are so dangerously addictive and why so many people repeatedly play the lottery.

The next time you want to accomplish a big goal, try to break it down into bite-sized, dopamine-friendly pieces. If you want to go to the gym every day, check off each successful visit on a calendar. If you want to write a novel, make a deal with yourself to write for just 15 minutes every day.

These represent are only a few of the ways in which you can work toward your goals. A 2009 study found that another good way to accomplish your goals is to avoid telling other people about them, because letting another person know what you’re up to can give you a premature sense of completeness. Gamification, or turning chores and goals into games, is a great way to fight the procrastination bug.

When it comes to accomplishing your goals, there is always something standing in your way, such as money, work, or your brain’s neurochemistry. Thankfully, with these tips, it should be possible to fight at least one of these variables. Stay consistent, change your environment, and bask in the dopamine: You just might change your life. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can start reaping the rewards of your goals. As Stephen King once said: “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration—the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

 

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This article was written by Ralph Ryback M.D.,   a board certified Harvard trained psychiatrist with an internship in medicine, who has taught at many institutions including Harvard Medical School. 

How to Wake Up and Instantly Achieve Something Everyday

Imagine this: you wake up and you instantly achieve something. You complete a goal, you make progress, you build momentum and you build self-esteem. You make it part of your routine and achieve something everyday, instantly.

All you have to do is tackle a goal when you wake up.

Each morning when I wake up I get started on one of my goals before I do anything else. Before I’ve even had breakfast, had a shower or got changed, I’ve usually completed the most important task of my day.

When I started doing this it had massive effects on my productivity. I had done the most important thing, I’d made progress on the previous day, I’d achieved what I wanted to achieve and had the rest of the day to add to that.

By making this part of my morning routine, I gave myself a huge boost every single morning, compounding on the last day. My achievement and progress rate went through the roof, my momentum grew, and the feeling that I’m achieving something is constantly with me.

It is simple to do, and could be the quickest, easiest lifehack you’ve ever used!

The first step is to plan what it is that you’ll be working on. This needs to be done the night before.

What is your major goal? What is the most important task for you to do? What would reap the most benefits? What would progress you further and push you towards what it is that you want?

The important point here is to choose something that provides the most results, it has to be something that is meaningful to you and helps you to progress toward your goals. If you choose a major task that is congruent with your life goals, you’ll feel a stronger sense of achievement. If you’re faced with a decision of writing a book vs. ironing clothes, start writing the book! Tackle the big things early in the day, and you’ll see that you still have time for the small things later. Put them at the bottom of your to-do list!

Once you know what you’re going to do and you have your plans set out for when you wake up, it is time to forget about it and get some sleep!

When you wake up, get started instantly. Jump out of bed, skip your whole morning routine and just get started on the task.

Don’t get a shower, don’t get changed, don’t stretch, lie back and turn on the T.V. If you really have to eat something, grab something quick and wait until later for a larger breakfast (unless you plan on working for a long time)!

You don’t want any distractions, no TV, no radio, don’t check your e-mails, don’t check your RSS reader, don’t check your facebook, twitter, digg, stumble upon, any social network. If you don’t need it, don’t use it!

If possible, don’t have anyone interrupt you or disturb you. It helps a lot if you wake up before anyone else. You get an hour or two where you can just sit quietly and get on with your task, it’s this quiet isolation that is ideal for getting something done.

If you do this everyday, you’ll be making progress every single time you wake up, before you have even had a shower and got dressed, you’ve achieved what you wanted to. Before everyone else is awake, you’ve completed one of your big goals. It is a life changing habit that is easy to start. Make it part of your morning routine and see how your progress snowballs, compounding each day on top of what you have previously achieved. Doing it every day helps you to stay motivated, it’s constant progress, it isn’t once a week , it is every day, it is part of your routine, it is the first thing you do, everything else is second to it.

Those goals that are gathering dust can be done before anyone else is even awake. You’re starting the rest of the day with your main goal completed, you’ve built momentum for the rest of the day and you are going to be inspired and motivated by what you’ve already achieved. This constant feeling of achievement every morning means that your self-esteem is building, which means that you are motivated to achieve more and more. It’s a cycle of motivation and achievement and once you get started it is hard to stop it.

Try this, and instantly achieve something the next time you wake up.

 

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This article was written by Paul Dickinson,  the author of productivity blog: Live Without Work. After failing to get the results at university, he realized his current work ethic wasn’t working. From then on, he has spent his time testing productivity techniques and blogging about the successes he’s had.

7 Ways To Live Happier With Better Short-Term Goals

Do you want to be a happier on a daily basis? If so, then you need to focus on short-term goals rather than long-term goals.

Short-term goals are goals that focus on the immediate future. They focus on today, this week, or this month. They have long been neglected as the unsexy stepchild of “real” goals, but they are, in fact, the guide to a better, happier life.

Here are 7 ways to live happier with better short-term goals:

1. Use short-term goals to improve your quality of life

Why do you have goals at all?

If you are like most people, you ultimately want to improve your quality of life. You hope that goals are the right tools for the job. This hope is justified – if you rely on short-term goals rather than long-term goals.

Have you ever achieved a long-term goal and thought, “Is that all I get? What now? Has my life changed?” This disenchantment is the result of a mental bias that psychologists call focalism. We focus so heavily on our long-term goals that we think we will be perfectly happy when we achieve them – but we won’t.

When we reach a long-term goal, all the other troubles in our lives remain. A promotion does little to solve our loneliness, and a new relationship is unable to fix our financial problems. These remaining problems reduce the happiness that we gain from the achievement and prevent the intended state of perfect bliss.

Unfortunately, focalism often leads us to sacrifice short-term pleasures. We accept bad days, months, and years to chase what we hope can bring perfect happiness, but it is a mirage. When the expected payoff fails to come about, we become depressed.

Short-term goals work better for our mental process. They help us to make the best of every day, and eventually, a long string of happy days will connect to a happy life.

2. Use short-term goals to define better long-term goals

Do you sometimes feel pressured by large long-term goals?

Fortunately, the right short-term goals help you set better, less intimidating long-term goals.

When you want to become a millionaire in the next five years, today has to be perfect. You would have to come up with a million-dollar idea, start a business, and become a great leader. If you are like most people, this pressure is more likely to lead to inaction than to great things – when the human mind is overwhelmed, it freezes.

To avoid a freeze, we have to set achievable goals. We can find achievable long-term goals by focusing on the short term first. Regarding money, this could mean to set the goal of being better off at the end of every month than at its beginning. We want to have paid off some debt and invested a little. This way, our financial security increases every month, which aids our quality of life – and that is the ultimate goal. Over time, these small steps will accumulate and significantly improve our quality of life.

Understanding our short-term possibilities helps us come up with better long-term solutions. Instead of making things difficult with a concrete financial life-goal, we can say that we want to be comfortable. We want to be able to pay all our bills, buy a few nice things, and take a couple of vacations a year.

As studies have shown, making more money beyond comfortability fails to add to our quality of life. Alas, making this money requires so much effort, time, and sacrifice that we feel worse. The pressure of too large long-term goals often translates to a short-term loss of quality of life.

It is better to take many small steps than to hope for a giant leap and go nowhere.

3. Let your short term goals be the autopilot to your long term goals

Sure, we would all like to be millionaires by age 50, but how does that translate to what we should do today?

If you have long-term goals, you probably know how difficult it can be to connect them to daily actions. Focusing too heavily on long-term goals can render our daily actions insignificant, leading to passivity and stagnation.

To avoid this problem, use short-term goals. When you want to be better off financially by the end of the month, saving $20 today is significant. So is controlling your expenses and paying your mortgage and your credit card.

The same principle applies to a happy relationship. Instead of saying that you want to have a happy family when you are old, short-term goals help you understand that you should bring your partner flowers today.

With the right short-term goals, you can almost forget about your long-term goals. You will automatically get there.

4. Let your short-term goals guide you to your passion

Are you passionate about something?

If so, you most likely want to live this passion in some way. Short-term goals are a great way of connecting your life and your passions.

When we create long-term goals, we often focus on what we think we have to do. We doubt that we would be able to survive if we focused on what we like, which is why our fears and insecurities trick us into living lives devoid of passion.

Short-term goals help us do what we love on a daily basis. There is always a little time to fit in what you love. Without noticing, these many small steps eventually amount to a life full of passion.

5. Use your short-term goals to free yourself from unrealistic expectations

Short-term goals are often more realistic than long-term goals.

When you plan ahead 30 or 50 years, you can hope for almost anything. However, when you plan for this day or the next week, you have to be realistic. This realism has significant advantages. It lends clarity to our needs and forces us to focus on what we can do rather than what we want to do.

Instead of hoping to become an astronaut someday, we have to understand which passion drew us to this goal and find a way to live this passion in the here and now. In this case, we might donate money, give talks to students, or start building rockets with our friends.

As we try more and more things, we accumulate skills and contacts that relate to our passions. More and more parts of our lives revolve around our passions, and we become happier. Of course, we are unlikely ever to become astronauts, but we will find a way to live our passion that makes us just as happy.

6. Use short-term goals to deal with the chaos of daily life

Is your life sometimes chaotic and unpredictable?

Short-term goals help you to better deal with this unpredictability because they avoid the mistake of assuming that the next five or ten years will go exactly to plan.

When you think that what happens today is essential to your only dream in life, little distractions become huge disasters. When you focus on the short term, you might have to switch around a few things, but you avoid a crisis.

Short-term goals create happier, less stressful lives. They take the weight of big goals off your shoulders.

7. Beat temporal discounting with short-term goals

Temporal discounting is a well-known psychological effect that destroys the effectiveness of long-term goals. Temporal discounting describes the human tendency to prefer smaller, immediate rewards to larger, distant rewards.

For example, when test subjects were asked whether they would like $400 now or $800 a year from now, most of them preferred the $400 now. Likely, most of these students want to be well-off in the future, but the distant goal leads to a bad decision.

Concrete, short-term rewards are more attractive to our minds than abstract long-term rewards. Our goal setting has to reflect this bias and focus on creating constructive short-term goals instead of inefficient long-term goals.

The students could beat temporal discounting by saying that they want to make the best financial decisions in the here and now. With this strategy, better short-terms goals would work better with their mental process.

Now that you understand how to live happier by setting better short-term goals, what is the first short-term goal you are going to achieve?

 

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This article was written by Mindvalley, an online training and education source that offers education for people who refuse to fit into the ordinary world

Top 10 Common Habits of High Achievers

I have spent the past fifteen years paying attention to the habits, mindset, rituals, processes and decision-making of high achievers who became very wealthy. I learned a lot from my Rich Habits Study and incorporated what I learned in my Rich Habits books.

High Achievers are people who achieve some level of greatness in life. They might be successful entrepreneurs, professional athletes, Olympians, famous writers/authors, painters, engineers, singers, prominent religious figures, etc.

Essentially, they are individuals who, through their actions, achieve greatness. And these high achievers all share certain common habits. Thanks to my research, I’ve identified 10 of the most common habits of High Achievers, in their order of importance:

  1. Consistency. High Achievers go at it every day even when they are down, lack motivation, are sick, financially destitute or when life goes wrong. They have specific habits or routines they perform every day no matter what.
  2. Focus. High Achievers are single-mindedly focused on their goals, dreams and routines. They block out all distractions. They are masters at single-tasking. They never take their eye off the ball.
  3. Visionaries. High Achievers have a vision or a blueprint. Most likely, it is in writing and it is very specific. Their vision or blueprint is the GPS or map they use to get them from where they are to where they want to be.
  4. Persistent. High Achievers pursue their goals and dreams relentlessly. They overcome adversity. They overcome obstacles. They pivot or find ways to navigate around impasses. They never quit.
  5. Obsessed. High Achievers are fanatics. They are obsessed about their goals, dreams and routines. They think about them 24/7. They even dream about them.
  6. Processed-Oriented. High Achievers create processes through experimentation that work and that they follow.
  7. Action-Oriented. High Achievers are in constant motion. They pursue activities that help them to move continuously forward to achieve their goals and dreams.
  8. Calculated Risk Takers. High Achievers are calculated risk takers. They overcome their fear of failure, fear of making mistakes and fear of consequences by doing their homework.
  9. Deliberate Practice. High Achievers engage in daily Deliberate Practice in order to maintain and improve their skills.
  10. Self-Educators. High Achievers pursue knowledge every day. They become experts in their field by increasing their knowledge through education.

As you can see, there are many moving parts, many variables and many ingredients to becoming a High Achiever. It’s not any one thing that creates greatness. Greatness is a symphony.

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This article was written by Tom Corley, a financial planner, best-selling author of Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to Be Happy and Successful in Life, accountant, empowering speaker, and founder of the Rich Habits Institute.

Focus on Progress, Not Perfection

When you set out to accomplish a new goal, you might start off with gusto and determination. You may be highly motivated, ready to make a change and confident it will go perfectly!

But as time goes by, reality sets in, and your goal starts to feel harder and harder to reach. You struggle as you try to recapture the energy and excitement that started you on this path. When you can’t, you resign yourself to the idea that the battle has been lost. The glory you wanted to achieve is but a glimmer — a faint reminder of what could have been.

Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common. As a wellness coach, I hear different versions of it again and again. The good news is I know it doesn’t have to be this way. I know there is an easier path to take toward achieving your goals.

The first step is changing your mindset. When attempting to reach goals, many people take on a perfectionist attitude, thinking it will lead to success. However, the opposite is often true. Perfectionism can, in fact, get in the way of achieving your goals.

How perfectionism gets in your way

Here are some ways that I’ve seen perfectionism stop people from realizing their wellness goals:

  • It slows you down. Trying to achieve perfection requires extra energy, focus and time. When you hyperfocus your attention on details, things take more time, which can sap your energy and wear you down. This makes it much more difficult to make meaningful change. It’s like trying to drive a car with the parking brake on.
  • It hinders new ideas and ways of doing things. When your concentration is directed toward flawlessness, you lose the ability to be aware and open to other possibilities. Imagine perfectionism as a castle surrounded by a moat and armed guards — it may feel safe inside the castle, but it also stops fresh ideas and creative solutions from coming in the door. Perfectionism can keep you stuck doing the same thing over and over again with the same result.
  • It leads to self-criticism. When you fall short of a goal, your judgmental inner voice can start throwing barbs your way, creating a never-ending battle in your own mind. This self-imposed mental assault may lead you to abandon your goal. Worse yet, you may be left with an underlying sense that you’ll never have the resources or the ability to realize your goals.
  • It makes your motivation inconsistent. By focusing on perfection, you tend to think in terms of black or white. Win or lose. Fail or succeed. There is no gray or middle ground. This type of thinking can make your motivation go up and down like a roller coaster. For instance, when things are going well, you might feel confident, accomplished and capable. These positive emotions can encourage you to keep moving forward. But as soon as things turn south, you start feeling discouraged and uninspired. These negative emotions tend to sour your enthusiasm, which makes it tough to stay the course.

Why focusing on progress is key

Focusing on progress, instead of perfection, can make it much easier and enjoyable to reach your goals. Here are some benefits of focusing on progress:

  • It motivates you to keep going. It can be empowering to look back and see the progress you’ve made in spite of challenges you’ve faced. When the going gets tough, you can draw on your past successes to propel you forward. Reflecting on your progress can also reinforce the belief that you have the ability to change — that your goals are within your reach. This belief in yourself fuels your motivation and can sustain you during challenging times.
  • It encourages a mindset of learning, not failure. In the business world, there is a term used to describe the concept of viewing each mistake as an opportunity to learn from what went wrong, rather than as a win-or-lose proposition. It’s called failing forward. Try applying this concept to your daily life. The word “failure” becomes obsolete because there are only learning experiences on the path to achieving your goals. When you focus on what you’ve learned, it takes the pressure off and gives you space to experiment with new approaches to see what works and what doesn’t. The path to obtaining your goal becomes a playful adventure.
  • It gives you more reasons to celebrate. By focusing on progress, your eyes are open to each accomplishment and success, no matter how small. With this awareness, it becomes possible to celebrate each milestone. You relish the next step because you’re excited about what the future holds.
  • It’s sustainable. Perfectionism isn’t sustainable because life is ever changing. There will always be new trials and tribulations that will sway you from your target. You need to be nimble and flexible to manage all of the challenges life hands you. By focusing on progress, you can more easily overcome obstacles, because you know there will be ups and downs. You know that you don’t have to be perfect. You know that the path to success isn’t a straight line. This knowing keeps you on the path to success.

Next steps

The next time you find yourself trying to be perfect, beating yourself up for each misstep, try a different perspective. Shift your focus from perfection to progress and celebrate your successes.

Then, take some time to reflect on what happened when you changed your focus. Did you feel more joyful? Did it make it easier to move forward? Did it help your motivation? These are important questions to ask yourself because the information you gather can be used to reach your goals.

Experiments

  1. Identify one or two actions you can take to solve a problem you have.
  2. Reframe a past failure and see it as progress.
  3. Set realistic goals.

 

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This article was written by Amy Charland, a writer and wellness coach who is passionate about creating cultures that lift the human spirit and helping others to realize their full potential.

7 Ways To Transform Your Goals Into Rock Solid Systems

You’ve been there.

Maybe you have unfinished novels scattered across your hard drive, or haven’t picked up your guitar in weeks, or have stopped practicing that new language you so desperately wanted to learn.

Goals are easy to conceptualize. It’s easy to convince yourself that this time it’s different.

But it still doesn’t work.

Why is it so hard to actually achieve the goals we set for ourselves? Why do so many of us fail?

Here’s a hint—it’s not about your level of commitment. That’s irrelevant.

When we set goals, we too often plunge head first into the deep end with our eyes on one thing only — the achievement itself.

This, my friend, is why you fail.

You’re approaching your goals the wrong way. Not only that, you’re choosing the wrong kinds of goals to begin with.

Here are 7 ways to transform your goals into rock solid systems.

1. Adopt a systems mindset

Focusing only on the achievement of your goal doesn’t give you the best chance of success.

Scott Adams, in his book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, said that achievement-oriented people “exist in a state of continuous presuccess failure at best, and permanent failure at worst if things never work out.” What he means is that end-state thinking creates a division between progress and achievement.

In other words, if you aren’t winning, you’re failing.

A system is defined as “an organized, purposeful structure that consists of interrelated and interdependent elements.” A systems mindset shifts your thinking away from the end-state and lets you focus on your progress.

To skyrocket your chances of success, you have to be systems-oriented. And you must start with the right kinds of goals.

2. Get big with your goals! Forget being S.M.A.R.T.

Successful companies set long-term strategic goals, called BHAGs (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals). Consider these classic examples:

• “Crush Adidas.” (Nike, 1960’s)

• “Every book, ever printed, in any language, all available in less than 60 seconds.” (Amazon)

• “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.” (JFK, 1961)

BHAGs are clear, compelling, represent a vision, and inspire tremendous effort.

My favorite example of a personal BHAG comes from Arnold Schwarzenegger before he was famous. When asked what he was going to do after his bodybuilding career was over, he said, “I’m going to be the number-one box office star in Hollywood.” How’s that for big?

S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Reasonable, and Time-bound) don’t inspire us the way BHAGs do. They are limiting and are often boring.

We need to allow more room in our lives for those BHAGs that excite us, that stimulate our success triggers and enable us to think more creatively about our futures.

When setting your goals, go big. Think BHAG.

3. Get strategic, and layer in your tactics

Strategy gives us the how behind an idea. It propels us forward and guides us where we need to go.

Strategic goals help us achieve our BHAGs because they drive everything we do.

Consider the BHAG, “To live a life of abundance, free of financial burden.” What could be one strategic goal that aligns with this BHAG? How about “make an extra $1000 a month?” Setting this strategic objective could help you achieve your vision of living abundantly.

Tactics, then, comprise the what behind our strategy. Tactics are the specific actions we take based on our strategic objectives.

In the example above, you could brainstorm specific actions to make an extra $1,000 a month — work overtime three days a week, sell one freelance article a week, or shop garage sales on weekends and sell items on eBay for a profit.

The tactics you implement support your strategic goals, which in turn align with and push you toward your BHAGs.

Break these tactics down even further into actionable components that can become habits. For your tactic of selling an article a week, start with a simple action to “write 200 words every day.” Pretty soon, this becomes a habit, and you’ve built a set of behaviors that link your habits to your tactics, your tactics to your strategy, and your strategy to your BHAG.

You’ve taken the initial steps to create a rock-solid system!

But we’re not done yet.

4. Set milestones and celebrate them

Rock-solid systems must contain benchmarks to gauge their effectiveness. How else will you know if your systems are working?

These could be time-bound, such as 30 days in, 90 days in, etc. Or they could be results driven, with intervals set at certain waypoints (5 pounds lost, 10 pounds lost, $100 extra per month, etc.).

How you set your milestones is far less important than the fact that you set them to begin with. We must be able to measure ourselves against the progress we expect to achieve.

And when you reach a milestone, the first thing you should do is celebrate! Don’t let small wins pass you by.

Every gain, no matter how incremental, is movement in the right direction. I can’t emphasize this point enough. If you don’t make the effort to cheer for yourself, then I would question whether or not you’ve set the right goal or have a clear vision.

5. Assess your progress and don’t be afraid to pivot.

If your system isn’t working, whether you scrap it or tweak it is up to you. If the probability of reaching your next milestone is low, you might need to make some significant adjustments.

Perfectly fine.

One of the beautiful things about systems is that they’re flexible. If something isn’t working, try a different approach.

Entrepreneurs do this quite well. It’s commonplace to hear of serial entrepreneurs who failed miserably time and again until they implemented the right system.

This is another reason why I love BHAGs. They help me keep my eye on the prize and worry less about the small stuff.

6. Get an accountability partner (or team) and solicit feedback.

One pair of hands alone can’t build rock-solid systems. Sometimes we just need someone to push us.

If you work alone, you know how easy it is to anchor yourself on one concept or idea.

We create more value when we’re able to share our thoughts and ideas with others.

An accountability partner or team can be like your own personal board of directors. They have your best interests at heart, and if you have a great partner, they won’t hesitate to tell you when something is broken.

So outline your system for a trusted friend or mentor and ask, “What do you think?” And check in with them on a regular basis.

I guarantee you’ll get better results.

7. Focus on the journey

With systems-oriented thinking, you will not have immediate gratification. And that’s okay. Working towards BHAGs are about pushing yourself, immersing yourself in your values and working toward your envisioned future.

Systems force you to focus on your journey and help you build habits that align with your goals. And once you’ve built those systems, you will never worry about achieving your goal—because you will!

The system won’t allow you to fail.

You now have a framework for building rock-solid systems, but the rest is up to you. It isn’t enough to just read these steps, nod your head in agreement and move onto another topic.

It’s true – setting goals and implementing rock-solid systems is a lot of work. But the payoffs are worth ten times that effort.

Achieving your goals feels great. Building systems that take you beyond your goals feels even better.

Rock-solid systems are life changing. If you’re willing to put in the hours, you’ll become a goal-getting machine.

When will you start?

 

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This article was written by Scott Sind, who is on a mission to help burned-out employees and business owners build a life that enables them to do meaningful, rewarding work they truly love. He’s the author of ActivateThought.com, where he writes about leadership, success, creativity, and professional development.

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