We all want to be successful in our goals and it’s these goals that put meaning into our lives – give us something to strive for and help better ourselves. But have you ever tried to reach a big goal with giving up as the end? Have you started working towards your goal but over time felt that it’s just too high a mountain to climb – how are you ever going to reach the top? Have you ever experienced the feeling that you’ve spent so long trying to achieve your goal but felt you’ve got nowhere with it?
If this is you then you’re not alone. As humans, we are built to naturally see the problems and easily punish ourselves for bad behaviour. Poor performances are quickly condemned in our minds and guilt can rise to the surface. Our mindsets can bring us down when we feel we’ve failed and this usually results in giving up on dreams and goals.
So what is the secret to achieving these goals? Successful people make huge achievements all the time so how do they do it? What makes them so different?
Perspective and Mindset
Many people may put the success of others down to luck or a natural talent that allows them to excel at what they want to achieve. Yes, this can be the case but most of the time it is down to a particular mindset and way of looking at their goals as a whole.
Take Thomas Edison, the American businessman who invented the lightbulb. It took Edison almost 10,000 attempts to create a lightbulb – that’s a huge amount of ‘failures’ before finally finding success. But in response to his repeated failures he said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
In other words, he took his failures and turned them into successes because his perspective was focused on achieving rather than failing. It’s quite clear he had a mindset and positive perspective that allowed him to celebrate those small steps and see them as achievements.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s very easy for us to put ourselves down for small mistakes and failures. What about our small successes? Well the irony of this is that although we easily feel negative about failing, we almost never celebrate our successes either and this is where the magic lies.
Celebrate Small Wins
The key to success is realising that our big goals aren’t going to happen overnight, in the next week or maybe even the next year but this is okay. We tend to focus on the end goals rather than the small and significant steps we take to get us to that goal.
This is why it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate small wins. The problem with not doing this is we end up diminishing our motivation and motivation is what keeps us on the right path and gives us the strength to soldier on to the top of the mountain.
Demotivation usually comes because we are unsure of how far we are to our goals. We sometimes blindly believe that the goal is still so far away when it could actually be just around the corner – something we will never know if we give up.
It’s therefore important to make sure you celebrate your small goals along the way. Acknowledging these sparks the reward circuitry of our brains and releases chemicals that gives us the feeling of pride, giving us the feel-good and happiness factor and makes us want to go further towards our next achievement.
Appreciation is Key
Appreciation can sometimes be played down in life and we tend to forget to appreciate what we’ve done and what we have. Appreciating our small wins and the small steps we take can be the difference between failing and succeeding. Lack of appreciation and gratefulness can lead us down the slippery slope of not being able to see the importance of our small successes. Celebrating the small stuff is us acknowledging that we are well on our way to achievement – in fact we are achieving all the time and it’s a myth that we are only successful once we’ve reached that elusive goal.
Creating Successful Habits
Successful habits equal success. We all know creating and changing habits can be hard as our minds find it difficult to adapt to new routines but acknowledging and celebrating the small wins are how you help yourself establish the habits you need and to keep you going. Our brains need reinforcement so allowing yourself to be rewarded will develop an ‘addiction to progress’ that will cause your brain to want to carry on to the next steps.
Acknowledge the Importance of the Present Moment
So what is the secret to a successful habit? It’s all about understanding the importance of the present moment. We tend to take the present moment for granted – it seems insignificant and we believe the little things we do in the moment aren’t changing us.
You must invest in the small things over a long period of time and understand that you only have the moment you are in and although these moments seem insignificant when determining whether you succeed or fail at something, it is the combination of moments over time that achieve the big things.
For example, say you want to learn a whole new subject. Reading 10 pages of a book today on this new subject will not significantly raise your knowledge and maybe not even 10 pages tomorrow and 10 pages the next day. However, it’s the combination of all these moments of reading 10 pages a day that will eventually allow you to fully learn the new subject. In other words, reading those 10 pages a day may seem insignificant in the moment but they are all important in the steps towards achieving your goal.
5 Tips On Achieving Success
With all this in mind, it is the small steps we take that need to be acknowledged and appreciated for what they are. Motivation is a huge factor of whether or not we succeed and being able to reward ourselves and celebrate small wins is the key.
- Break down large goals into smaller goals – You don’t want to focus on the bigger picture as tempting as that can be. Make sure you create small, achievable goals that will allow you to see your progress more clearly.
- Reward yourself with achieving small goals – Think about what you enjoy the most and do this each time you complete a step. This cold be anything from treating yourself to your favourite coffee, chocolate or even a trip somewhere. Having something to look forward to trains the brain into creating motivation.
- Don’t put pressure on yourself – Putting a deadline on your goals can lead to potential feelings of failure. Be relaxed with your time limits and this will increase your happiness and motivation.
- Track your progress – Writing down or tracking your progress will remind you of how far you’ve come in achieving your goal. Sometimes we can give up because we are unaware of how close we are to success and forget how much we’ve done. Write down all the small wins – seeing them written down can even be a reward in itself!
- Change your perspective – Sometimes when we focus too much on the end goal, it can seem too far away to get to. Try thinking of it, not as climbing a huge mountain, but descending one with perhaps a few nice restaurants (rewards) to stop off at and relax on the way down – this way you can visualise getting there a lot easier!