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  • Writer's pictureCarter Cote

How do Successful People Achieve their Goals?

Updated: Aug 7, 2019

Think about the most successful people you’ve ever thought of. Who comes to mind? Now what do all of these people have in common. They work hard right? They have overcome adversity right? People that found success in their lives all have similar factors that go into dictating that success.

This was actually taken as I was on my way to take the SAT, feeling confident about my chances to get a high score. I was actually vlogging the ride there.

I have researched the proper keys to goal-setting and goal-reaching for years, reading from books that discuss the key factors of successful people in addition to analyzing studies conducted by psychologists since I was 13 years old. Because of the numerous authors, entrepreneurs and psychologists that I have learned from, there are three specific contributors to success that I would like to share with you, and they are also three attributes that I personally apply to my everyday life and I have continually found success in reaching my goals. I wrote about this desire for reaching goals in my reflection on 2016, which you can also find on my page.

The first step to reaching success in your life, regardless of what facet of life that you desire improvement in, is to list your goals. We all have goals for ourselves, whether it's academic goals, goals in our respective sport, or career goals. It’s very important that we write these goals down and make a list of all of the things that we want to achieve. When you write your goals down, you make a physical commitment to achieving them, rather than having them as thoughts in your head. Writing your goals down gives you more of a chance to turn those goals from simply your desires to your reality. According to a study conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, an individual is 42% more likely to achieve their goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis, end quote. Paraphrasing author Mary Morrissey of Huffington Post, she states that if you only THINK about your goals or dreams, you’re only using the right hemisphere of your brain, which is the imaginative center. However, writing it down allows you to tap into the power of your left hemisphere, which is logic based. As seen by Matthews’ study, the simple act of writing down your dreams and goals ignites an entirely new dimension of consciousness, ideas and productivity to the powerhouse that is your subconscious mind.

It is very important to take action every single day to get you closer to achieving your goals. Every single day, you must be taking actions, regardless of how small these actions are. It’s important to understand that even though you have the most colossal goals possible, breaking it down into steps that you take day-by-day will ensure that you are not overwhelmed in achieving that said goal. It’s important to stay on top of your goals in order to ensure that you remain focused on achieving them. Otherwise, it’s very easy to lose site of them.

Having the Proper Mindset

Having the mindset to reach your goals starts with your ability to overcome adversity and to persevere despite the challenges presented to you. In order to find success in anything in life (this could be your job, in your team sport, in your extracurriculars, or in school), it is important to develop your grit. So what is grit? According to psychologist Angela Duckworth, grit means to have stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it's a marathon, not a sprint. There are always unexpected challenges that an individual will face in their lifetime, but one cannot overcome conflicts if they do not learn to persevere.

It is important to embrace stepping out of your comfort zone. Upon my research for my topic, one quote that resonated with me the most was a quote by American author Neale Donald Walsch where he says “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” So what does that mean? Simply put, everybody hesitates to take some sort of action out of fear of failure. But in fact, making the moves necessary to accomplish your goals can show you that you are more capable than you think. To some extent we are all scared of uncertainty in order to take risks. Maybe it’s to go after your lifelong dream. Maybe it’s asking somebody out. Maybe it’s to take a public speaking course. Whatever it is, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and go for it, because just as I have found through my endeavors, and what I believe you will find too, is that we are capable of accomplishing way more than we think we can.

The importance of Self-Discipline.

Self-discipline can go a long way in terms of improving the efficiency of individual’s use of their time. Author Karl Perera, who wrote a book about developing self esteem, says that quote self discipline is a vital characteristic of successful people. Self discipline can be developed if you hold yourself accountable to being consistent, doing your best, and practicing moderation. In addition, those who practice self discipline make level-headed decisions and don’t let impulses or feelings dictate their choices.

So how does one develop self-discipline? Entrepreneur Deep Patel lays out the entire process in his book The 11 Principles of Success. It starts with identifying your weaknesses and acknowledge your shortcomings, whatever they are. If you own up to your flaws, you can work to overcome them, but admitting that they exist is the initial step to doing so. And then, work on reducing the urge to succumb to temptations by learning to say “No,” or learning to practice moderation. Part of self-discipline has to do with our failures. We all have our ups and downs, successes and failures and the key is to continue to move forward despite the obstacle. If you fail, it’s ok! Don’t let yourself feel guilt, anger or frustration because at the end of the day this will only drag you further down and stop further progress. Learn from your mistakes and forgive yourself. Then, get back to doing what you do and refocus on your goals.

Tracking your goals, having the proper mindset, and having self-discipline are the key factors that allow an individual to find success in accomplishing their goals. I hope that you will consider these strategies so that you can achieve all of your goals, just like I have.

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