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Success isn’t something that just happens to people. In fact, most people who succeed did so by understanding their situation, setting specific goals, and working to turn their vision into reality.  With that in mind, let’s take a look at how you can set yourself up for success.

Understanding Your Position

Understanding where you’re at and what your options are is one of the most challenging parts of getting ready to succeed. Quite frankly, most people just don’t know what opportunities they have and how to take advantage of those. Fortunately, there are a few strategies that apply to anything you’re trying to accomplish.

First, determine what your end goal is. This can be as distant as retiring comfortably or as immediate as doing an excellent job at work this week. It’s okay to have something challenging here as long as you know, when you set your goals, that you can achieve it.

Next, identify what’s needed to accomplish that goal. This could be saving a certain amount of money, completing your current assignment, or otherwise making progress.

Finally, determine what you’re lacking. To reach your goals, you may need to get more education, obtain supplies, find a different job, or start looking in new places. This is by far the most important step – once you know what you need to succeed, you’ll be in a much better position to create a plan and do something about it.

Setting The Right Goals

The best goals aren’t as simple as “I want to retire wealthy.” Instead, they follow a few fundamental principles:

  • Motivating: A good goal is one that will motivate you. Be sure to write down why your goal matters when you set it.
  • SMART: This is an acronym that stands for “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.” In short, your goal should be clear about what it is and how you’ll determine whether you’ve reached it or not.
  • Written: It’s always better to write down your goals. If they’re stuck in your head, they become intangible and easier to forget.

As long as you keep these principles in mind, you’ll be able to set the right goals – whatever they may be.

Managing Your Time

Always try to accomplish the hardest task of the day first. Once it’s done, it won’t be hanging over your head anymore, and you can turn your attention to lesser matters. Doing this also helps to improve your mood – when you’ve already accomplished something difficult, every lesser challenge feels that much better in comparison.

(The alternative – which is that the day gets harder and harder as it goes, is not ideal. That tends to lead towards dreading success, rather than striving for it.)

Similarly, try to avoid multi-tasking. You may have many things to do, but that doesn’t mean you should try to get all of them done at once. Focusing on just one job at a time makes it far easier to get them done.

Finally, stick to your schedule. It’s easy to say “I’ll work just a little bit longer,” but you’re not going to succeed if you forget to have some balance in your life. Allot time for exercising, connecting with people, cooking, or whatever else you have fun doing.

Preparing For Problems

Things are going to go wrong on your path to success – it’s better to accept that now and start planning for it. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help ensure that your problems won’t grow too big to overcome.

First, make sure you have a good financial cushion. This should be proportional to the size of your goal. If you’re just trying to meet people at a bar, have enough money to pay for several nights out. If you’re trying to improve your education, get enough to pay your bills and ensure you can keep learning even if you lose your job for a time.

Next, make sure you have some flexibility in your options. You shouldn’t place all of your bets on one strategy – if it falls through, and something inevitably will, having a fallback means you can keep working towards your goal.

Finally, be positive about yourself. Sometimes, all you can do is take a small step forward – but as long as you are moving forward, you’re on the right track. Try writing down positive messages about how you work towards success each day.

Taking Care Of Yourself

It’s always harder to succeed when you’re tired, hungry, and worried about your health. Fortunately, taking care of yourself is easy once it becomes a habit.

Start with a light, easy-to-digest breakfast. You don’t want anything too heavy since that will only slow you down as your body processes it. Instead, look for fruits, oatmeal, Greek yogurt, or whole-grain cereal. Your goal here should be to get a good balance of filling foods, protein (for energy), and antioxidants (to boost your immune system).

As you move on through your day, try to stay healthy and active. If you’re stuck at a desk, look for creative alternatives that can keep you moving while still letting you get things done. Consider the following:

  • Putting a small treadmill at a standing desk so you can ‘walk’ for much of the day
  • Transforming sit-down meetings in boardrooms to walking meetings where your group moves around the block
  • Performing “deskercises” whenever you have a few minutes free

You don’t have to do this alone, either. Many insurance companies are willing to give discounts to businesses whose employees meet certain fitness goals – so if you have employer-provided insurance, the potential for savings could lead to your entire workplace getting healthier.

Tying It All Together

Success doesn’t come from doing one thing right – it comes from holistically approaching your life and striving to improve every part of it. That means taking care of yourself, getting ready for problems before they happen, properly managing your time, and taking an honest look at where you’re at and what you need to do.

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