We all are faced with how quickly time passes. What about those goals and resolutions from January 1st? Or maybe your goals go back farther― what about the goals you had last year, or those dreams you’ve held close for so long, yet haven’t taken steps to achieve? As I’ve said before, your reality is what you choose to accept as your reality.

If you really want a new reality, you must reject the notion that what is is what will always be… and start to take steps to change things!

Today I’m going to cover the basics of how to achieve your goals, starting from how to get yourself into an achievement mindset in the first place, and then guide you through how to clarify your goals and create an action plan. I believe in the power of self-awareness. Achieving your goals despite your past and present obstacles will help you become a healthier, happier, more fulfilled person. Here’s how to get there:

First, take responsibility for your goals.

To be successful, you must believe that no matter what you have been through― no matter your circumstances― you can reach your goals. You must take responsibility for whether you achieve results. Halfhearted attempts will get you halfway there (at best), and we’ve all heard Wayne Gretzky’s saying that “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” When your environment and situation are tough, it’s easy to blame; but it ultimately gets you nowhere. Instead, take it upon yourself to produce the results you want. Look around and see how your obstacles are an opportunity for growth, and recognize your responsibility to make the best of the life you’ve been given. You will find that acknowledging your own responsibility frees you to be confident and take action. You are not a victim! Enjoy renewed strength and freedom when you internalize the truth that change is up to you― you don’t have to wait for your situation to change for you!

Second, clarify your goals.

Don’t take the easy way out by declaring that your broad goal, like “I want to be rich!” is unattainable simply because it’s too wild. No, sit down and use a mix of creativity and focus to decide on a specific goal for yourself. Perhaps you can clarify that dream by setting a specific income goal for yourself. Likewise, if you want to change your physical environment, focus your “I just want to get out of here!” into a real, clarified goal, like “I want to be living in my own place six months from now.” See the difference?

Real goals are not pipe dreams― they should have laser-like focus.

Once you’ve determined your specific goal or goals, write it down in a place you will see it often.
Look at it. Make it known. This is called “setting your intention,” and is crucial to achieving your goals. That self-awareness of what you really want allows you to start making a plan for mastering that new, desired reality. It’s also important to share your goals with others, because this creates accountability. When others know your goals, they can support you, whether practically or emotionally. And when you’ve revealed your goals to others, you are more likely to stick with it because you know they are watching.

Third, create an action plan.

Think about your specific goal and all the steps you must take to reach it. Work backwards, from the point of success, all the way back to where you are now, in your current situation and environment. This creates a map of the steps you should take to get from here to there.

For instance, maybe your goal is to get out of debt. That can seem like a huge task. How can you break that up into steps? Make a timeline and set an end date for your success, even if it seems far down the road. Deadlines work wonders. Plan backwards from that deadline― what do you need to do each week or month to get there? When you’ve created an action plan for yourself, you don’t need to feel depressed or overshadowed by the weight of the goal. Instead, you are free to work on only the next step to getting there. Your action plan allows you to decide where your focus needs to be. Don’t forget to celebrate each successful step along the way!

I touched on this in Step 2, but it can be incredibly beneficial to have accountability as you work through the steps to achieving your goals. Find someone who shares the same goal, or even someone who has already accomplished it. Your goals are ultimately your responsibility, but it’s okay to ask for advice and support along the way. As you go step-by-step through your action plan, surround yourself with positive people who are also goal-setters.

Fourth, stay committed.

Remember how I told you to write down your goal? I meant it. Put it in a place where you will see it often, because it is far too easy to let your current circumstances pull you from your path. You must revisit your goal often to stay committed. This is about continuous personal improvement, one step at a time! There are no excuses. Only results. Remember that obstacles and failures do happen, but they are not the end of the journey. They are only setbacks. Stay the course.

Simply reading these steps will not gain you success. It takes your hard work and continued commitment from you to get to your new reality.

As I said before, taking responsibility for your own life is the first step. This brings you tremendous peace, because you know that you get to decide how your future unfolds. Creating a focused goal gives you a mission in life, which helps you leave behind your shadow self and experience true purpose. There is a purpose for your life, and recognizing that should bring you great joy and motivation to chase after it. That, again, is why it’s so important to create your personal action plan. Everyone’s action plan will look different, because it’s custom-made for you and your goals. What’s important is that you create a step-by-step map for how you plan to make your desired reality your actual reality. And finally, stick with it. I’ve found myself in the shadows too, and believe me, it can get better─ your life can change─ but you must remember that it takes work. It’s up to you to be the change in your own life.

Believe it: You can achieve your goals. No excuses.

To your Game Changing Success,