Success & Goal Setting
“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”
Without setting goals, and working to achieve them, you cannot move forward in life, you will just drift, going around in circles and not achieving anything worthwhile. Take the time to think carefully about what you want from life, where you want to be and how to get there.
There are many publications on goal setting that you can read, but usually the simplest method is most successful. If you try to make it too complicated, you will not persevere, and give up.
Just take a sheet of paper and write down headings that cover each area of your life that you would like to set goals. For instance work, family, friends, leisure time, financial, health and spiritual.
Think carefully about your present state in each of these areas and where you would like to be in six months, one year and maybe five years. Write out your goals with confidence under each heading and time frame. Think carefully and make them real and achievable. Then, write out the steps you need to take to reach each goal, in detail.
Once you have a basic set of goals and a plan of how to get there, keep them in a safe place. Look at them regularly, and keep track of the achievements you’ve made. Prepare to adjust your goals, or method if needed as you progress. Your goals may change as you reach some of the steps on your list or circumstances change. You may find that some steps are easier than you imagined, others harder, or you may find a faster way of achieving them.
Only seek the input of positive, encouraging friends and relations when deciding your goals, or keep them secret. Don’t discuss them with negative people, who are always quick to detract from other’s success and put you down. There will always be people who will knock your dreams and tell you are reaching too high. Or that you don’t deserve to advance, or you’re dreaming and have no chance of succeeding. Keep away from them.
When choosing your goals, don’t limit yourself unnecessarily. You need to have some realism. For instance, you are unlikely to become a brain surgeon overnight, but on the other hand, you will find that you are able to achieve far more than you think. Especially, if you push yourself and are committed to progress. Aim for the stars, and you may just get there.
PLAN FOR SUCCESS
Planning is one of the key ingredients to achieving success. If you don’t plan, you plan to fail. If you don’t know what you want, you haven’t much chance of arriving at an enjoyable destination.
Not only must you take the time to decide on your future goals as above, but you need to extend that process into each day. Plan your day, write down your goals and any priority tasks. Be sure to put the most important first, rather than the most urgent, as you will find that you are chasing your tail. Each evening, cross off the tasks you have achieved, add any new items, reprioritize them and produce a new list for tomorrow.
Discipline yourself to keep this system diligently, and you will find that you will quickly achieve success in many more areas than you thought possible, and will become known for being efficient and reliable. You will surprise yourself at how much you are able to achieve each day!
Most people live in a rut. Their daily routine of work, food and sleep is followed without any thought of achieving their life’s dreams. They toss about battered by the winds of life, bending first this way then that, and wherever life’s storms throw them. There they remain, moaning and groaning that life isn’t fair. They have no thought of improving themselves, and believe the world owes them a living.
I can’t express to you strongly enough that you have to take the time to set detailed goals with a time frame for achieving them, in every area of your life.
The goals you set move the world around you to begin fulfilling those goals. Your mind and the universe works with you in a mysterious way to move you in the direction that you are thinking about. Read your goals daily and revise if need be, with new goals added, and innovative steps added as they come to mind.
When you sit down to set your goals don’t worry too much about how you are going to reach them. This limits your thinking and you end setting your sights too low. Think about each part of your life, career, marriage, relationships, and personal improvements. First, think of the target, what you want to achieve in each category, then set specific time frames and detailed steps towards achieving them.
Every day, think of one task that you can do today that will move you towards carrying out each goal on your list. For example, you may decide to have savings of a certain amount by a set date, so open a savings account. Plan how much of each paycheck needs to go into it, ensuring that’s the first payment you make from each paycheck.
Remember that what you think about with an intense desire, you will accomplish, so make sure that all your goals are felt with strong emotion. List all the benefits that you will receive by reaching that goal, which will increase your desire to reach the goal. Visualize your goals as being a reality, and decide that you will persevere until you have obtained your dream.
SUCCESS & YOUR FINANCES
To be successful in your finances, again you need a strategy. Many people drift by from week to week, becoming deeper in debt because they don’t sit down and analyze their situation and plan a budget. Often it’s not the money that you earn that decides your success with finances, but the way that you use the cash available. Some are good managers and make intelligent choices with our money and others don’t.
To enable you to plan, first you need to know the current state of your finances. How much income do you have? What are your regular outgoings? How much do you owe? Have you any savings? Do you know the details of pensions and insurance policies etcetera? Until you know all these details, you cannot begin to plan.
When you have all the information and find your outgoings are greater than your income, you have a problem! It would surprise you to learn how many people are in this fix, and don’t know it until they put all the details on paper. You will need to make measures to reduce your outgoings, and if possible increase your income, as soon as possible. For example, if you have a lot of debt, you can usually get a consolidation loan to help you pay it back over a longer period of time. It’s essential to have a detailed planned budget to pay off the debts and stick to it.
Examine each item of spending religiously, and question each item to see if it’s necessary. For instance, could you start taking lunches to work, rather than buying food and lattes at the coffee shop? Would it be cheaper to catch public transport to work, or car pool with someone, rather than wasting petrol in traffic queues, with one person in the car? How much do you spend on drinks or cigarettes? Cut your cloth to suit your budget, plan spending carefully, and avoid impulse buys.
Avoid credit card debt! It’s so easy to run up liability on credit cards, but they are one of the most expensive forms of borrowing. If you have an outstanding balance on credit cards, cut the cards up, and plan to pay off the balance over as short a time as possible. Consider a bank loan or extending your mortgage to clear the credit card balance, as the interest rates are much better. You may be able to switch the balance to a nil interest credit card for a time. Of course, you should only do so as part of an overall strategy for your finances.
Financially successful people spend their money on larger ticket items that appreciate, such as antique furniture, jewelry and of course stocks and shares. Items which the average person buys such as cars, cameras, televisions all lose value, and are therefore an expense rather than an investment. Buy a cheaper car, rather than putting yourself in debt to buy a new one as a status symbol.
Think, before you buy anything. Does the purchase of this item bring you closer to your goal of becoming debt free? Do you need a new dress or a one-day wonder electronic toy? Become astute in your buys.
Be sure to include a savings plan in your budget. Even though you’re still paying off debt, it’s important to get into the savings habit. Aim to save ten per cent of your income, but if that’s not possible right now, at least start a regular pattern of saving. This will give you the saving habit and emotionally help you feel that you have money available, even if you have no aim of spending it.
SUCCESS & GIVING
Giving is another of the paradoxes of a happy and fulfilled life. In the Bible, in Acts 20:35, it says “it is more blessed to give than to receive”.
This is true, as the fulfillment in giving and making someone happy is far better than the guilt of withholding when you have the resources to do so. You could say that you aren’t able to give but no matter how badly off you are, there is always someone worse off. Even a little can be exactly what that person needs.
The law of giving uses the law of reciprocity and the law of vacuum, so whatever you willingly give, you will receive up to ten times the value back to you. Not necessarily the same amount, or even in material goods, but you can be sure that if you give with the correct motives you’ll benefit more than you could imagine.
Tithing a tenth of your income is a well-known biblical principle, and as the quote from Malachi below shows. The promise is perfect, as long you give with pure motives. Usually the money is given to the church or people from whom you receive your spiritual teaching. If don’t attend a church or support another spiritual ministry, then donate to any good cause, without any strings attached. This can include time and goods, not only money.
Become a cheerful giver and see what wonderful gifts find their way back to you.
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test Me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out such blessing that you will not have room enough to receive it.” Malachi 3 v 10
SUCCESS & HEALTH
Success in other areas is useless if you don’t enjoy good health. Nothing else can compensate for loss of health and vitality. How can you enjoy success if you’re not healthy? Vitality and stamina are essential to make the most of life.
It’s important to develop healthy habits and make healthy lifestyle choices. Then you will feel great, the rewards far outweighing the effort. You will increase your energy, gain strength and stamina, and the promise of a longer, happier life. Commit to take the steps needed to become fit and energetic. You can then enjoy all the rewards good health returns to you.
Gain without pain is not possible. If it was easy you wouldn’t see all the unhealthy and overweight people walking around, and the health and diet industry wouldn’t be so huge. As with other areas of success, you have to plan, and decide that you are going to stick to your resolution to achieve your goals. You may have to make some uncomfortable choices to achieve maximum health. Start thinking about health as a change in lifestyle rather than a short-term diet or exercise routine.
Your body is designed to move, and need regular exercise to remain supple and healthy. Unfortunately, in the modern world, everything is ‘labor saving’, which sounds good, but has created a whole generation of overweight, unhealthy individuals. In the ‘good old days’, just normal living involved more effort than it does now.
Regular exercise is essential to keep our range of movement and staying power. How can we achieve or enjoy other goals when we are too tired to move off the couch? Today, decide to start your new workout regime and set out a plan with your ultimate health objective as the goal. You could start with walking a couple of blocks each evening, building up to thirty to sixty minutes of exercise each day. Think about employing a personal trainer, or join a gym, if they are within your budget. The secret is to make a start.
Change your habits, by taking the stairs instead of the elevator; park the car further away from work and walk the rest of the way. Look for ways to exercise during your normal daily routine. The more you exercise, the easier it will become. In time you will find the endorphins that your body releases when you exercise are pleasurable, and actually improve your mood.
Food is one of the essentials of life, and is not something that you can give up. However, modern food production is a multi-billion dollar industry, which tries to make it as easy as possible for you to eat, without thinking. To progress the industry fast-food has additives and sugar which make you want more. As a result processed food is habit-forming. Because the food is attractive, we crave more of it, and as a result end overeating.
You can’t stop eating altogether, but you can change your eating habits. Think before you eat, and ask yourself if the food you are about to eat is going to nourish you, and eventually move you towards your goal of better health. You have to make a plan to control your eating. Work out meals carefully, rather than taking the easy choice of eating ready-meals or takeaways. There are many diet books available for you to read and all claim to have the answer, but these days most of us know what foods we should eat. Common sense should help us to choose wisely. If you are not sure, get a book on nutrition from the library or your local bookstore. Personally, I find that giving up any sugary foods works well without the need to diet.
Start by making small changes in your eating habits; choose the fresh fruits and vegetables and eat fewer of the fats, cakes and cookies. Get into the habit of speaking out the affirmations that will help you, before you eat, for instance: “I always choose the foods and drinks that nurture my well-being”
You do know what to do, so take responsibility. Willpower alone won’t work, so make a specific plan that you can follow each day. For instance decide that you will take a half an hour walk each lunchtime, and you’ll take a healthy lunch to work instead of buying fast-food. Choose a plan you can stick to, then set up your environment for success. Have healthy food in the pantry and take a route to work that by passes the takeaways.
The other bad habits, which you should cut out as soon as possible, are smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and taking drugs. These days some people become addicted to prescription drugs, such as painkillers. These are just as habit-forming as the hard drugs. Addictions have a damaging effect to your health, so take action to get help from a professional.
In your goal setting and decision to change lifetime habits there are a few rules to follow for you to succeed.
- Make your goals specific. Write out exactly what you will do. For example “each day I will walk around the park track for thirty minutes each day” and not “I will take more exercise”.
- Set a goal you can measure. For example “I will lose twenty pounds”.
- Put with it a timeline “I will lose twenty pounds within three months”.
- Have a plan and work your plan, checking it and adapting it to circumstances.
- Set up your environment to help and not hinder. For instance if you are have a goal to lose weight, don’t have fattening foods in the cupboard. Just don’t buy them.
- Make yourself accountable for your actions. If you eat something that you have decided to give up, then you must walk for an extra thirty minutes the next day, or you will forgo some treat that you wanted.
- Keep in mind your long-term goals and don’t let short-term pleasures distract you.
- Live one day at a time. If you fall down one day, don’t worry. Resolve to live tomorrow well.