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How to Set Goals and Create a Pattern of Success

The secret to success is having an achievable goal and working at it every day

How to Create a Pattern of Success

Once you experience success, you will be able to look back and realize that you achieve all success pretty much the same way. You set a goal, follow through on the tasks needed to be done for achieving results, keep an open mind, learn from others, track your successes and learn from failure. It’s the same thing, over and over again. And it works.

If you want to create a pattern of success in your life, you can start now by learning the secret that successful people know. Successful people are only special because they are doers and they follow through. They are not smarter than others or any more motivated; in fact, it is entirely possible you are smarter on paper than they are. It’s more likely that you just don’t follow through.

Become a Goal Setting Expert

Start at the top and learn how to craft the best goals for yourself. Know that the goal is something that can be accomplished and know that the goal is measurable before you finish writing it. Most of all, make sure it’s a goal that you really want to achieve.

Schedule Everything

Schedules are very important to the success of reaching any goal in life. To Do lists pale in comparison to a well laid out calendar of tasks and activities that get you from point A to point B. Ensure that you look at your schedule every morning and every night and note when you succeed on sticking to your schedule and when you don’t. Noticing a pattern of activity can be helpful in fixing a poorly written schedule as well as staying realistic about whether or not you’re sticking to the plan.

People who achieve are doers. If you want to get something done, schedule it no matter how silly it might seem to you. If you put it in a schedule at a particular time, and not just on a generic “to do” list, it will be more likely that you get it done.

For instance, if you have set a goal to write a 80,000 word novel by a certain date, then you should know how many pages you need to get done each week and which days you can work on it, which times, hours, and how long it takes you to write a page. Successful writers write; they don’t wait for inspiration to strike. They schedule it, and do it. The same can be said for anything you want to achieve. You don’t wait until you want to do it; you do it on schedule.

Automate the Mundane

There are a lot of things that need to be done but that can escalate easily into “busy work,” which doesn’t get you closer to your goal. Bookkeeping, for instance, is something that can be accomplished today, with the right software, almost automatically. You can schedule payments to happen automatically; you can also use software that enters everything for you in the ledger. Freeing up time to focus on your scheduled activities that must be done to achieve the goal is a more productive use of time.

Get Outside Expert Help

To be a success doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself. You’re not on your own. The best scientists, professors, doctors, lawyers, and CEOs have assistants who help them look great. You too can hire outside help and contractors to help you do the tasks needed to reach your goals. Other than doing exercise for you and things you must do physically for yourself, there isn’t much you can’t outsource today.

Stop Reinventing the Wheel

In most cases, someone has already done it before you. Someone has already worked out the kinks and devised a plan of action that will work for you too with hardly any tweaks. Learn from other people’s mistakes and realize that you can gain valuable information from what others are already doing.

Never Stop Learning

They say it takes ten thousand hours of reading about a topic to become an expert on any subject. Keep this in mind as you look toward your future and set your goals. If you want to be an expert, you’ll need to start today building up those ten thousand hours. Even if you know nothing about a topic today, you can be an expert in just ten thousand hours.

Know Your Core Values

As you set goals to create a pattern of success, it’s imperative that you know what your core values are in terms of family, personal, financial and your physical life. Everyone has different areas they need to work on more than others – you need to know what your areas are to set realistic goals that you want to meet.

Track, Assess, Repeat

Nothing is ever done without the paperwork, as they say. Well, that includes creating a pattern of success. Only by setting goals, tracking and assessing the results of the goals, and then repeating what works will you create a pattern of success.

Creating a pattern of success requires knowledge of goal setting, and goal achieving, and an in-depth knowledge of yourself. Starting today, you can gain that knowledge and create a real pattern of success in your life.

What Is a Smart Goal?

When making goals, it’s important to learn about the acronym S.M.A.R.T. It can help you make better goals. Each letter stands for a different area of the goal. If you create a smart goal, you have created a goal that is Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Reasonable, and Timely. Using SMART goals can set you up for success in your goal setting.

S – Stands for specific, which means that your goal needs to be spelled out very precisely. Using language that leaves no doubt as to what the goal is, why you want to achieve the goal, and how you will get there is very important. If you are not able to be detailed in your description of the goal, it will be hard to meet it. Take the time to do this part right.

M – Stands for measurable, which means that you should be able to use this as a metric for which to determine success. If your goal can’t be quantified, then it’s not a full goal and you won’t know how to tell when you’ve succeeded. An example of a measurable goal is something like: “I want to add $100 per week of income to our bank by writing five 500-word articles each week for a life coach.”

A – There are different things that “A” can stand for but it’s usually actionable, assignable or achievable. Let’s use actionable, meaning doing something for each day that will eventually result in an accomplished goal. Goals should also be achievable or you will only get frustrated. Be accurate about the time it takes to reach a goal, and what actions it takes to get there. Also, know who will be responsible for doing it.

R – This can stand for realistic or relevant, and either or both are important and are true. If you want your goal to succeed, it should most certainly be something that is realistic or you will fail. It should also be relevant to your life’s vision and match with your values.

T – Various authors refer to the “T” in the S.M.A.R.T. acronym as time-bound, timely or trackable. All of these t’s are important parts of the goal creating and setting process. If you don’t set a time limit and you can’t track what is happening, your goal will be hard to quantify or show as achieved.

Whichever words you use to help you craft your goals, the important thing is that you need to have a process to help you make SMART goals. SMART goals are goals that you follow through on achieving and know when you’ve met them.

Creating a pattern of success requires knowledge of goal setting, and goal achieving, and an in-depth knowledge of yourself.

How to Prioritize Your Goals

In order to prioritize your goals, you’ll need to have a good understanding of what you need to be happy in your life. There are typically four areas in which most people make goals:

  1. Family (Example: spending more time with your kids or partner)
  2. Financial (Example: Saving toward your six-month emergency cash or starting a business)
  3. Physical (Example: Being healthy and more active)
  4. Personal (Example: Getting more education, or devoting more time to spiritual pursuits)

Within each of these areas are numerous concerns, but most goals can be summed up into one of these four areas. As to which goals are most important at any given time, you’ll need to ask yourself some questions to determine where to place your focus.

* Which goals nag at you most often? – What keeps you up at night that worries you? Are your finances suffering because you cannot earn enough money at your current job and you want to figure out how to get off the debt treadmill? This is a goal that fits in with all four of the areas above because financial stress can cause a lot of problems with your health and personal development as well as within the family.

* Which goals can be accomplished most easily? – Some goals are very short term but give maximum impact without too much work. For instance, maybe you have a goal of walking 15 minutes per day. This goal may only fit in with the personal and physical areas above, but walking 15 minutes per day will not take much away from the other areas and can give you huge results and a feeling of accomplishment.

* Which goals would give you the most pride in yourself? – Will you feel better if you lose 20 pounds or will you feel better if you spend 20 minutes extra with your son? Keep in mind there is no wrong answer, although being healthy might ultimately give you more time in terms of years with your son.

* Which goals have the most permanent results? – When choosing whether to spend that extra money on your degree, determine how permanent the results are, and realize that no one can take that degree from you; it will always be an accomplishment. What is it worth?

* Which goals will still impact me in 5 years, or 10 years? – If you start a business today, and work daily toward meeting the goals of that business, what will be different in five or ten years? How will that impact you now and in the future?

* Which goals align with your core values in life? – Any goal that fits into all four areas of your life is worth pursuing if it also fits into your schedule at the time.

* Which goals are completely up to you, that you control 100 percent? – Remember that you cannot control what anyone else does, so if any goal relies on the participation of someone else, and you don’t have their participation, you might want to switch gears and focus on something only you control.

* Which goals are just for you? – Some goals are completely personal in nature and have nothing to do with anyone else. For instance, you might want to read a particular author that has nothing to do with anything but your own pleasure. This is perfectly fine.

* Which goals are just for others? – There are “shoulds” that often get in the way of proper goal setting and these are goals that are only for other people. Your spouse wants you to lose weight, your mom wants you to go to college, your best friend wants you to start a business. None of these are a good reason you “should” do something, although as long as you know going in why, then it’s okay to make it a goal.

* Which goals cause you the most fear? Why? – Sometimes the very thing you fear most is what’s best for you to do. Look clearly at your goal and figure out why it frightens you. Sometimes it’s the unknown, and like ripping off a Band-Aid, just doing it might be the best cure.

* Which goals make you excited? – Some goals immediately send tingles down your body and into your mind, pushing you forward to doing it. These are goals that are easy to do and probably impact your life a lot. However, do pay attention because if it’s a goal of becoming the high scorer on a video game, you might want to question your “why.”

When you answer all these questions, you’ll be able to see how the goals practically organize themselves. Try making a chart and adding each goal to the four areas, then choosing the ones that cross the most areas to add to your schedule first.

Are You Setting the Right Goals for Yourself?

There is a lot more to goal setting than just picking a goal and moving forward. While that is important, it’s also important to ensure that you are setting the right goals at the right time so that you can truly be successful. In order to ensure that you are setting the right goals for yourself, answer the following questions:

Are You Setting Specific & Realistic Goals?

It takes a little research to ensure that a goal is realistic. If you’re not sure if something is actually achievable, then you’ve not done enough research. Once you’ve set a goal that is indeed realistic, then you need to be specific enough in your description of it so that it’s also easy to take the goal and work backwards to create a schedule of actions needed to succeed.

Are Your Goals Multifaceted?

Focusing on only one part of your life is a bad idea. People live multifaceted lives and need to make goals for all areas of their lives in order to feel successful. If you have a wonderful business and career but your personal life suffers, then no matter how successful you are, you will not feel successful. Something will always feel as if it’s missing from your life if your goals aren’t inclusive. Therefore, make sure your goals include something from each aspect of your life.

Is Your Scheduling Representative of Real Need?

Once you create the schedule for yourself to reach each goal that you’ve set, you need to truly consider how representative it is of reality. Say your goal is to be healthy and reduce your cholesterol by 10 percent in six months, but, you haven’t set aside the time needed to exercise and eat right. If you don’t schedule in the time needed, you won’t succeed because something will always be in your way taking time away from you. It will be very frustrating to practice your schedule because it doesn’t represent reality.

For instance, if you are going to exercise 30 minutes per day, setting aside only 30 minutes isn’t going to be realistic. You’ll probably need to set aside an hour to account for getting ready as well as cooling down or getting cleaned up to go back to work.

Are You Learning from Failure?

Many times when setting goals and schedules, instead of learning from failure, people give up. Using the example above, once you implement your schedule to reach the goals you have set, when you notice there are things you’ve forgotten to take into account, don’t give up. Learn from the failure and change the schedule to be more realistic.

You might find that in practice, you have to rewrite all your goals and your schedule, but this is perfectly acceptable. Many people believe failure is something negative, but the truth is, if you don’t fail sometimes, you’re not going to learn much and it’s likely your goals are too easy.

Do Your Goals Represent Your Needs and Wants or Someone Else’s?

A lot of people set goals that represent what someone else wants instead of what they want. This can really cause a lot of bad feelings and resentment which can derail the best laid plans. As you set your goals for your life, ask yourself if they’re really what you want for yourself or what someone else wants for you. Ask yourself if you’re okay with any goal you make being for someone else before you embark on your journey.

It’s okay to do things because of someone else, but it’s important that you are honest about that and make some goals for yourself too that don’t involve anyone else’s needs or wants.

Are Your Goals Focused Positively?

When writing a goal, it’s important to write it in a positive way, or at least a way that feels positive to you. In the quest to improve your life, try writing down a goal and then changing the words to sound more positive to see if it isn’t more motivating. For instance, “losing weight” seems like a good goal, but for some people, it might signify deprivation. So instead, the person might frame the goal as “improving my BMI by 10 points” or “improving my cholesterol by 10 percent.”

Do You Have Too Many Goals Set at One Time?

Just as setting too few goals can be a problem, so can setting too many. Everyone has a personal life and a career life and points in between. If you have set goals in too many areas of life at once, you might tire yourself out and get overwhelmed. Instead, pick one personal goal, and one other type of goal to focus on until you reach them, and then you can add more goals as time goes on. You don’t need to do everything today. Slow and steady wins the race is a good motto to hang on to.

Setting the right goals for yourself takes some thought and consideration. Don’t try to set all your goals in one day – instead, set some goals in different stages and in different areas of your life, and give a lot of thought to why you’re making the goal in the first place.

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