What you will get from this article:
- Understand how to achieve goals
- Discover the 4 principles of instant transformation
- Learn how your mindset plays a role in achieving goals
- Explore straightforward ways to solve problems that will open you up for more success
Why do I have difficulty achieving goals?
People who have reached some level of success know that the secret behind achieving goals is not in what you do to achieve them, but what you do when you fail – you keep trying. And if that doesn’t work, well, you try yet another approach. And on it goes. You keep pushing until eventually you create a breakthrough. Winners aren’t born knowing how to achieve goals – they persevere until they reach their objectives.
But what about those areas of life where you’ve pushed and pushed, tried and tried, but you can’t seem to overcome your problem? Here we’ll cover four principles of how the brain works when it comes to achieving goals, so that you can harness its natural tendency toward growth and progress. Then we’ll dive into five strategies for tackling those persistent problems in your life and learning how to achieve goals once and for all.
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Core principles of achieving goals
Humans are complex creatures. Billions of neurons in our brains interact in countless ways to make us who we are. But there are a few things we know about human psychology and achieving goals.
Your brain loves a challenge
Achieving goals entails far more than just hard work and dedication. Research shows that learning how to achieve goals is a matter of psychology and brain chemistry. When you set a goal, your brain first evaluates its emotional significance. Then it evaluates the level of effort it will take to get you there. It gives preference to goals with high emotional significance, lending proof to the statement, “Where focus goes, energy flows.” Your brain will prioritize the goals that mean the most to you – those that you focus all of your energy on. Goal-setting is that powerful.
There’s even more science to achieving goals: It’s proven that setting difficult, yet specific goals leads to better performance. Your brain loves a challenge. Big goals activate the parts of the brain that prime it for pursuit. You can harness the brain’s natural inclination toward goal-setting by establishing meaningful, challenging and specific objectives.
What you resist, persists
When it comes to achieving goals, what you resist persists. This notion might sound counterintuitive, but psychologists such as Carl Jung have shown it to be true. When you resist something, it suddenly becomes more attractive to you. Suddenly your whole nervous system wants it ten times more because anything forbidden and taboo is more exciting than something attainable.
Here’s an example of this phenomenon in action: You ask someone else to not think about elephants. Then you ask them what they’re thinking about. That’s right, elephants!
Continue to resist something long enough and eventually you’ll want it so bad that it becomes an obsession. If your goal is to eat a sustainable health diet and you resist ever having a treat, you will soon want it so badly that you’ll ruin your entire plan with a binge. So as you’re mastering how to achieve your goals, limit temptations instead of cutting them out completely.
Fighting with reality guarantees pain
In most areas of life, if you push long enough, change your approach enough times or try the right combination of strategies, you’ll be successful in achieving goals. But if you continue to push and there’s no change happening, it’s time to take a step back and shift your focus to what’s really happening. What’s holding you back? Is the problem internal or external? If you try to fight with reality by making it something different, all you’ll get is pain. Learning how to achieve goals means facing reality.
Maybe you’ve seen this phenomenon in the parenting world. Many parents get hung up on their children achieving goals and having a particular future, perhaps as a doctor or lawyer. Or maybe they have unrealistic expectations about their talents or interests. The only way to know what that child’s future career will be is to observe what unfolds in reality. And if the parents fight that reality, it will only cause them (and their kids) pain and frustration.
Problems need energy to live
The last principle derives naturally from the first two. If you’re pushing hard against something, it pushes back. You get upset and then try to push harder, but nothing’s moving. The more you focus on the problem, the more power you give it. When you put your energy toward creating a fulfilled, happy life, you take power away from the problem and put it toward a solution. You just may find some of your problems fix themselves.
Instead of focusing your energy on the problem that’s causing you stress and unhappiness, you could be using it to power aspects of your life you actually enjoy. Instead of energizing your problems, you could be channeling that energy to learning how to achieve goals more effectively. Sometimes the best way to solve something is to just let it go. If you let it go, you’ll also let go of your suffering.
How to achieve goals
Now that you understand how your brain chemistry and psychology work together in achieving goals – and preventing you from achieving them – it’s time to take action. Here are the five steps to achieving any goal.
1. Set SMART goals
Leverage your brain’s chemistry to discover how to achieve goals. It loves goals that are specific and challenging, yet achievable. When a goal is too vague to visualize or too lofty to attain, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Setting SMART goals – which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and set in a Time Frame – makes them much easier to achieve. By writing down exactly what you want, how to accomplish it and benchmarks for measuring your progress, you set yourself free from the fear of failure. You’re able to chart a course toward the extraordinary life you deserve.
2. Visualize the desired outcome
Accomplishing goals doesn’t start in the physical world – it starts in your head. When you learn to control your emotions and thoughts, you’re empowered to accomplish anything. Visualize the outcome you desire, then think and behave like you’ve already achieved it. Your actions align with what you want to accomplish, and everything else falls into place. Feel how that success affects every part of your life.
3. Create a Massive Action Plan (MAP)
In order to learn how to achieve goals, you must create a roadmap for every objective. Think of yourself as your own coach. You’re your own cheerleader and master strategist. For every objective you’re pursuing, create a Massive Action Plan that not only details your results and a sequence of activities, but also connects your purpose to the goal. When you align your emotions with achieving goals, you’ll activate your brain’s ability to focus on what means the most to you.
4. Hold yourself accountable
If you don’t take total accountability for your life, you’ll never master how to achieve goals. Accountability means understanding that you are the only person in control of your life. It means taking responsibility for the decisions that got you where you are today – and learning from them. Without accountability, you’ll always blame your circumstances on forces beyond your control. If you have trouble holding yourself accountable, consider working with a Results Coach who can push you to reach your full potential.
5. Celebrate victories
Learning how to achieve goals is much like working to lose weight: If you don’t shower yourself with praise at every success, you’ll quickly become demoralized. From there, it’s a quick route to giving up on your goals entirely, which creates a downward spiral of self-doubt and defeat. Don’t wait until you’ve reached the end of your goal to reward yourself. Transform your mindset by celebrating small victories along the way to achieving goals. You’ll adopt an attitude of gratitude and make it easier to continue on your journey.
FAQs about achieving goals
How do you set goals and achieve them?
To set and achieve goals, you can take concrete steps like using SMART goals, practicing visualization, creating a massive action plan, holding yourself accountable and celebrating victories. People aren’t born experts at setting and achieving goals. Those who succeed in life have learned how to achieve goals by harnessing the power of the brain and zeroing in on what they want most.
What are barriers to achieving goals?
The only barrier to achieving goals is yourself. People often have limiting beliefs that cause them to be afraid of failure, constantly seek perfectionism or make excuses and procrastinate. Do you find yourself doing any of these things? With the right tools, you can overcome these barriers to achieving goals and get yourself on the path to the life you’ve always wanted.
What should my goals be?
Your goals are as individual to you as your personality, your dreams and your contribution to this world. Another person can’t tell you what your exact goals should be. The most important part of how to achieve goals is to make sure they are emotionally meaningful to you. You must set out to examine your own beliefs and values, find your ultimate purpose and create goals from there.
Ready to start achieving goals?
Take control and make a plan to accomplish your goals today. Complete Tony’s Goal Setting Workshop and get started on the path to fulfillment.