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Success Advice

10 Effective Steps To Make Goal Setting Work For You

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How To Make Goal Setting Work With 10 Simple But Effective Steps

Hundreds of people have talked about the importance of goal setting. Thousands or even millions of people know that setting goals can help you achieve more success in your life.

That’s because goals push you to become better and force you to surpass your limits. Goal setting forces personal growth. But if goals are so important and have so many benefits, why do so many people struggle to achieve their goals?

Here is what you should do if you would like to accomplish your goals:

 

1. Set goals that are original

You shouldn’t have second-hand goals. This means that your goals shouldn’t be based on the expectations of your parents, teachers or society’s norms. Many people think that they have goals but they only try to fulfill the desires of their surroundings. As a result they can’t hold these goals for a long period of time and they give up.

When you set a goal, you should focus on setting one that truly brings you emotional satisfaction as you are trying to accomplish it. Of course this doesn’t mean that your goals shouldn’t be somehow similar with the goals of other individuals. But you should try to set up goals that are originally yours, not goals that are inherited.

Accomplishing goals that aren’t 100% derived from your heart won’t bring you happiness.

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” – Zig Ziglar

2. Your goals should inspire you

Goals shouldn’t be a simple promise or weak wish. They must be something that pushes you to do whatever it takes to succeed. They must represent your passion.

Your passion and desire is what inspires you, motivates you and leads you the right way. It’s the only thing that can keep you on track and drive you to try harder every day.

 

3. Focus on one goal at a time

Multi-tasking is simply harmful. Achieving big success while splitting your attention to 2, 3 or even 4 things simultaneously is quite impossible. If you work on many things at the same time, you will find it harder to accomplish them. In the best case, your results will be pretty average in all of them.

On the other hand, if you would focus only on one goal, this leaves the additional stress out of your way and lets your brain become more focused. You will be amazed when you understand how powerful your brain is, when you are 100% focused on one goal.

 

4. Set high goals but be unrealistic

There is a big contradiction here. A lot of people say that you should settle for less and don’t be unrealistic. On the other side, there are some people who say that you should set extremely high, unrealistic goals because this will motivate you more to succeed.

Both of them are right and both of them are wrong at the same time. I think that the best approach is to find the golden spot between these two beliefs. This means to set goals that are high and push yourself to your limits while they are also accomplishable within a specific timeframe.

Being realistic doesn’t mean that you should settle for less and stay mediocre. It seems that you should set a goal that’s hard to achieve, but not impossible.

For instance: If you say that you will make 1 million dollars in the next month from a side business while you are working as a taxi driver, it’s impossible to achieve that. On the other hand if you say that you will make 1 million dollars within the next 2 years, it’s still hard and requires a lot of effort, but it’s not impossible.

Don’t settle for less and don’t be mediocre but also don’t set a goal that is impossible to achieve. The latter will make you really disappointed and that’s not something that you want to happen. Instead, set demanding goals and progress with small steps. Try to gradually become better and set bigger goals. The magic word here is: gradually.

The greater danger for most of us isn’t that our aim is too high and miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” – Michelangelo

5. Have idealistic goals

Set your goals in accordance to your ideas and values. Your goals should be created based on your emotional, ethical, educational and financial aspects. They should be based on your personal ideas and on what kind of person you are today. In this way you can have a result that will be emotionally satisfying.

 

6. Have specific goals

Your goals must be specific! I can’t really stress the importance of this. If your goals are not specific and if you don’t have a deadline, you limit your potential in an extremely high degree.

If you want to become rich, specify how you will do it. “I will become rich” isn’t a goal. It’s a wish. Wishes rarely come true. The only thing that comes true is specific goals with deadlines. Instead of saying “I will be rich” your goal should be “I will open a clothing business and I will make $150,000 per year in the next 2 years“.

If you don’t have a specific goal, you won’t be able to march towards its accomplishment.

 

7. Your goals should be flexible

Many people make the mistake of trying to accomplish a specific goal without trying to recognize better opportunities as they go. If your goal is to become financially independent until the next year you should concentrate in achieving your goal regardless the method or ways that you will use to do it.

You should be able to understand which things don’t help you anymore and don’t bring a nice return on investment. Stick to the methods that work for you.

 

8. Visualization

Countless people have stressed the importance of visualization and meditation for succeeding in life. Visualizing your goals can help you focus on your final destination. It can also keep you motivated. When you imagine a situation and think of it like it is already a reality you somehow “trick” your subconscious mind to believe that it’s reality.

In this way your subconscious mind acts in a way that helps you make your desire a reality. It gives you ideas, motivation and energizes you to try harder to achieve your goals.

If you have never heard of the importance of subconscious mind programming you should know that many successful people use it. Napoleon Hill, the author of the famous best-seller Think & Grow Rich, has written a lot about the power of your subconscious mind.

Does this thing really work? Well, Napoleon has spent his entire life studying hundreds of multi-millionaires like Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie. If a life-time of research indicates that it can be done, you won’t lose anything if you try it.

You will notice the results on your own. However you should know that it’s not something that happens instantaneously. It needs time to reprogram your subconscious. How much time does it need? You can’t know for sure as it depends on every individual, his life experiences, beliefs and many other factors. Don’t quit no matter how long it takes. It might take months but it will definitely be worth the result.

If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” – Jim Rohn

9. Speak about your goals everyday

If you don’t believe in yourself and your abilities, no goal can be achieved. When you affirm your goals every day, not only to yourself but to your surroundings, you are still programming your subconscious mind.

Of course, many people will doubt you and try to bring you down, but then it comes to how strong your desire is. If you have a strong desire to succeed, no one will ever bring you down. If you believe that it can be done, you will eventually do it! Believe, even if others don’t believe.

 

10. Write them down, write them down, write them down

Studies have proven that people who write down their goals have more of a chance to accomplish them. On the other hand, the ones who only have their goals in their minds seem to be less successful.

People who don’t have a written list of goals are more likely to quit or lose focus.Sure, many individuals might accomplish their goals without writing them down. But over the long run, writing down your goals is more beneficial because it keeps you accountable.

It’s also another way of re-programming your subconscious mind. Think about it, the more times you do something the better you get. For instance, the first time you try to play a guitar you will naturally be awful. After 2 years of repeatedly playing guitar you will have become a lot better.

The same happens with your goals. The more times you remind your brain that you have to accomplish them, the more you will work to achieve them.

 

Thank you for reading my article! I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!
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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Richard Pearce

    Aug 5, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    Thanks for an informative and stimulating article, Damian. I like your point about writing goals down. One ‘strategy’ that works for me is to write up to 3 or 4 (max) on an index card, which I place in front of my computer. Oddly enough, I find that pink card works better than blue – possibly more visible, and certainly more interesting than plain old white. Once there, it acts like a boss watching my every move. I find the instructions (goals!) impossible to ignore. Great sense of satisfaction and achievement when I reach the end of the card!

  2. Magz

    Sep 21, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Damian, great advice.

    I think the visualization tip is controversial because people don’t know how much visualization is enough.

    Studies have shown that too much visualization produces negative emotions and the brain start believing that the goal is already attained. This demotivate people from pursuing the goal.

    Great tips. Thank you.

    • Damian Pros

      Nov 30, 2015 at 4:34 pm

      Magz, for me I think that 10-15 minutes are fine. Thanks for your support!

  3. Lawrence Berry

    Jul 27, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    I really love the advice that you have said here and I totally agree with everything. Having goals is just one part of the equation to success, you have to have the right type of goals and goals that inspire you to reach them. I love the first tip on keeping your goal original because we get so caught up in trying to please our parents, or family members, that we live to only live up to their expectations. Make your own goals and strive for them.

    You cant constantly live up to others expectations, you will lose who you are in the process. Find who you are and set your own inspiring goals.

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Success Advice

Why You Should Prefer Emails to Phone Calls if You Want to Be More Productive

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“Email” and “productivity” rarely go together in a sentence. Emails have been declared as one of our largest time wasters. A McKinsey report stated that people spend around 2.6 hours each day responding to emails. That’s 13 hours a week, 52 hours a month and over 60 days a year! Imagine what you could’ve achieved in 60 days!

Emails also negatively affect our cognitive resources. When we think of responding to them while doing other important tasks, it takes up to 23 minutes and 15 seconds after being disrupted to return to full attention to a current task. Imagine how much our cognition and productivity gets fractured when we get distracted over and over again.

Constant emailing also drains us mentally. And at the end of a day, we realize that we’ve achieved nothing worth mentioning. With a phone call, you can sort issues and solve problems quickly, right? In theory, you’re right. But we live in a practical world where many variables come into play.

Below are three variables that make phone calls adversely affect our productivity, and why emails are a better alternative:

1. Wasting Time

Most “five-minute conversations” can quickly turn into 35-minute calls because people ramble about irrelevant aspects. This derailment, several times a day, severely limits the limited time and energy you have for important tasks.

Emails, on the other hand, force writers to streamline their thoughts and stick to the point. Emails can save you plenty of time and energy because you avoid lengthy phone calls. The constant strife to keep your own emails short and crisp also makes you a clearer thinker, which rewards you in other aspects of your life.

“It’s better to waste money, than it is to waste time. You can always get more money.” – Hal Sparks

2. Inaccurate Responses

An unexpected phone call can catch me caught off guard on a topic. I might respond emotionally or give an answer that doesn’t do justice to what I want to share. In a world dominated by panic buttons and fire-fighting, these don’t just stress me out but the caller as well.

Emails give me flexibility to prepare a coherent response and share it when I’m satisfied. If I feel a surge of emotion, I can sleep over the thought and share a better (more rational) response the next day. Many page-long email responses to emails that upset me have turned into a simple “thank you for your email” the next day.

3. Constant Back-and-Forth

Phone calls often are ineffective to solve business problems. Accounting for multiple people, their views, their timelines… One phone call can quickly turn into three.

Emails are quicker and more effective than even conference calls. They let you communicate with multiple people at the same time. You can share information, assign tasks and give status updates while being as specific as possible.

You must be wondering, “What about back-and-forth emails then? Why do we waste precious time on them?” Yes, email has earned a bad rap. But it’s not because of the medium; it’s because we handle it ineffectively.

A Better Approach to Emailing

For most people, constantly refreshing the inbox is part of the daily to-do list. It keeps them busy and gives them a kick of dopamine – the feel-good chemical.

Ironically, this quest to remain busy makes people compromise on taking action that can move them forward. Using emails prudently, rewards you with plenty of energy and mind space to focus on tasks that truly matter.

Here are three steps that benefited me without succumbing to the side effects of email:

1. Checking Them Less

I check emails just 3 times a day – at 9:30 AM, 12:00 PM, and 4:30 PM. If you don’t have the luxury to do the same, you can start by checking your emails for ten minutes at the end of each hour. Most senders expect a response in a little over an hour. So they won’t mind a slightly delayed response. This gives you 45 undisturbed minutes each hour to work on your core tasks.

2. Responding Quickly

People delay responding to emails at least 37% of the time, which turns finding emails and responding to them into additional tasks that cost time and lead to attention residue. Most emails take under two minutes to respond. When you can respond to an email, do so instead of putting it off. This won’t just put your mind at peace, it’ll also reduce the number of “did-you-see-this” follow-up emails in your inbox.

“I do love email. Wherever possible I try to communicate asynchronously. I’m really good at email.” – Elon Musk

3. The If-Then Technique

The If-Then technique helps you address multiple scenarios at once. For instance, an email that says, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM?” becomes, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM? If not, please advise three other times that work for you.”

This technique is also effective when you want to suggest ideas or provide instructions on alternative steps. For example, “Here’s Plan A. If it doesn’t work, connect with [name] and ask for [specific information]. If you don’t get what you need, inform me.”

I’ll admit. This sounds like more work in the current moment, but it drastically cuts down the number of trail mails, confused correspondences, and fire-fighting instances that occur due to miscommunication.

The If-Then formula is the single most effective technique I’ve learned from The 4-Hour Workweek. All of this doesn’t mean that you abandon phone calls, In fact, it’s better to use the phone for sensitive topics or if an email conversation gets dragged. But remain mindful to not let phone calls waste your time.

If you want to pursue a meaningful life, place a premium on your time. Do things that create time for you to pursue meaningful actions and avoid doing what pulls you away from them. In the knowledge economy, this is the key to success.

Do you prefer email or talking on the phone? Share your thoughts below!

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Success Advice

4 Questions You Need to Answer Before You Reach the Level of Success You So Desperately Crave

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It’s normal that every person in the world wants to reach success and happiness. Yet, everyone defines both of these things differently. For some, success is making a whole bunch of money while for others this can be to become a good parent. Happiness is defined differently as well. Some people need to own a jet, boat and 3 cars to be truly happy, while others are happy just to be able to wake up in the morning.

It doesn’t matter how you define success and happiness, the truth is, you want to achieve them both. But, to be able to reach success and happiness, you need to answer 4 questions for yourself.

Here are the 4 questions you need to answer before you can achieve success and happiness:

1. Where Are You?

No, not geographically. It doesn’t matter where you live. What matters is where are you in life. Where are you in your way to success and happiness. Let’s say you are lost in the woods. You know exactly where you want to go, but you don’t know where you are. Even a map doesn’t help you with that.

The same is true in life. You may have a goal, but until you truly define where you are in the moment, you can’t move toward this goal. So, step 1 on your way to success and happiness is to define where you are right now.

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn

2. Where Do You Want to Go?

When you define where you are in life, then you can think of where you want to be.

There’s this saying:  When you don´t know your final destination, you´ll end up somewhere you didn’t want to be. Until you don’t know clearly where you want to be in life and who you want to become, your life doesn’t have a true purpose.

Without purpose, there´s no motivation. Without motivation, there´s no energy. And without energy, you´re not living, you´re just existing. I am sure you know someone who looks like a walking corpse everytime you see them. Do you think this person lives a successful and happy life? Most likely not.

So, step 2 on your way to success and happiness is to clearly define your goal. What do you want to accomplish and who do you want to become?

3. Why Do You Want It?

Okay, you know the basics. You know where you are and where you want to be. But, as Rocky Balboa said, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.” And as you already know, life usually doesn’t go according to your plan. There will be hard times and to overcome those and not give up, you need to know WHY you do what you do.

You need to know WHY you want to accomplish your goals. When you answer this for yourself, you don’t struggle so much to motivate yourself. You will be motivated every minute of every day.

So, as a step 3, sit down and think of WHY you want to accomplish your goals. What’s the big purpose?

“We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.” – Tony Robbins

4. How Are You Going to Get There?

And finally, how are you going to get there? What’s your plan? You may know where you are, where you want to be and why you want to do it, but until you truly understand how you are going to get there, there won’t be much success and happiness in your life.

For example, you want to become a bodybuilder. You want to do it because you want to have big muscles and you want to look fit. But, you have no idea how to work out, how to build muscle and how to lose fat. Do you think, you´re going to be happy? No. As Tony Robbins says, “true happiness comes from progress.”

To make progress, you need to have a specific plan; how to get from point A (where you are) to point B (where you want to be). So, as a step 4, sit down and make a specific plan for how you’re going to get what you want in life.

In order to reach success and happiness, there are 4 questions you need to answer for yourself. Without answering them, you´re not going to  get ahead in life, you´re just bouncing around. Success and happiness never come from just bouncing around in life.

Good news is, that these questions are really simple. It won’t take much time to answer them. Just be aware of where you are and where you want to be. Don´t forget to understand why you are pursuing your dream and finally, how are you going to get what you want.

Answer these 4 simple questions today and you won’t struggle with finding success and happiness in life anymore.

Which one of the above 4 questions resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts and ideas below!

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The Empathetic Heart: How The CHO of VaynerMedia Is Changing The Way We Work

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Claude Silver CHO of Vaynermedia
Image Credit: VaynerMedia

A month after I had joined LinkedIn back in July of 2018, I sent Claude Silver a connection request and began following her content. One day she made a post saying “Ask and you shall receive, what can I do to help you today?”. I commented on that post asking for a 5 minute interview and to my surprise she agreed by asking me to send her a message (I was given a full hour). This was the first example of pure kindness I witnessed from Claude.

The first message you see on Claude’s website is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something. That message spoke to me on an emotional level, and I believe it will speak to you too. I wanted to know how she created such an amazing culture, what being a “culture carrier” meant, and how the employees at VaynerMedia have been changed by her work there.

A culture carrier in Claude’s own words is “someone who is aligned with our values, I can’t teach someone to be kind they have to already be kind. The process of developing a culture carrier takes about 6 months. It’s about bringing people together and having strong core values of kindness and empathy.”

Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder of VaynerMedia, is often referred to as a combination of hustle and heart. With the hiring of Claude and the work she has accomplished within the company, it speaks to the level of empathy that can be felt throughout the entire operation.

Although business can be a challenging, tough, and often cut-throat terrain, by putting employees first and providing honest feedback the company has grown to include offices in New York, Chattanooga, Los Angeles and London, and continues to dominate the market.

Below we’ll see 3 different ways the CHO of VaynerMedia is changing the way people work:

1. By being unafraid to share her own story

Claude has been an influential part of breaking the stigma surrounding vulnerability in the business arena. Not only does she openly share her own story, but she sits down with employees to better understand their vulnerabilities and how to use characteristics that previously would have been considered weaknesses as strengths.

When asked what her biggest adventure to date was she replied “Having Shalom (her daughter). I have had an amazing life, I moved, worked hard, landed an amazing job and fell in love but it didn’t come without its challenges.”

Claude is openly gay and is living proof your sexual orientation doesn’t matter. Nothing matters but your character, your track record, and if you leave people a little better off than before you met them. From Claude, business leaders, employees and entrepreneurs can learn to be more open both on social media and in person, allowing them to build more meaningful relationships and connect on a deeper level. A deeper connection can mean more leverage but it also means a more lasting impact on the world.

“Everyone has something they can share. I’m not famous. I don’t have anything that would be newsworthy, but I have stories.” – Tafta Johnson Watson

2. Committing to a strong value system

VaynerMedia has some serious values for such a large company and those values are expected to be upheld by every employee and visitor. Values like kindness, empathy, honesty, hustle and the art of not complaining.

With Claude holding the title of Chief Heart Officer, she is the guiding light for others. When recruiting, she says she “takes the time to evaluate an individual’s talents but most importantly their own heart”.  

Gary Vaynerchuk is quoted as saying:”To me, there’s no debate that kindness is a strength. And it breaks my heart to know that so many people believe it’s a weakness. So many people are afraid that other people will take advantage of their kindness or make them feel “used.” But the truth is, those who take advantage of your kindness are weak on the inside. Feel bad for them, don’t let them make you feel bad about yourself“.

Both Claude and Gary teach aspiring entrepreneurs that it is okay to live with an open heart and that having the strength to commit to and live with a strong value system, will be a powerful tool during the hustle journey. It also allows you to go to bed at night actually liking the person that you are, nothing will kill a business faster than going to bed at night and hating yourself.

3. Listening with action

As mentioned above Claude’s slogan is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something.  As a woman who wears many hats, she is also an Outward Bound Instructor, taking individuals on amazing adventures in the outdoors.

Taking action on any given day can mean a number of different things but it speaks to her own character and driving force that she is able to not only guide people through the world of office politics but also through the serene and sometimes challenging wilderness.

Claude cultivates an environment of trust by first offering individuals her own trust. It is a huge and vulnerable action that leads to a relationship of love – heart – and productivity. Listening as an action is something that has the power to change an entire organization from an unproductive, toxic environment to one that promotes creativity, passion, inclusion and positivity.

“Relationships are leverage. If you give value to someone else first, you have leverage.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

To get the truest sense of how Claude was changing the way people work, I asked her co-workers to tell me what working alongside Claude has done for them. Here is one of the answers I received:

“During my time working alongside Claude, I’ve really come to appreciate her example of being a good listener. As a society, we tend to praise the power of speaking. But Claude demonstrates on a daily basis that the most important thing everybody wants is to be heard.” – Steve Babcock, Chief Creative Officer VaynerMedia.

I tried looking for images of Claude on her website and I think it speaks to how focused she is on holding space for others, because I couldn’t find a single full sized image of her to use. I googled. Writing this piece has opened me up to evaluate my own values and the way I connect with people in my daily life.

From this article, it is my own hope that entrepreneurs come to the understanding that although tenacity and true grit are really important, the whole of what Claude represents is something to strive towards. The “soft” skills you develop are humongous strengths and to truly impact an entire organization.

What’s the last random act of kindness you did for someone? Share with us below!

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Success Advice

The 7 Secrets of High Achievers Revealed

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We all have goals in life, but very few of us ever learn to consciously set, work on and see our goals through. In our naturalness bias, we marvel at those who have set and reached their goals thinking they have some esoteric abilities that we don’t. We overlook that the final product is the result of a series of mistake-ridden, unrecorded pains. What if we could learn from the process, the habits and rituals of the high achievers? (more…)

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