One of the largest differentiators for the happiest and most successful people is their ability to set the right goals as well as reach them more quickly. Doing so allows you to grow more as a person, accomplish/experience more, and get farther along in your journey. Taking a tactical approach towards setting and accomplishing your goals, therefore, makes a lot of sense.
Clearly define your goals.
The first obvious, although often overlooked, step is to clearly decide what your goals are. What are you trying to accomplish? This is the most challenging aspect because it requires thinking critically about your life, the bigger picture and what you want to work towards.
This does not have to be a lofty, 5-year goal. Setting goals can come over much smaller periods of time as well. Before working towards accomplishing something, though, you have to know exactly where you are trying to get. Understanding not just the goal but the rationale behind it is also important.
This can help you determine why you are working towards certain things. It will make you less likely to set goals that will burn you out and can help better focus your efforts.
Come up with a targeted approach.
We spend 90% of our time on execution. Given all of this effort, it is infinitely critical to come up with a thoughtful and targeted approach towards reaching your goals. It sounds obvious, but thinking about the most effective way to reach what you are working towards can help get you there much faster.
Look at any action you are presented with and ask yourself, “is this the best possible way for me to accomplish what I am working towards?” If the goal is to make a maximum amount of money, then is working an $8 per hour job the best way to do so?
Maybe the better choice is to invest 50 hours learning front-end web development so that you can start to make $25+ an hour once you do so.
These questions will help you hone in on the best approach to accomplish what you are working towards. This is the most critical part because it drives the execution that you will spend so much time on.
Reevaluate your approach and your goals frequently.
Figure out a routine that works for you in which you can reevaluate your goals and approaches frequently. Otherwise, you can get caught doing the same thing without much growth for large periods of time.
Being able to constantly ask, “do I still want to work towards this thing?” and “is my current approach the best way to do so?” will help keep you focused and efficient. There is a challenge here in the fact that we often set goals that are harder to accomplish than we initially thought.
Accordingly, it is easy to give up on a goal because we realize all of the effort that it is going to take. In some senses, this is positive because you might realize that all of the time spent working towards something is not worthwhile. On the other hand, though, it is easy to shirk away from the stress and effort despite long-term rewards. In the case that you are thinking about giving up, think hard about why that is and how you feel at heart.
Look to others for inspiration.
It is likely that others have previously worked towards the goals that you have set. You can use their experiences and journey for inspiration and guidance. Doing so will tighten up the feedback loop and set you on the most efficient path more quickly.
It is easier today than ever to find these people and learn from their experiences. That could either come in the form of content that exists online, or you could reach out to somebody for a conversation. Take advantage of the world we live in because doing so will help you find the best approach to accomplishing your goals.
Surround yourself by those who motivate you.
We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. When you are around others who are effectively working towards their dreams, it can help you catalyze changes in your own life. These other people can be huge motivators to continue on and fight through the hardships of business and life.
Being around those who are lazy or are not working towards their goals can have the exact opposite effect. Therefore, you have to be thoughtful about who you spend your time with.
It might go without saying, but if being successful and accomplishing our goals were easy, everybody would do it. It is important to listen to your body and give yourself breaks or ways to decompress when needed. That being said, you have to work hard to accomplish significant things.
Do not make excuses or wish it were easier. Rather look in the mirror and work so that you can be better. Life is challenging. In order to achieve what we want and stand out from the rest, you have to work hard.
Do not stop learning.
Despite how busy you might be throughout your quest, you have to keep learning. Doing so will help you continue to grow and push yourself beyond just the goal. Whether through books, articles, or conversations with others, continuing to learn will also aid you in your current efforts.
Learning new material can form ties with what you are currently working on and spark new ideas. When you are buried deep within one particular thing, you can get into a rut. Remembering what else is out there can be refreshing and eye-opening.
Do not view your goals as a mountaintop, but rather a journey.
Think back to the last time you accomplished something you had been working towards for a while. Despite this initial elation, over time you adjust to the change and life goes back to normal. That is why it is so important to appreciate the journey. It will make your goal-striving more sustainable over time.
In the cases where you do not accomplish your goals, if you feel like you had to reach the top, it will be more challenging to bounce back. You should, instead, appreciate your efforts just as much when you go from 0 to one percent as you do when going from 99-100%.