“New year, new me, new goals.”
At the start of every year, people all around the world would set their new year’s resolutions and feel pumped up to achieve their goals.
“This is finally the year I would (insert ambitious goal).”
However, according to statistics, only 9.2% of people felt they were successful in achieving their resolution.
Those who failed this year will tell you “it’s alright, I will achieve it next year.” When next year comes, a familiar sense of déjà vu emerges again, “it’s alright, I will definitely achieve it next year. Definitely.”
A long and never ending cycle…
Most people have wasted years and years and failed to achieve their goals. Most of them would blame it on the circumstances. Excuses such as “I am too busy with work”, “24 hours are not enough for me”, “I have kids”, “luck is not on my side”, “if only I have more money”.
You can lie to your friends and everyone else, but the one person you can’t lie to is yourself.
Most people fail because they have a ready, set and fire mentality. They will fire aimlessly in all directions and hope that the bullet will hit the target. What are the chances of success?
Time is so precious, stop giving excuses and work aimlessly without a blueprint. Starting from today, have a robust plan and take consistent actions to achieving your goals. Join the 9.2% club.
Also, stop waiting for New Year’s Day, no matter what month it is, you can still pivot and give yourself a personal timeframe to achieve your goals. Work on your own timeline.
Grab a drink, sit back and let’s dive into the 9 steps process to achieving your goals:
Step 1: Aim Big and Visualize Success
Aim big by setting a goal that you are passionate about and will be proud of when you achieve them. If you are not proud and excited of this goal, you will not be motivated to push through during the tough days.
Be specific in setting your goal. An example of a generic goal is “I want to lose weight.” A specific goal would be “Lose 30 pounds in 6 months.”
Once you have this specific goal, perform creative visualization by visualizing a picture of you achieving this goal and reaping the rewards. Use the power of your imagination and be creative, imagine that you have achieved your goal, what are you doing, where are you, how does it feel like?
Paint a picture in your mind of what does success in this particular goal looks and feels like.
Do this every day for 5 minutes the first thing in the morning when you wake up and at night before going to bed. After a while, you will find yourself being more motivated to achieve your goals. Motivation will come naturally as you are feeding your subconscious mind daily with the right positive mindset.
Many well-known athletes and celebrities have mentioned that creative visualization played a key role in their success. Examples include Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Will Smith and Tony Robbins.
“Decide what you’re going to be, who you are going to be and then how you are going to do it. From that point on, the universe is going to get out of your way.” -Will Smith
It is so important to start with the right mindset as your actions will be influenced by it.
Step 2: What is your WHY
While creative visualization will help you to picture that successful moment, you should then figure out what is your why. Why do you want to achieve this goal? Here is my Why to starting this blog.
As Simon Sinek says, Start with Why. Your Why is the purpose that inspires you to take action. Dive deep and ask yourself, only you will know your why, it will be something personal.
Your Why will also be a reminder to yourself of the reason you want to achieve this goal. There will be days where the devil in your brain will ask you “come on man, is it worth it to do all these”?
When you have these moments (you will definitely face this), your WHY is essential to help curb the doubts and temptations. If you don’t have a strong Why, the devil in your brain will take over and your progress will be stalled.
While we can control many things in life, the one thing we will find it difficult to control is our thoughts. Have a compelling Why to replace the occasional negativity with renewed positivity.
Step 3: Find Mentors
Any goals that you want to achieve in life, there is someone out there who has already done it. They have walked your path and reached the destination (been there, done that). The fastest way to achieve your goal is to have the right mentor who can guide you through that path.
However, it is difficult to get a mentor to help you unless you already have existing connections. Don’t give up if you can’t find a mentor. We live in a digital world now and there are many good online virtual mentors you can find through searches in Google and YouTube.
Have 3-5 top virtual mentors that you admire, most of them would have free contents to share on their blog or on YouTube. You will be able to save time and avoid a lot of beginner’s mistake along the way with their advice.
Get their email address and email them whenever you have queries or leave a comment on their contents, most of them would be nice enough to reply, but give them some time as they are busy people.
You can also go the extra mile of building a relationship with your mentor by personally sending a letter or a package to their office, this will stand out and they will remember you.
The key is not to listen to too many people, 3 virtual mentors are sufficient, just don’t exceed 5 or you will be facing massive information overload. You will find yourself being trapped in the reading and research stage forever and never moving onto the implementation stage.
Lastly, a final tip for selecting your virtual mentors, have one mentor in your local area, if you are from London, try to find a local Londoner as one of your top 3-5 mentors, he may not be the best in the field but by reading his contents or watching his videos filmed in London, you will be extra motivated to succeed as you have that warm and close feeling, that someone near you has achieved this goal and you want to be the next success story.
Statistics shows that losing weight is the number 1 goal for most people. If your goal is to lose weight, I recommend you to choose these three virtual mentors, all of whom have helped me to achieve my fitness goals:
- Mike Matthews. Muscle For Life.
- Scott Herman. Scott Herman Fitness.
- Jordan Yeoh. Jordan Yeoh Fitness.
Step 4: Identify Key Metrics
Every goal will have their own key metrics to success. You will need to identify and track them regularly to assess your progress.
Identify the key metrics to succeed in your field by reading contents from your virtual mentors. After reading tons of quality contents from them, you will be able to know what are the key trackable metrics you need to succeed. You can also drop them an email and directly ask them.
“What gets measured gets managed.” -Peter Drucker
Track the metrics regularly to assess your progress. Most people don’t track the metrics, and they will find it hard to achieve their goals. Not tracking the key metrics is like driving to a destination without knowing how much fuel you have left in the tank. Don’t play the guessing game.
Let’s go back to the goal of losing weight as an example.
Below are the examples of key metrics to track if you want to be successful in losing weight:
- Body fat percentage and Body Weight
- Calories and Macronutrients intake
- Weight Training (workout routine)
Step 5: Start Planning
Start planning and break down your end goal (the goal in step 1) into monthly milestones, with actionable steps on key metrics, potential challenges, and the solutions to overcome those challenges.
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
Here are the steps to break down your goals:
1. Once you have the key metrics identified, start small by breaking down your goal into 6/12/18 monthly milestones (depends on the complexity of the goal). Monthly milestones are the small monthly goals you need to achieve that is broken down from your end goal.
2. Break it down further by designing few actionable steps on the key metrics to achieve the milestone.
3. List down the actions you need to accomplish your goal, along with the potential challenges you might face (you will have a better idea if you failed to achieve your goal in the previous attempt).
4. Lastly, have solutions in place to tackle those challenges.
You must be able to identify the potential challenges with a planned solution upfront to train your brain into thinking “Ok I have anticipated this and I will solve it by….” There will still be unexpected obstacles along the way but you want to anticipate as many potential challenges as you can. This way, it will be easier for you to manage when you do face those challenges.
The details of this step might sound confusing in words. For better illustration, download this free PDF report and use it for your goal.
Step 6: Cultivate Effective Habits and Start Taking Actions
If your goal is big enough, you will need to cultivate good habits and have some alterations to your existing lifestyle.
Studies show that on average, it takes 66 days before a new habit becomes automatic. Embrace the process to form a new habit as any worthwhile achievement will take time.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle
Habit #1 – Tailor Made Habits
Tailor-make your daily habits based on the key metrics to success. Schedule your time to progress on this goal, if you don’t schedule your time, you’ll find that you have no time.
To avoid the “no time” excuse, schedule ahead.
Here are some examples of tailor-made habits:
Example 1: Lose Weight
|Key Metrics||Tailor-made habits|
|Body weight and body fat percentage||Measure body weight daily and measure body fat percentage at the end of the month.|
|Calories and macronutrients intake||Calculate daily calories and macronutrients using MyFitnessPal.|
|Weight training (workout routine)||Hit the gym 4 times a week on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.|
Example 2: Read books
If your goal is to read 1 book a month, based on the number of pages of the book (key metrics), make it a habit of reading x number of pages every day.
If the book has 240 pages and you need to finish this book in a month, reading 8 pages every day will be a good tailor-made habit.
Statistics show that 57% of books started aren’t read to completion. Don’t underestimate the small incremental progress as it adds up over time, 8 pages every day for 365 days a year equates to reading 2,920 pages a year!
Habit #2 – Don’t Break the Chain
Jerry Seinfeld, who is one of the greatest comedians of all time, explained that he uses a specific technique to write jokes every day. Jerry keeps a calendar on his wall and would cross out the date on the calendar with a big red X.
Try it yourself for your tailor-made habits above. After a few days of crossing the X, you will notice a chain and the chain will get longer and longer each day. By having the chain of red X on your calendar, you will be reminded daily to do the work and you will be motivated to continue to grow the chain.
It doesn’t matter what goal you are pursuing, consistency is the key to achieving your goals. Again, don’t underestimate the importance of small incremental progress, as it will add up to your eventual “overnight success.”
Don’t break the chain.
Habit #3 – Be Laser Focus and Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome
People who have Shiny Object Syndrome (“SOS”) are the ones who will always see a new and shiny direction and quickly jump towards it.
The problem? With the ease of getting information these days, there are millions of promising directions for you to go to. However, by walking towards every direction, you will lose sight of your goal and in the end, you are back to square one. A total waste of time.
If you have 100 business ideas, starting all 100 businesses at the same time will guarantee that you experience fatigue and you will not be able to put equal quality attention on all 100 businesses. The ship will eventually sink.
If you have a new weight loss training program every week, you will not be able to progress as fast as the person who sticks to only one program consistently for few months.
Be laser focus and focus on one thing, one plan at a time. Avoid SOS!
Habit #4 – Creative Visualization
As mentioned earlier in step 1.
These habits may seem boring (who likes to stick to habits and schedules anyway), but it is effective. And the thing is, after a while, it won’t even seem like a habit anymore, you just do it naturally.
The pain of discipline or the pain of regret, it’s your choice.
By following step 1-6, you will now have a solid foundation to achieve your goals. Start taking actions!
Step 7: Monthly Assessment
At the end of each month, review and assess if you managed to achieve your monthly milestone planned in step 5.
If you did, reward yourself with a meal or something tangible. Reward yourself for the small wins and enjoy the process of taking incremental baby steps towards to your goal.
However, if you did not achieve your goal, you need to assess what can you do to catch up, re-assess if the goal is realistic, whenever possible, email your 3-5 mentors to seek for their opinions.
Sometimes, it is not your fault that you did not put in the effort, sometimes it is just that your goal is not realistic (e.g losing 50 pounds in a month!). However, if you know that you did not put in 100% effort, you have only yourself to blame. You can’t lie to yourself.
Don’t be discouraged, we have all been guilty of underestimating the time and effort needed to achieve our goal. The key is to keep going and not giving up.
Pivot by re-aligning all your monthly milestones (e.g if 6 months’ milestone is not realistic enough to achieve the goal, re-align it to 12/18 months).
It doesn’t matter how long you take to get there, but you must have a realistic plan to get there, always assess the key metrics and milestones monthly.
Step 8: Invest in Yourself
This is an optional step, but one which I highly encouraged. Investing in yourself is beneficial to you in so many ways.
Your virtual mentors are ahead of you on the road to success. To get there faster, I recommend you to invest in yourself as a good and proven paid product (e.g courses/books/membership program) will provide you with a more structured blueprint and system to achieve your goal.
Consider investing in yourself on paid products created by your mentors to not only support and give back to them but to also take you to the next level. Besides, the psychology of paying will enable you to take more actions as you will be more motivated to make your investment worth the money. Most courses have a money back guarantee and you will have plenty to gain and little to lose.
However, I do not recommend you to purchase immediately as you would not be able to know whether your mentor is genuine and really has the expertise. Only by consistently reading his contents, you will know if he is legit. If you love your mentor’s style of teaching and they have been consistently providing you with great value, then only you should proceed to buy.
I am not saying you MUST invest in yourself to achieve your goals, many people have done it without spending on courses and books, but if you invest in a good and proven course, it will save you plenty of time and money (there will be cost of making mistakes, e.g if you eat a wrong diet, you will lose money and time and your progress will be delayed).
A cheaper option would be to purchase from Udemy. There are thousands of courses offered at affordable prices (for as low as $10). Make sure you read the reviews before buying and enroll in the best-selling courses.
Step 9: Share the Love
It is ingrained in our nature to help people, but too often we forget the about the joy of sharing and growing together. Once you achieved your goal, share it with the world or the people around you who has that similar goal.
For example, say your goal is to lose 30 pounds for the year and after going through Step 1-8, you have successfully achieved your goal. Some people might get complacent and easily gain back the 30 pounds’ months later!
However, if you share your journey and tips with other people who has the same goal of losing weight and guide them towards the right path of losing weight, three things will happen:
#1 – Satisfaction of Helping Others
You will feel fulfilled and happy, knowing that you played a significant part in helping them to lose weight, transform their body and be healthier.
Nothing beats the feeling of having someone that comes up to you and say “Ben, you have changed my life.” Helping and inspiring people to achieve their goals is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world.
#2 – Extra Motivation
You will find yourself working even harder to get to the next level as you want to set the right example for others to follow.
Maintaining the success of achieving your goal requires the same amount of hard work, if not more. People are now looking up to you as a source of inspiration. As a result, you will be so motivated to push through even on the rough days.
#3 – Learn Something New
If you teach someone what you know and walk their footsteps, you will see things from a new angle and learn things you never knew you never knew.
Success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life. It’s also about how you share your knowledge and inspire others to achieve their goals.
Be a go-giver and share the love.
Nobody is going to push you to achieve your goals except you yourself.
The main reason people don’t achieve their goals is due to lack of planning, actionable steps, and motivation. I hope this article will give you the blueprint required to be successful in achieving your goals.
Let’s recap the 9 steps process to achieving your goals:
1. Aim Big and Visualize Success
2. What is Your WHY
3. Find Mentors
4. Identify Key Metrics
5. Start Planning
6. Cultivate Effective Habits and Start Taking Actions
7. Monthly Assessments
8. Invest in Yourself
9. Share the Love
You are now ready to enter the battlefield, ready, set and you will know where and how to fire.
Again, don’t wait for New Year’s Day, start NOW!
Over to You
Let me know in the comments below your thoughts on this blueprint and what are your goals?
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