If you want to live a successful life, you first have to think about your definition of success. What do you want to achieve in life? Is it wealth? Friendship? A legacy that people will talk about long after your death?
Determine the purpose of your life
Have you ever seriously thought about the purpose of your life? What is the meaning of life and what is your role in it? If you haven’t already thought about it, this website may help you discover the purpose of your life.
Do you have a financial goal? Do you want to build a successful business or buy a nice house and a fancy car? Perhaps your goal is to add meaning to the lives of other people. If you are creative and smart, your goal may be to find solutions to problems that have not yet been solved.
Another goal for your life may be to make sure that you and your family are taken care of. Maybe you have other goals in life, or maybe you don’t have a goal and just live day to day.
If you want to think about the goals in your life, make sure you can think them over in a quiet place. Take your time and find a place where you can organize your thoughts. Go into nature or find a quiet, tidy place somewhere else. Use some paper and a pen to write down your thoughts. Turn off your computer or phone.
If you already have a goal in life, or if you want to know what others are aiming for, take the poll below before moving on to Tip #2.
2. Start close to yourself
Achieving your goals in life often starts close to yourself. Consider what you are good at and what you enjoy doing. Things you like to do are easier to sustain and give you more energy than things you do not feel passionate about. Thinking about what gives you energy will help you determine how you can become successful.
3. Search for your goal yourself
To discover your goal in life, it is best to search for it by yourself. You can let someone else help you, but in the end, it is your life!
Don’t stop! Learn something new every day. Even when you are done with traditional school, the school of life continues. New stages of life require adjustment, so continued learning is necessary. Stay curious about new ideas and new frameworks.
After setting your goal and reminding yourself about it regularly, you may find that your life goal changes over the years. That’s not a problem at all; it’s just part of life and learning. Perhaps your goal will shift from a material goal (a successful company, for example) to another life goal.
4. Think outside the box
Chances are you have been living for a long time in a fixed routine with fixed frameworks. Because of what you learned at school and at home, you tend to think in circles. It doesn’t hurt to occasionally think “outside the box”. Putting all obstacles aside and starting with a clean slate can be very refreshing. Use your imagination and intuition to clarify your goals.
If obstacles still arise in your thoughts, try to ask yourself where they come from. Is it the fear of the unknown? Is it because you have been disappointed about certain things in the past? Is it necessary to hold on to these experiences or fears, or can you obtain a fresh perspective on the matter?
5. Write down your goals
If you have thought carefully about your goal(s) and what you consider success, write it all down. A busy life and daily worries can dilute your plans and cause you to lose focus over time. Write your goals in a few short words or sentences on a sheet of paper and keep it in a place where it will be easy to find. If you still have a paper agenda, you can write your notes there. If you work with a digital agenda, set your goals as a recurring appointment in your calendar.
6. Get started
If you have a clear focus, get started. Don’t daydream. Don’t keep talking about your plans. Just start acting. If your plan is big and ambitious, make sure you cut it down into smaller steps that are clear and feasible.
Don’t let things happen to you. Take steps to reach your goal yourself.
Don’t get distracted by side issues. Sometimes you may worry about completely unimportant matters. Try to stay sharp and separate the minor issues from the main issue. Do you need all of your routines? Identify problems that require a lot of time and energy but don’t add much value to your life, then try to solve them as quickly as possible.
7. Ask for help from others
Trust yourself, but don’t overestimate your abilities. Determine what you are good at and what gives you the energy to continue. By sharing your plan with others, you may find the energy you need to keep going.
Listing what you are and aren’t good at can help you gather people around you who will complement you. You don’t want a group of people who are all good at the same thing you are, but who each have their own specialty that they are enthusiastic about. This applies not only to business goals but also to personal relationships.
Keep the peace and don’t fight with others. Be clear about the goals you want to achieve and how someone else can help. If one person cannot fully subscribe to your goal, it is better to ask for help from someone else who shares your goal.
Keep your appointments with others. Nothing is more annoying than someone who does not meet their appointments or delays them each and every time. It frustrates others and often leads to the end of a collaboration. Make sure your appointments are feasible and always communicate to others when you cannot fulfil a commitment.
8. Be positive and hold on!
Don’t feel bad if you fail to take a step towards your goal. Take some time to distance yourself from the failure and process your disappointment by doing something else or talking about it with others. Maybe they have experienced the same thing and can offer the solution to your problem.
It is not effective to blame others for your failures. Learn from your mistakes and try to find out what you could have done or what you still can do to make your plan work.
Don’t just give up on your plan. Make commitments to yourself and write down your goals (see Tip 5).
9. Work hard, but maintain balance
Without hard work, most goals are not achieved. But it’s also important to maintain balance in your life. When you keep on running, chances are you will burn out at any given moment. Consider including a rest day in your week: one day when you can distance yourself from your daily activities. This will help you recover your energy and gain new ideas. It will also give you the peace and space you need to reflect on your plans and goals.
Saying no can also ensure balance. Nowadays there is a lot going on and you can easily feel like you are missing out on opportunities if you don’t participate. Consider whether the things you are asked for are worth your time. After all, work isn’t a goal in itself.
If you have a family, think about the value of your relationships. Do you have children? What do you want to give them in life? How much time and energy can you spare for your family, and are you prepared to save part of your energy to invest in your family and other relationships?
10. Don’t always look at the successes of others
In a time when social media seems to be an indicator of success, it is best not to let your self-esteem be determined by the success of others. After all, on social media, usually only the most beautiful side of life is exposed: beautiful pictures and nice events. You rarely read on social media that someone has failed or that someone is depressed.
It can help to have a role model: someone who is further down the road to achieving the same goal in life. But don’t forget that this person also has his or her challenges in life, challenges that you may never hear about as an outsider. Therefore, looking at the successes of others can have a demotivating effect.
11. What if something goes wrong?
If your plan or a step towards your goal seems to fail, it can make you afraid or angry. Try counting to ten (or higher) and distancing yourself from what you are doing. If possible, sleep on it before taking further steps. The problem may look much easier to solve tomorrow. By distancing yourself, your view often becomes broader, making it easier to oversee the problem. Maybe the solution is closer than you thought!
If you are seized by fear because you cannot fully oversee your problem, ask yourself why you are feeling afraid. What is the worst thing that can happen and how big is the chance that it will happen? Discussing your concerns with someone else can often be very relieving. The other person may be able to look at your problems from a different angle. Fear is destructive and often leads you to make wrong decisions.
No clear goal in your life?
Many people don’t yet have a goal in life, so don’t feel bad if you are also having a hard time discovering your ultimate life goal. Challenge yourself to think about this some more!
Need help? Visit this website to learn how you can discover your life goal in seven days (Think One Week)!