Only 3% of Americans have written goals.
Only 1% of Americans rewrite their goals on a daily basis.
Giving yourself even five minutes per day to orient your life in the direction of your goals is the difference between success and average.
If you don’t give yourself time, every single day, to orient your life in the direction you want to go, then you will default to former habits and patterns.
Life gets busy.
Life is stressful.
It’s easy to forget what you really want.
It’s easy to disconnect from your purpose and priorities.
It’s easy to fall into autopilot and go through the motions.
It’s easy to watch several weeks or months go by and realize you haven’t made much progress on your goals.
It’s easy to let the little fundamentals slip.
It’s easy to default to consumption rather than organizing your life and environment for creation.
It’s easy to focus on the constraints of your circumstances rather than the power of your capabilities.
Distraction fuels the need for more distraction.
Addiction is an endless vacuum.
Indecision and inaction lead to a loss of confidence, motivation, and hope.
Success Is a Choice
Choosing to be successful isn’t a moral decision.
You can be a good person or a bad person and be focused on your goals.
You can be a good person and choose to be average.
It’s really your choice, the life you will live.
It’s your choice if you’re going to be happy.
It’s your choice if you’re going to be healthy.
It’s your choice if you’re going to be financially successful.
The decisions you make right now are a direct reflection of the person you will be in one, three, five, ten, and 20 years from now.
When you look at yourself in the mirror, you’re looking at your former selves’ choices, actions, and habits.
Staying the Course
It’s fundamentally impossible to stay on a straight course without continually checking in to see how you’re doing.
If you’re not reviewing your goals on a daily basis, then I can guarantee that your behavior and performance is suboptimal.
Without clarity of direction and purpose, behavior and motivation become erratic.
Without orienting yourself first thing in the morning with who you are and what you’re about, you will be going through the motions.
You’ll be disconnected from your purpose.
You’ll be disconnected in your relationships.
You’ll lack motivation and conviction.
You’ll allow low-level influences, activities, and actions to creep into your life.
On an occasional basis when triggered by something random in the environment, you’ll remember your goals and dreams.
You’ll feel a quick rush of excitement and enthusiasm to get back on track.
You may even engage in some powerful behaviors — like sending positive and helpful messages to key relationships, going to the gym, writing in your journal, or taking action toward a goal.
But unless you establish a lifestyle of reviewing, remembering, and engaging with your goals and purpose daily, you will make minimal progress.
In order to make extreme progress, you need momentum.
In order to get momentum, you need to be consistent.
Not just consistent, but you need to continually be getting better.
In order to get better, you need goals that you’re actively pushing toward. For example, many people go to the gym but have no goals. They are simply moving their body and not getting better.
In the book Turning Pro, Steven Pressfield said,
“Addictions embody repetition without progress.”
Doing something over and over may be how you develop a habit. But habits don’t guarantee success.
Habits, if unchecked, actually create apathy, boredom, and a lack of engagement. Habits can lead to mindlessness.
Consistency, not habits, is what you’re after. You want to consistently show up and push through your current level.
You want to get yourself focused and clear on what you want to achieve. You then need to fuel that focus by taking powerful and bold actions, daily, toward your goals.
As you take action toward your goals, your identity will change. You’ll quickly begin to see yourself as the person you intend to become.
Your personality will change.
Your expectations will change.
Your confidence will change.
Your subconscious will change.
Your results will change.
Your environment will change.
You’ll be able to produce results, easily, that once took enormous effort.
Your new normal will be beyond what your former selves’ dreams were.
Your standards for yourself and your flexibility and empathy toward others will improve.
Your appreciation for life will deepen. Your ability to feel and love will grow.
Your reasons for living will change. You’ll stop focusing on what you can get and simply try to be as helpful as you possibly can.
You’ll shift from consuming to creating.
You’ll stop focusing on your present circumstances and focus on the leverage you have to create new circumstances for yourself and others.
You’ll change your life more for the sake of others than for yourself. You’ll hold yourself to a higher standard so you can perform better work.
You’ll eat better because you can’t put regular fuel in a Ferrari.
Your goals will become bigger and longer term.
Confidence can be measured by how far out your goals are.
Most people are living day to day because they don’t have the confidence to see and believe in a bigger future.
Confidence can be earned, but it must be earned every single day.
You can create confidence with the choices you make, and you can lose confidence with the choices you make.
Your confidence reflects your self-trust.
The more you trust yourself, the more willing you will be to do things that are beyond your current capability.
The less you trust yourself, the less willing you will be to make decisions and commitments.
When was the last time you wrote your goals?
Did you write them down this morning?
Did you set yourself up last night for success, or were you numb in distractions?
Do you really love yourself?
Do you care about yourself?
If so, then why wouldn’t you become successful?
Why wouldn’t you create a better life for yourself?
Why wouldn’t you get clear on who you are, what you stand for, and what you want?
Why wouldn’t you crystallize that clarity and create the confidence to actually create a better future and life for yourself?
Why wouldn’t you upgrade your standards and let go of the low-level influences and choices holding you back?
Make the Decision
This is one choice that will influence all others.
Make the decision to start your day by writing your goals down.
Then do your best throughout the day to align your daily behaviors with your future dreams.
As you take daily steps toward your goals, your confidence will increase. As your confidence increases, your belief that you will succeed will grow.
Your identity will change.
Your environment will change.
Your brain will change.
You will change.
You will succeed.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy is an organizational psychologist and bestselling author of Willpower Doesn’t Work. His blogs have been read by over 100 million people and are featured on Forbes, Fortune, CNBC, Cheddar, Big Think, and many others. He is a regular contributor to Inc. and Psychology Today and from 2015-2018, he was the #1 writer, in the world, on Medium.com. He and his wife Lauren adopted three children through the foster system in February 2018 and, one month later, Lauren became pregnant with twins, who were born in December of 2018. They live in Orlando.
Image courtesy of Judit Peter.