We all have goals in life. For some, it's learning a creative skill we've always been interested in. For others, it's starting our own business from the ground up. No matter the varying degrees or difficulties of achieving your goal, each venture requires the same foundation in order to be successful.
Don't aim at the goal - aim past the goal
When I was in martial arts, I was required to break a board with my foot in order to advance to the next belt level. This test is put in place not to simply break the wood, but to master the concept of how you go about breaking it. If you aim at the wood, you'll just spend all day kicking at the same spot and tiring yourself out. Instead, you have to focus beyond the wood - beyond your goal - which allows you to carry your momentum forward.
Never set a goal as a wall
Some people make all-or-nothing statements such as, "I am going to lose 10 pounds." However, the problem with this false mindset is that it makes you focus solely on the results rather than the process (i.e. "If I achieve my goal, then I will be happy"). Instead, set your goals as an ongoing experience where you can experiment, have fun, learn, and most importantly, be yourself.
Don't waste your life overanalyzing or giving in to your fears. The best time to take action is now. Don't start tomorrow - start yesterday!
Be willing to make sacrifices
If you want to achieve your goals, you have to make sacrifices. That means you need to push yourself and do what's hard instead of what's convenient, comfortable, or immediately gratifying.
Make a plan
Don't stand around waiting for opportunities to come to you - you have to seek them out. Stop talking about all the things you want to do, and come up with an actual concrete plan of action. Plan your day with respect to your goals.
Ask for help
Turn to people who know what they're doing. Don't be ashamed, embarrassed, or uncomfortable. There are a lot of gracious people out there willing to help you learn. All you have to do is ask.
Learn to Endure Change and Setbacks
The path to success is rarely a straight line and you will encounter obstacles and setbacks and you will need to make changes to your plan. Learn to ENDURE the pain of change and setbacks. They are temporary unless you embrace them.
Don't lose heart
Some days, everything will seem to collapse on itself and nothing will go right. That's going to happen. Don't give up! By keeping enthusiasm in your heart and following through, you will accomplish what you set out to do.
For more tips on how to achieve (and surpass) your goals, check out this excellent article.