“Top 5 traits you need to be successful”“What every successful person has done”“The one secret to becoming the most successful unicorn ever”
We come across headlines like the one above often. Ok, maybe not the last one, but I have seen some titles that have come pretty close to that. They promise to provide us the tricks and tips we need to become successful.
Most of the time, it’s all the same content that we read before:
-Get up at the crack of dawn (apparently, no night owl has ever been successful)
-No matter what, you must exercise first thing in the morning (Enjoy exercising in the afternoon, you’re screwed)
I have read so many of these types of articles that I know what’s going to be the article already. Yet, I still click on the article. Instead of going out there and doing what I know I need to do to be successful, I’m clicking on an article full of generic tricks to be “successful.”
These articles can be helpful if you want an unspecific guide that mostly uses business gurus as examples for what success means, but you need something more. What you need is a guide that asks the right questions that will lead you to habits and action steps that will get you where you need to be.
Now, let’s get started!
Zone in on your most important areas of life
There are a ton of worthy goals to accomplish. If most of us had to keep dividing our attention and energy between all of our goals, we would never accomplish anything. We need to find out which goals to prioritize. Although there are many ways to prioritize, here’s what has worked for me.
1. Know what you value in life
2. Putting your goals into categories
3. Rank your categories and goals
4. Question if your ranking matches up to what you believe you value
5. If not, change your goals so they match with your values
Learn what success looks like
For some, success means having a balanced life between family, career, and leisure. In contrast, another may view success as having a great relationship with his/her family and having money left over at the end of the month. The main issue is we want to be successful in different parts of lives, and success looks different for each of them.
-Successful family life = Spending quality time with your family
-Successful academic life = Reaching certain GPA and retaining useful information
-Successful career life = Landing a job/internship
Next, you should create your own criteria. It doesn’t have to be specific as long as fulfilling that criteria mean you feel good about your life. Then, make sure that you understand why these criteria will help you lead the successful life you want.
For instance, someone may believe that having a successful social life means having a great relationship with his/her friends. So the criteria to be successful for that person’s social life would be fostering a great relationship with his/her friends. For another, the criteria for a successful social life could be having a great relationship with friends, having a mix of strong and weak relationships, and meeting new people.
After selecting your goals and defining what accomplishing them is, it’s time for the next step.
What are you willing to sacrifice?
This is a more intense way of asking what resources are you going to use to reach your desired point. Here are some of the most common resources:
All of your goals are going to use up some of your resources. Problems start when you have a lot of goals and a limited amount of resources. Eventually, you have to choose what’s most important or else it will be chosen for you. Not only that, but we often overestimate how much time, money, and skills we will give to our goals.
Finally, we are on to the last step.
Discover the methods work best for you
This step always comes with a lot of trial and error because what might work for some other goal may not work out for the next. The best way is to think back to the first two steps: find out what success means to you and what you will give up. From there, you know if you closer to your goals using your method, and you have a realistic sense of what you are willing to do to get what you want.
Some questions to ask:
1. Have you had any goal that was similar to this one?
2. Is this long-term, mid-term, or short-term?
3. Do you need to break it up into action steps?
Favorite Course of Action:
1. Select top goals
2. Break each into action steps
3. Set daily schedule (working toward your goal each day is better than doing it all at once and burning out)
4. If it’s working, keep doing it
5. If it’s not working, make some changes to your action steps
Wrapping it up
Once you go through those 4 steps, you should have a better understanding of what you want to achieve and how to do it. I listed out the methods that I have seen work well for others, but we each need to play around with different paths that work best for us!