Note: This is the third article in the series “How to be Successful by…”. This series examines what traits successful people have in common. Here are the first two articles in the series:
How to be Successful by Practicing Resilience
How to be Successful by Taking Responsibility
“You want to set a goal that is big enough that in the process of achieving it, you become something worth becoming”. –Jim Rohn.
The Secret to Super High Achievement
Pay close attention because this is probably going to be counter-intuitive at first glance. You are more likely to achieve heroic goals than you are to achieve less aggressive stretch goals. I have found this to be true in my own life.
When I set goals that I know I can achieve within my known performance boundaries, I achieve them easily. These are unremarkable achievements so who cares? When I set stretch-goals, goals that stretch me beyond what I know by experience I can achieve, I often fail to accomplish them. These stretch goals are just that – stretching within the same paradigm. The same thing, only more than is comfortable.
The few times I have set heroic goals, I have achieved them. Unfortunately it was not until recently that I recognized this and understood why. It happens this way because in order to achieve these heroic goals, we must make massive changes in ourselves and our behavior. Therefore, by having heroic goals we are forcing ourselves to grow outside the boundaries of our limiting paradigms.
A Personal Example
Let’s think about an extreme case for illustrative purposes. I once set a goal to lose 60 pounds without exercising. I didn’t set a time limit but I was thinking 6 months to a year. In order to accomplish this goal I had to make massive changes in my diet. I literally had to completely change the way I ate. I didn’t have to make these changes overnight, but I had to make them quickly enough. I lost 74 lbs in 8 months.
What if I had set a goal of one pound in the next year? What would I have done? Probably nothing. I could have stopped drinking water on weigh-in day and declared success. Of course nobody would declare such a minimal goal, but by setting a stretch goal of say 20 pounds, you are effectively doing the same thing. It’s going to be difficult enough that you likely you will give up, but not hard enough to make you change anything fundamental in yourself.
Constructive and Healthy Dissatisfaction
I often hear people say that you should be happy or satisfied with what you’ve got. I don’t think so. I am thankful for what I have, and I appreciate the blessings in my life, but I am neither satisfied nor happy with what I’ve got and you shouldn’t be either. I’m happy because of the journey that has brought me to this point, but I have big dreams still ahead.
Life is a process of growth. It is the experience of growth that yields serene fulfillment and happiness. Did you get that? It isn’t the destination but the journey. To stop growing is to start dying. If your ancestors had been satisfied with what they had, you would be running from saber-tooth tigers and sleeping in a cave.
17 Things You Can do To Achieve Heroic Goals
- Make Your Goals Truly Heroic – As Bob Proctor says: “Blow the lid off of yourself and let your dreams fly.” If you make $100,000 a year, it is not a heroic goal to say your dream is to make $150,000. $500,000 or $5,000,000 might be considered heroic.
- Create Goals So Desirable You Are Willing to Take Risks – You have to really, really, really want it. If you kind of want it then it is not going to happen. High achievement and risk go hand in hand. You aren’t going to get big results without risk. Your goal needs to be something so valuable that you will commit to making it happen and be willing to take risks to get there.
- Align Goals With Your Life Values – You will not be excited or motivated to do what it takes to achieve goals that are in opposition to the real you. You will find reasons to fail. Write down a list of your values and make sure that your big goals are in complete alignment with those values. Your subconscious mind will sabotage your efforts if your goals do not align with your values.
- Create Goals That You Have High Passion for Accomplishing – Your heroic goals will be difficult. If you aren’t absolutely passionate about the goals you set, you will quit when the going gets tough. If you don’t passionately want a lot of money in order to buy yourself freedom in order to get the life you want, then don’t set a goal that includes a lot of money. Once again you have to really, really, really want it. The goals have to be yours and yours alone. They can’t be someone else’s dreams. They must be your dreams, your passions, your desires. Make them something that will get you leaping out of bed in the morning and excited to take on the world.
- Create a Crystal Clear and Detailed Picture of Your Goal – “In the absence of clearly defined goals we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.” –Bob Proctor. Your heroic goals need to extremely detailed. Imagine and record every detail about how you will be living in with your goal. Paint a beautiful picture in your mind and your subconscious mind will take over and do the work for you. Every time you think of your goal, this detailed picture will flash through your mind. If your goal is fuzzy, it is not going to work. View your goal in the present tense. Say “I am” and not “I will”. Make it emotional. Feel the dream. Attaching deep positive emotions to your goal is a very powerful approach.
- Write Your Goals in Longhand Every Day – Writing your goal down over and over seems to burn it into your mind more deeply. Jack Canfield recommends writing the goal three times a day. Typing it on a computer is better than nothing, but I have found that the act of writing it out in longhand on a piece of paper has a lot more impact.
- Prioritize Your Goals – Set priorities on your goals or you won’t know what to do first. You will end up putting second things first. Rank your goals 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. This is a critical step so don’t skip it.
- Focus on One Goal at a Time: The One With the Highest Priority – This is very difficult for me and I suspect it is the same with many of you. I am so impatient and I want to do everything at once. I continue to learn the lesson the hard way that this doesn’t work. Your attention is diluted and you accomplish nothing. It is of the highest importance to your success, that you focus on your most important goal. You can probably work on a couple of goals at the same time if they are in completely independent domains. For example you could work on a heroic health and fitness goal at the same time you are working on your heroic business goal. However, I simply cannot stress enough that if you dilute your focus, you will not achieve what you want and when you want it.
- Use Vision Boards or Mind Movies – Keep a picture of your goal in front of you by creating a vision board or my new favorite – a mind movie. Pictures, phrases, quotes, etc. scattered in a collage of images that include sound and movement create a powerful effect. Watch it multiple times a day. If you have a vision board, hang versions of it up everywhere so you see it constantly and wherever you go.
- Keep a Positive Attitude About Your Goals – Rid yourself of all doubt and negativity. Have a positive attitude and trust yourself to achieve your goal. People want to change their results but refuse to change themselves. Take full responsibility for your attitude and make it insanely positive
- Plot Your Course – Once you have your heroic goal in place then plot your course of action. It is not a detailed plan at this point. It is comprised of recognizable landmarks along the way. You don’t aim at the ultimate when you take your first step. You aim at an intermediate goal that will steer your towards your ultimate goal.
- Get Started on Achieving Your Goal Quickly – Don’t wait until you have your perfect plan in place before starting or you will never start. Your course plot is enough. Start today by taking some actions and develop your strategy and plan as you go along. This way you can base your strategy and plan on the discoveries and experiences you have during your initial experience. Momentum is everything. Get moving!
- Stay in the Moment During Execution – This is very powerful strategy for keeping you moving forward. If you focus on worry, fears, and obstacles ahead, then you will get overwhelmed and you may quit. If you focus on the struggles of the past, then you may get discouraged and you may quit. Focus on the present moment where no barriers exist. You are able to move forward with ease in the beautiful and obstacle free present moment.
- Measure and Adjust – If you don’t measure your progress then you won’t know your progress. If you don’t know how you are progressing then you can’t make the necessary adjustments needed for success. You don’t know everything when you start. You obviously haven’t done it before or it wouldn’t be a goal now. Give yourself a break and expect adjustments.
- Be Patient and Expect Challenges – Cultivate a patient attitude. You did not get where you are overnight and you are not going to simply catapult to the top overnight either. What commonly look like overnight successes, are invariably the result of long an hard practice, struggle and challenges that occurred before and outside of the view of others.
- Be Obsessively Persistent – Never quit and never give up. If you fall down, then pick yourself up and continue on your road to success. Winners do not quit – ever. Period.
- Make Progress Every Day – Every day make sure you have at least one, but preferably three to six actions that you can complete that day that progress you towards your heroic goal. It doesn’t matter how small. Mind bending outcomes are often the result of a whole bunch of tiny steps. If you just write it down and think about it, then you will just be thinking about it. You must act now and act every day hereafter.
Don’t worry about what you think you can do at this point. That is your current problem. Your current thinking is limited by your current limiting construct. Bust out of those limits and let your mind soar. Heroic goals create a change in you that allow you to achieve them. That change is what you are really after. The goal is just the target which you aim at to achieve that growth. Isn’t that a powerful idea?
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