Why do some people succeed with their goals while others fail? Is it because those who succeed have a plan? Or is it that they have the strands of success so ingrained in their DNA that nothing will prevent them from achieving their true potential?
I have often wondered this myself. But then again, over the course of three years, I did write a bestselling book trilogy while publishing three articles a week in support of my effort. So, I suppose, I do have some insight in what it takes to be successful.
Below is the template I use whenever I set out to accomplish anything that is beyond what I can accomplish on my own. You can use this template for just about anything. It will encourage you to keep pressing forward, never to surrender.
If one day, because of these seven keys, you become President of the United States, remember me as the guy who put you there. I take cash, bank draft, money order and certified check. However, I think I would be more useful as your Vice President.
1. Create a Mission Statement
Every success story has a beginning, and every beginning sparks from a single thought. You cannot know where you are going if you do not have a destination.
Begin by thinking about what you want to achieve, sit down and write it down. Your goals will not become reality if you do not write them down.
When you have your goals written down in the form where you can see them, touch them, and read them back to yourself, they become real.
Think of your goals as Mission Statements. Simply writing the words, “Rock Star” on a piece of paper will not make it so. Instead, be specific: “In one year I will lead a rock band, and in five years I will put out my first single.”
The more specific you are with your Mission Statement the more it will become an accomplished goal.
You can do the same thing with life goals: “By this time next year, I will have bought a house, paid my first mortgage installment and looked after my own lawn.”
Seeing your goals detailed on paper will bring your goals to life.
Create your Mission Statement now.
2. Prepare an Action Plan
Writing down your Mission Statement is only the first step to achieve success. You will now need an Action Plan to move you along the journey.
How are you going to get to where you want to go? A good driver will have counted the cost of travel. A good driver will have also planned the route, landmarks to look for and destination. A good driver will know when the journey is complete.
Similarly, if you are thinking about completing your degree in Physics, you will need to create an Action Plan that details the courses you will need, the cost, time and effort you will need to expend to achieve this success.
An Action Plan can be as simple as this:
- Make $5,000 in tuition working at Mom and Pop’s Grocery for four months
- Take 2 electives
- Write my thesis
- Graduate top of my class within a year of registering
Notice that the Action Plan contains a detailed timeline, cost estimate of the goal and a success benchmark. In this case, the success benchmark is graduating top of the class.
3. Stay Healthy
Once you begin your journey toward success, you will need one vital component to maintain your stamina. That very important component is your health.
Without good health, no matter how strong or positive you think you are, either it will take you longer to achieve success, or you will not achieve it at all.
Good health, however, comes with a price tag.
It means sleeping as much as you can so that the body can repair itself. It means eating right—fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and fish. If you can afford organic, buy organic. Organic food contains all the vitamins and minerals intact. A good multi-vitamin supplement will also go a long way toward improving your health.
Get rid of the junk food. Most junk food contains vast amounts of sugar, salt and fat that cause all sorts of ugly things to happen in the body. That goes for processed foods as well. If you grow a third arm, do not say I did not say so.
Most of all, exercise. Keep your blood flowing throughout all parts of your body. The more you exercise, the more you will feel energetic to tackle bigger and better tasks.
4. Schedule Downtime
Every week I take one day to unplug from social media. That is, I take one day to avoid logging into my site, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and all other forms of online activity.
You might think that is crazy. In a sense, it is crazy.
Doing so, though, allows me to take stock of my life without the distraction of pings, whistles, bings, dings and dongs. Rather, I will sit quietly reading and meditating on my achievements from the past week.
Scheduling downtime is an art. I nearly fell off my chair recently when I had read that some European companies offer their employees unlimited vacation time. Can you imagine having two months off from work lying on a beach in Italy eating healthy meals while North Americans slave away late into the evening just to make a buck?
As humans, we need time away in order to recharge and stay sane.
Time away or downtime does not mean unproductive time, though.
I get my best ideas when I am waking up or doing absolutely nothing. I cannot say how many times a good idea has raced through my mind while shaving.
Downtime presents you with a great opportunity to look at your Action Plan to ensure you are meeting your milestones based on your Mission Statement.
5. Leave Room for Incidentals
Things happen in life. Sometimes life throws you circumstances that will make it seem as if there is no way you will achieve what you have set out to do.
And that is okay. That is life. You will need to leave room for incidentals.
If you have given yourself a timeline, it may be that you will need to extend the timeline as a means to accommodate surprises.
Again, life events play into this, too. The only thing you can do is ride it out and once it is all over, do your best to get back on track.
In other words, accept it and move on.
6. Never Give Up
If I could stress anything more than anything, it would be for you never to give up.
Always look to the goal. Always keep your Mission Statement at the tip of your tongue. Repeat it several times as a reminder of what you committed to when you wrote it. Review your Action Plan to see where you are. Every time you feel the urge to give up, shake it off. Go for a walk. Go for a run.
Push those insecurities from your mind. You have counted the cost. You knew it was not going to be easy. Yet, you went ahead with your Action Plan anyway. You did it because you knew it was what you wanted to do.
Forget about what people may think of you. Let them think what they will. Your job is to continue on that journey to success. Nothing will stop you from that.
Nothing will prevent you from achieving your dreams.
7. Keep God in the Picture
This last point may be different for everyone. For me it means all the difference between success and failure.
God is my center, as I know Jesus is his son. I involve God in everything I do. Whenever I create a Mission Statement and write an Action Plan, God is there with me to put it all together.
God’s words in Jeremiah 29:11 are always on my mind, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (NIV).
Everyone needs someone great to believe in. For me it is God.
He has my back.
One More Thing
After achieving success several times with this plan, you will ask yourself this question: What more is there?
The best answer I have is this: Share this knowledge with everyone you know so that others may have the opportunity to make their dreams come true.
Knowledge shared is knowledge earned.