What determines success? More than anything else, success seems to rely heavily on self-motivation. Those who put every second into doing whatever it is they want to do seem to achieve greatness more often than not, which means success isn’t necessarily determined by talent. Knowing that you need to drive yourself to greatness is one thing, but actually applying what you know in life is another thing entirely.
So how do you do it?
Truth be told, you need to first decide what will really make you feel accomplished in life. For some, marriage is the goal. For a number of us, we just need kids in our lives. Many of us dream of that white picket fence. What about fame and fortune? Changing the world? Success means different things to different people, but many people set the bar too high and fail to achieve whatever it is they set out to do. That itself can be the biggest impediment to success.
- Make Daily Goals. If you dream of greatness, maybe you can make it happen. Maybe you can’t. Either way you need to take it one step at a time. Don’t think “I’m gonna write the next great American novel” and then expect it will happen tomorrow. Write a page today, a page the next day, and a page the day after that. Small goals will let you achieve the larger goals faster than anything else.
- Every Day. If you make daily goals, but don’t put in the effort to complete them every day, then you’ll never make it. Once you make a plan, stick to it. Sometimes that means accepting that you can’t do everything at once. Don’t give yourself a hundred small tasks to complete, because you’ll only accomplish half of what you set out to do. Be sure to keep your goals realistic.
- Exercise. This is one of the most important steps to take. Get out of bed, go for a run, bike ride, or long hike, and then go home to jump in the shower. If you’re not feeling energized or refreshed, then you’ll never feel like checking off the items on your daily list. If you fail to exercise even a little each and every day, then you absolutely will not motivate yourself. You need to feel human.
Try telling yourself you’re only going to go for a five minute walk down the street. It’s a lot easier for your mind to process going outside for five minutes than for two hours, but you’ll always exercise for longer than five minutes. That’s why each task needs to be bite-sized. You can (and usually will) always do more.
- Cook. If one item on your daily checklist is exercise, then make sure the next is nutrition. Not only should you attempt to cut back on sugar and alcohol, but you should make sure to eat only lean meats, fish, and add plenty of fruits and veggies to your diet. A fit body means a fit mind. Doing it yourself will help more than you think.
- Reevaluate. Once a month, revise your daily checklists. Are you getting things done? Figure out why or why not. You might be trying to do too little. You might be trying to do too much. There’s always room for improvement.