Do you ever find yourself (or people around you) making excuses about why you can’t achieve your goals?
“It’s too hard.”
“I’m not good enough.”
“I don’t have what it takes.”
“It will take too long.”
“Getting started feels impossible.”
“It seems daunting.”
“I don’t have the right training.”
I’ve got good news and bad news (sort of). Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: these excuses are B.S.
I don’t mean to say that feeling as though these thoughts are legitimate roadblocks isn’t a very real experience for nearly all of us– it is. But if we want to excel in any area of life, we have to focus on what we CAN do, what IS within our control and where we COULD affect positive change.
Ok, now for the good news: you don’t need to be an expert, a guru or a wizard to start making real progress towards your goals today. We have more resources than ever (books, webinars, MOOCs, articles, videos, websites, online communities, etc.) that we can leverage to intentionally beef up our skill set, prepare us for the challenge ahead and set us up for success. In addition, there are some very basic practices that you can implement immediately to get out of your own way and start making progress.
To that end, here are 10 game-changing practices that require zero natural talent or aptitude, but can catapult you forward with consistent, concerted effort.
***Now before you bark about this, allow me to clarify. Are some people naturally better at these things than others? You bet. But, they are skills that can be learned, practiced and applied as soon as you decide to make them a priority. Your success in any of these areas is largely about making the conscious choice to improve them and going all in with your effort.***
So, without further ado… Here are 10 ways to jumpstart your success NOW.
- Research. Not sure where to start, what to do next, or what you need to focus on to reach your goal? Do your homework. Chances are you’re not the first person to walk this path and there are a million resources out there to shorten the learning curve for yourself. Flex your research muscle and start gathering info about how those who came before you attained success.
- Add Value. Want that promotion at work? Want to improve the quality of your relationships? Start adding value. Look around and ask yourself, “What can I do to make life easier/better for those around me? What can I do to go above and beyond what’s expected of me?”
- Follow Through. For most of us, meeting external expectations is fairly easy. But what about those internal ones? If you make a commitment to yourself– to get more sleep, exercise regularly, get to work on time, make plans with friends– DO IT. Training yourself to be reliable breeds self-trust and self-respect– both of which are necessary for success.
- Practice Gratitude. Constantly focusing on lack and scarcity will keep you stuck. Hunting for the good stuff will breed positive emotions that broaden your ability to see new pathways forward while simultaneously building your personal resources like resilience and social support.
- Pay Attention. There are clues everywhere about what it takes to be successful. Open your eyes, look around and take notes. What habits, behaviors, mindsets and practices have contributed to the success of others?
- Get Curious. Informational interviewing is a powerful tactic for building your knowledge base and identifying strategies for success. If you know someone who is particularly adept at _______, ask them how they got there. There’s no such thing as a dumb question, so ask away!
- Bring Energy. If you attempt to make progress towards your goal when you’re tired, undernourished, bored or disengaged, you won’t get very far. Set yourself up for success by establishing habits and routines that get you energized and focused: power up with high quality foods, go for short walks between tasks to get your blood pumping, meditate to get centered, put your phone on airplane mode to limit distractions, etc.
- Get Your Mind Right. Mindset is every bit as important as ability. If you want to accomplish something, believing you can and will is absolutely fundamental. Even if you don’t know how you’ll get it done, simply believing in your gut that you will make it happen– come hell or high water– is an essential precursor to getting started today and overcoming setbacks in the future.
- Make a Plan. Would you set out on a road trip to a specific destination without a clear set of directions? Not likely. Then why would you start working towards a goal (AKA a destination) without first making sure you had a roadmap for how to make it happen? Sure, the route might change many times over once you get underway due to unexpected detours– and in fact, anticipating that it will change (and being flexible when it does) is crucial. But you still need a basic roadmap to get the journey started.
- Be Coachable. Ask for feedback and use it to skyrocket towards your goals. We all have blindspots, so soliciting feedback from those around you can be extremely valuable in pinpointing what needs your attention in order to close the gap between where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow. And, when you get unsolicited feedback or guidance, stay open. Ask yourself, “What tangible steps I can take to make this feedback actionable and productive?”
I challenge you to pick one of these strategies and go ALL IN. In the words of a very wise Yoda, “Do or do not. There is no try.”