Psychologists Tell Us How to Be Part of the 8% of People Who Always Reach Their Goals
According to studies, 92% of people don’t reach their goals. But at the same time, there are many examples of people who managed to become successful and we hear about them often. The secret of their success is in their ability to set clear goals. It’s the correct and clear goals that are the first step to success. In fact, it’s not difficult to do it. There are special methods that any of us, who want to be successful, should know about.
Bright Side wants to show you the methods that will help you become one of the successful 8% who always manage to accomplish everything they want.
The method of setting goals called SMART helps make your goals more clear, helps you find the right words for them, and helps you make them specific, understandable, and achievable.
This technique has 5 criteria:
Your goal should be specific, otherwise, how do you understand which actions you should take to reach it? Instead of ’start doing sports’ specify it by saying ’ start jogging in the mornings’ or ’join a gym.’
To be able to measure your success, quantify your goal as ’lose 5 lbs’ instead of simply ’lose weight.’
There is nothing wrong with dreaming big, but we set goals to achieve them, don’t we? That’s why instead of ’earn 5 times more’ change your goal to something more realistic like ’get a promotion at work and double my income.’
Your goal should match your plans and expectations. Let’s say that you want to meet a woman or a man who has the same interests as you do. How can you achieve this? There are actually many options. You can start by taking culinary courses, attending dance classes or going to the gym. If you set your priorities incorrectly, there is a high chance that you won’t reach your goal.
Your goals should have clear time limits. If you don’t set the goal to learn English through the B1 level, there is a high chance you’ll end up learning it randomly without reaching the desired result.
The system of Brian Tracy
This Canadian-American motivational coach teaches people to reach their goals with 12 steps. Following are his secrets to success:
- Get a burning desire to reach the goal. It will become your motivation on the way to your success.
- Convince yourself that the goal is achievable. If you don’t do this, you might simply give up when things seem hard.
- Write your goal down. Otherwise, it will just remain a dream.
- Write down the pros. You should make a list of benefits that you’ll receive after achieving your goal and re-read it regularly.
- Find the countdown point. You should have a clear picture of where you are starting and where the finish line is.
- Set a deadline. Define the exact time you would like to reach your goal.
- Make a list of possible obstacles. You should keep in mind all difficulties you might encounter on the way to success.
- Find out whether you need additional information. If yes, then find out where you can go to get it.
- Find people who can help you. It’s perfect when there are people you can rely on, isn’t it?
- Make a to-do list. It should be as detailed as possible.
- Visualize the result. It’s another tool that helps sustain high levels of motivation.
- Make a decision not to give up until you reach your goal.
The last point is the most important in any situation.
This method is used by psychologists to help their patients make difficult decisions. It’s also perfect for setting your own goals. The algorithm is simple — just answer 5 questions:
- What do I want to get?
- How am I going to get it?
- When am I going to get it?
- What can help me get it?
- What will happen when I reach the goal?
Let’s look at a specific example.
Let’s say you’ve decided to learn French. Set the following goals:
1. I want to learn French from zero to A2 level by myself.
Now let’s determine which specific steps you need to take.
2. In order to learn French I will:
- learn the alphabet and reading rules;
- find and choose the most suitable self-study book;
- accomplish one lesson with exercises from this book every day;
- start watching movies and TV series in French, start listening to French radio stations;
- find people with whom I can practice my new language skills.
Let’s set the time boundaries.
3. Learning French will take one year:
- the alphabet and reading rules will take 2 days;
- searching for a self-study book will take one day;
- accomplishing exercises and watching movies should be done daily for one year;
- the process of searching for a native speaker should be started 3 months after you start your self-study.
Let’s determine the things that can help us reach our goal. There can be outer resources like help from the outside, and inner resources, which are our own efforts.
4. For learning the language I have both outer and inner resources. My friend knows French and I can talk and communicate with her in French on social media. My inner resources are my drive and my propensity to learn languages.
Now let’s move to the final point, which is supposed to be the most important one because answering it will give you the motivation to move toward the desired result.
5. When I learn French, I will be able to go to France and study, and later find a job there.
An important detail in answering this question is that the answer should relate to you personally, not to other people. For example, answers like ’my mom will feel proud of me’ is not a good motivation, especially if it’s the only result you want to get and you don’t see any other personal benefits after reaching the goal.
Bonus: 3 qualities that distinguish successful people
Psychologists and experts agree that a certain set of personal characteristics helps people achieve their goals.
1. Their attitude toward failure is different.
Psychologist Angela Duckworth believes that the main quality uniting successful people is their ability to overcome failure and restore themselves quickly. We all fail sometimes, but only those who don’t give up reach their goals.
2. The lack of strong willpower and the ability to accept it
Adam Alter, a teacher from NYU, points out that thinking all successful people have strong willpower is wrong. We are all similar and successful people know that they are not perfect. Instead of fighting their curiosity and looking through all the notifications on their phone, they simply turn off the sound in order to not get distracted.
3. A special way of thinking
Psychologist Carol Dweck pointed out 2 types of thinking in the 1960s: flexible and fixed. Successful people have the first type of thinking, which means that they see themselves as the ones who are ready for change and personal growth.
We at Bright Side believe that we are all capable of motivating ourselves to reach success. How about you? Do you have your own method of achieving success that works as good as the SMART method or the method of Brian Tracy? Please share your secrets in the comments!
Preview photo credit The Devil Wears Prada / 20th Century Fox