Each of us has something we want to achieve in life. If you’re an entrepreneur, you want to build a successful business. Are you a college student? Perhaps you’re striving to get the score required for your dream job. When you’re in high school, it’s all about getting into the college of your dreams.
So would you like to know the secret formula for success in school, at work and in your personal life? Well, here it is
Successful people set goals and they develop and maintain the habits necessary to achieve them.
Success = Goals + Habits
Goals and habits are the two main variables in the success equation. While goals provide you with a sense of direction and help you focus, effective habits give you the mental discipline to reach your goals. If either variable is missing, the success equation simply doesn’t add up. Conversely, when you improve your goal setting skills and form good habits, success levels soar.
Here’s a closer look at each variable in the success equation.
Goals: The X Factor
Goals are consciously-defined targets that keep you focused on your long-term vision for success and provide motivation to achieve it. Well-defined goals identify an ideal end-state. Experts recommend setting SMART goals that are:
Specific – an effective goal targets a defined area for improvement.
Measurable – an effective goal is quantified so that progress can be observed and measured
Achievable – an effective goal is reasonable (i.e., the efforts, time and other costs to reach the goal are achievable).
Realistic – an effective goal represents an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work.
Time-bound – an effective goal specifies when the necessary actions will be taken and when the result(s) will be achieved.
Every SMART goal requires a detailed action plan that provides the framework to achieve it, including the specific tasks that must be completed, associated timeline and the required resources.
Habits: The Y Factor
A habit is a pattern of behavior that becomes a person’s “go to” or default response to a situation. In other words, a habit is a behavior you perform without conscious thought. Experts tell us that more than 80% of our behavior is unconscious (e.g., habit). Therefore, the success formula requires that you not only set effective goals, but that you consciously develop and maintain supportive habits that help to drive their achievement.
Why Habits Count in Achieving Success
Some habits are positive, such as staying organized at the office. Others are negative, like procrastinating when it’s time to write your term paper. When you’re under stress, habitual behaviors assert themselves much more intensively than they do when you’re feeling calm and in control. So, by cultivating good habits and breaking bad ones, you’re more likely to stay on track to meet your goals when things don’t go as planned.
Developing a new habit or breaking a negative one requires the deliberate, consistent practice of a new behavior in place of an old one, until the new behavior becomes your default response. Most experts say that it takes about 21 days to build a new habit or break an old one.
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