In the past year, I’ve been fortunate enough to sit down with entrepreneurs, athletes, actresses, coaches, authors, and world travelers who are on the path towards achieving their goals. Ranging from just-getting-started to million-dollar-empire, my goal with these conversations was to tease out the universal perspectives and strategies that people use to achieve their goals. I wanted to model my behaviors after them.
You may have heard of the concept of modeling. It suggests that the path of least resistance towards achieving your goal is to find someone who has already achieved it, to study their habits and learn from them, and to apply the lessons to your own situation.
Modeling makes a lot of sense, and it certainly did for me. Over time, some clear patterns began to emerge, and I’d like to share them with you here.
Your Checklist to Success: The 7-Step Blueprint to Reaching Your Goals
Many people fail in life, not for lack of ability or brains or even courage but simply because they have never organized their energies around a goal.
– Elbert Hubbard
My biggest takeaway was that success leaves clues, and that if you look closely enough, there are universal insights anyone can apply to move them closer to the outcomes they desire.
It also became clear that not only do universal strategies and perspectives exist, but they exist in order. We all know that at the end of the day, results are produced by consistently working towards your goal. But the truth is, certain things must be in place before you’ll be able to start taking action consistently.
Below, you’ll find a blueprint that distills the insights of these conversations. Think of these as the 7 boxes you must check to ensure you’re on the right path towards your goals.
1. Know what you want
What do you really want? It’s not enough to have a vague idea of what you might want to achieve. I challenge you to get so clear on your goal that you can articulate it in one clear, concise sentence. “Um” and “like” is a symptom of not being clear enough. “I want to lose like 50 pounds” is a statement that sets you up for failure. If you try, you can find a meaningful way to quantify the results you are seeking.
People who reach their goals are clear on what they are doing each day and why they are doing it in the first place. This type of commitment requires accountability and some deep inner work on the front end, but the clarity you obtain in the end will be well worth it, as it will serve as your magnetic north along the journey towards your goal.
2. Know the playground you’re playing in
Be sure you know that the road to life-changing results is paved with failure, adversity and self-doubt. Remember that not everyone is going to approve of what you’re doing, and may judge you for the amount of effort you put into making your dream a reality. Be aware of the sacrifices you will have to make and the amount of work you will have to put in.
All of this is to remind you how important it is to remember the playground you’re playing in. The goal-achievement playground requires you to act in a manner you never have to obtain something you’ve never had. It might feel lonely at times, but others have taken the path you’re on. Embrace the grind and relish in the fact that you’re doing something few others are willing to do.
3. Choose perspectives that serve you
Your mind is your greatest asset, so feed it the right messages that will serve you as you work towards your goals. Here are some examples of empowering perspectives:
Focus only on the things you can control. Taking daily action is the only thing that matters. You can’t change something you aren’t aware of. Remind yourself why you are doing it in the first place. Surround yourself with people that make you better. Success is simply the ongoing process of striving to become better than you were yesterday.
Most importantly, the only way you fail is if you quit for good. Anything else is a delay in the process towards your end result.
4. Make a true decision
You will never achieve your outcome with a pocket full of maybes. Remove ‘should’ from your vocabulary.
Think about what you have to do to ensure that the day you start, there is no turning back. The moment you truly decide to start without giving yourself an escape route is when the results will come.
5. Align your focus with the right things
It doesn’t matter if your goal is to lose weight, make millions, or save the world.
There are only 1-3 things you must do each day that will truly move you in the direction of the result you’re after. Read that again: 1 to 3 things. Cut out the things that don’t matter. If you don’t have a coach or mentor to help you decide what those things are, use the 80/20 rule. Protect the time you allot to those tasks with your life. Nothing else you do (or don’t) should matter, because completing those means you are one step closer to your outcome.
6. Select the appropriate strategy
At the end of the day, your results will be contingent on the right strategy. Make sure you have chosen an approach that will move you in the right direction.
It’s important to pick a strategy that works for your lifestyle, responsibilities, and values. Only change a strategy because you tested it firsthand for a month or more, only to find that a more effective approach may work. Don’t be that guy that searches for a new program every 3 days because the old one “didn’t work.” All strategies work. It may just take some time to figure out the right combination of variables for your situation.
And also, never associate failure with a strategy that isn’t working. It’s not your fault that the results aren’t coming in as you’d like them to; it’s simply your responsibility to fix it.
7. Consistently take action towards your goal
Follow steps 1-6 to the best of your ability and this will be a cakewalk.
In essence, this is all you need to do in order to achieve your goal: take daily action until your end result is realized. To this point, you’ve done a ton of work on yourself, soul-searched, and grown into someone capable of making this happen for themselves.
Remember, action is the universal denominator toward all successes. Without it, you stay the same. This may be the most important strategy and perspective of them all, so don’t forget it.