We all have goals in life. Small goals, medium-sized goals, big goals, and quite literally, some dreams that might scare us half to death. We all have goals we’re reaching towards, striving for and basing our lives largely around. But what happens when you run into things like failure? What happens when things don’t really go your way? In effect, what are the best ways to achieve your goals, even in the face of great turmoil, upset and resistance from every corner?
No one ever said that it would be easy to achieve our goals. Clearly, it’s not. Especially when they’re big goals that have alluded us for so long. We seemingly push and push until we can’t push anymore. Then, suddenly, just as quickly as it all started, we give up. We say things like “I quit,” or “Never again,” or, “This is it.” And it’s over. There’s no turning back because you just committed to giving up.
The question then, really isn’t about setting your goals. The question really is about achieving them. Oftentimes, we just don’t realize what it’s going to take to achieve our goals, so when it comes time to making those proverbial breakthroughs, we set ourselves up for failure. Why? Because in our minds we have this ideal of how perfectly straightforward it will be to achieve a big goal.
Yet, achieving a goal is never straightforward. It’s never simple or easy. It’s a monumental task, one that involves total dedication from the mind, body and spirit. This is no simple undertaking. And I’m not talking about small goals like going on a vacation or buying a new car. I’m talking about the big, life-altering goals. Achieving those goals is an arduous undertaking, filled with pitfalls and peril around just about every corner.
So when it comes to those really big goals that we often seem to set in life, what are the best ways to achieve them? Is there some secret formula to this? Is there some way, some hidden path that will allow us to reach our dreams without all the hassle and the headache? And if so, what is it? What are the steps necessary to get there and just what type of sacrifices do we really need to make?
The Best Way to Achieve Your Goals
One of the first books that I ever wrote was a book called, How Not To Give Up. At the time, I wasn’t quite sure where the content came from. It was almost as if it spilled out of me. I remember sitting at my desk in the middle of the night, typing away in a storm of keystrokes while my fingers moved violently through midair, dancing around as if through some coordinated and choreographed theatrical production.
Over the course of three days, the words gushed from me, like water erupting from a broken pipe. It was something I had never experienced before. It seemed as though the words were there in the ether, and I was merely a conduit for transferring them from the metaphysical into reality. But it was the importance of those words that I think really surprised me. It was how I described the art of goal setting and achieving even the wildest of goals that really came as a shock, especially to me.
And I’ll tell you why…
In my life, up until that point, I had already experienced the wild rollercoaster ride of success and failure. I had already “succeeded” in what I would now coin a limited capacity of success. I hadn’t achieved all my dreams, but I did get to a place where I got extremely comfortable. Money wasn’t that big of a worry anymore. It had been in the past. But at that point, I felt accomplished.
However, that all changed. I stopped paying attention and things went downhill. In time, I lost it all. Everything I had built up over the years. To say that I failed, would be an understatement. But this didn’t just happen to me one time. It was a pattern that I repeated over and over again. Eventually, when you repeat a pattern enough times, something drastic happens in your mind. The ego shatters and everything dissipates, and you begin to realize the err of your ways.
So, in writing that book, I realized a few things about the best ways to achieve any goal you set. Clarity set in and the fog lifted from my mind. You see, it was through my failures that I became obsessed with success. Like a detective investigating a murder, I wanted to know everything there was to know about it. I wanted to uncover all the hidden gems and find that secret formula that I knew was hiding there, waiting to be uncovered.
To put it mildly, I read all the books. I viewed all the so-called articles on success. I watched all the videos and read all the biographies about people who had attained real success in life. What I came to realize were three things. Those who had achieved true success in life focused on three underlying practices . So, what I came to discover was that this was the best way to achieve my goals. In fact, I realized it was the best way for anyone to achieve their goals in life
#1 — Add a tremendous amount of value to the world
What I’ve come to notice, no matter what area of life or business that we’re talking about, the most successful people add the most amount of value. The thing is that you don’t generally read about this practice in very many places. Not many people tout this value-added proposition. But, this is by far one of the best ways to achieve your goal and an almost-surely direct path towards goal achievement no matter what the goal might be.
The problem? We live in an instant-gratification society. We want what we want right now. Why should we have to wait? When everything else in life can come so easily and quickly, there’s little there that helps to reinforce the idea that success takes time, especially if we’re talking about major success.
The truth? We’re used to doing the least amount of work for the most initial return. Isn’t that the general mentality? Isn’t that why so few succeed and so many give up? However, when you can move to the general school of thought where you believe you need to do the most amount of work for the least initial return, that’s when the real magic happens. But not overnight.
If you really want to achieve your goals, you have to find a way where you can give away the farm, so to speak. Add a tremendous amount of value so that you can get people talking. Once they’re talking, keep adding value and do repeatedly. In another words, be consistent with your value-adding.
For example, why do you think McDonald’s was one of the most successful companies in history? Can’t other burger places make a great burger, one that tastes better than McDonalds’ burger? Of course they can, and many would argue that others do this, in fact. While the burger-business climate might be changing today, for the most part, McDonald’s is and will likely always be a mainstay. Why? They achieved their goals by adding a tremendous amount of value.
In fact, step into any McDonald’s and you see a Value Menu. While the prices might have changed, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another burger joint that can make burgers as cheap and good as McDonald’s. And you can count on that value being consistent no matter what country you visit one of their restaurants in.
So, all you need to do is take whatever goal you’re working towards, and ensure that you add a tremendous amount of value. If you’re selling a product or service, make sure that it adds value to the lives of the people buying them. When you add value, people talk and spread the message for you. It’s automated marketing, the kind you can’t buy. This is also known as word-of-mouth advertising.
If you take the time to do things the right way from the outset, no matter what goal you’re trying to achieve, you’ll ultimately get there if you stay consistent and you don’t waver from that value-added proposition. Once you start wavering, that’s when things can go downhill. It’s easy to allow the small successes to get to our heads, then veer off on the wrong tangents when we stop paying attention to the details. Don’t allow that to happen.
#2 — Envision things deeply by obsessing over the details
The ethereal power of thought is the very fiber that all things, visible and invisible, are bound to and composed of. At its most simple and basic level, thought is merely energy. That energy moves through the neurons in your mind just as it does through the molecules and atoms in the air. That energy is the same energy that existed at the start of the universe. So, when you leverage your thoughts for good by envisioning things so deeply that you obsess over the details, some remarkable things begin to occur over time.
One of the best ways to achieve your goals is to use this foundation of thought and deep envisioning of whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish, as a springboard for success. While this is hard to do when you’re living in a state of lack rather than abundance, the better you are at envisioning your goals and obsessing over those details in your mind, the more likely you’ll be to accomplish whatever you’re trying to achieve.
I can still remember my failures like they were yesterday. When you fail at something, it’s hard to imagine that you can ever succeed to any degree. Failure instills doubt and fear rather than hope and courage. That’s the essence of failure. It works to hold us back from our dreams. Yet, little by little, things begin to change over time as long as you stay persistent in your thoughts. You can’t allow negativity to do its slow creep and revert back to your bad habits or put things off.
Part of what happens by envisioning things in your mind is that your subconscious begins to automatically reorganize your actions to guide you towards that which you want. It doesn’t happen overnight. This happens over time. The more you deeply envision something, the better your chances will be for achieving the goal in question.
So start daydreaming, quite literally. Think about the goal and how your life will be like when you achieve it. Think about all the things that you’ll be able to do. Who will be in your life? What will your day look like? Where will you travel to? Who will you be spending most of your time with? Envisioning things deeply is by far one of the best ways to achieve your goals.
#3 — Be persistent and never give up no matter what happens
The hardest part about achieving a lofty goal, is that inner urge and desire to give up when the going gets tough. The reason? Big goals take time — a long time. We’re not talking about weeks or months here; we’re talking about years and even decades for some of our biggest goals in life. Clearly, the best way to achieve any goal then, is to be persistent. You never actually know how close you are if you give up.
I’ve written before about persistence a number of times. I’ve even published a book called the Art of Persistence. So, I believe wholeheartedly in the practice of sticking it out. While persistence isn’t the only way to achieve your goals, it definitely is one of the best ways to achieve your goals. What I’ve come to realize is that in order to be persistent, you need to do one major thing — stay focused.
Focus really is at the heart of persistence. I’ve realized, in my own life, when I lost focus, I veered off track and was more likely to give up. When I stayed focused, I stayed committed. In turn, I stayed persistent and saw things through. This goes hand in hand with the second practice of envisioning things. If you can envision things deeply enough, you can stay focused. If you can do that, it’s easier to stay persistent.
I know that it can be difficult to keep your focus, especially when so many things seem to go wrong in life. I know that feeling all too well when it feels like the walls are crumbling down around you. But you simply have to take solace in the fact that the tough times won’t last. While it might feel like it’s breaking you, it’s actually setting you up for something brighter and greater in life.
We all face difficulties from time to time. I know that’s it happened for you. And it’s certainly happened for me. But what defines and shapes us isn’t about the uniqueness of our difficulties, because those are repeated over hundreds and thousands of years. What defines and shapes us is what we do in the face of those difficulties. That’s God’s chisel. It’s the way He molds and shapes us for whatever His intention is for our lives.
It’s important to keep your faith, no matter what religion you believe in, through the most difficult times. It’s certainly a pathway to persistence, especially if you’ve lost your way. It will allow you to recover from failure, learn from it and use it as a foundation for success in life.
So, stay focused and keep the faith if you want to stay persistent, which is by far one of the best and surest ways of achieving your goals in life, no matter how long they might take you.