Is success merely a matter of chance? More often than not, those who seem to have all the luck have created their success by upping their opportunities. The best leaders are those who lead by example, and their track records tend to be filled with successes resulting directly from hard work and focus. Although talents and drive have their place in the accomplishment equation, don’t discount these five factors anyone can implement to increase their success:
- Spell out specifics – When working toward a goal, go into detail about what you want to accomplish. Having a definite, tangible end to reach leads to a higher rate of success than a vague idea. Are you more likely to improve your health by setting out to “eat right and exercise” or to “work out three times a week, eat 1,500 calories a day, and stop eating after 8 p.m.”? Definite boundaries help you gauge whether or not you’re actually approaching that goal.
- Be optimistic AND realistic – Making things happen takes hard work and positive thinking. While you should imagine your possibilities beyond your boundaries, remember to also be realistic. What will it take to reach that end goal? It will take tenacity and time, planning and persistence. Mapping out the journey in your mind first, including potential obstacles, will help you find the strength to push forward when discouragement comes.
- Challenge your willpower – Think of willpower and self-discipline like a muscle or a foreign language: use it or lose it! The more you exercise self-control, the stronger it grows, and the easier it becomes to do so. Flexing your willpower muscle can be as simple as choosing one healthy habit you’d rather not do, like working out daily or giving up a favorite indulgence, if only for a set amount of time (e.g. no dessert for a month). Will that simple sacrifice change your world? Not necessarily – but will the impact of setting an improving goal and accomplishing it make a difference? Absolutely! Conquering small challenges builds the confidence necessary to tackle major obstacles.
- Practice patience – Remember to be patient with yourself. Don’t throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater if you fall short early on. Chalk it up to experience and keep pursuing your goal with this added wisdom. Being able to step past setbacks with an eye fixed on the end prize is integral to long-term success.
- Break through your barriers – Improvement should be focused on bettering your best. Many of us impose false limits on our own possibilities, thinking that our intelligence, personality, or looks are set and unchangeable. However, research shows that fixed ability is a fallacy. Reach your fullest potential by embracing your ability to change and grow. When you focus on getting better as opposed to being good at something, then you’re able to enjoy the journey, not just the destination.
As you focus on how to increase what you can control, you’ll be able to increase your opportunities to succeed. By gaining into what you’ve done right – and wrong – in the past, you’ll be able to lead by example and inspire others to achieve past their self-imposed limits.