Thursday, September 2, 2010

Achieving Goals

The ABCs of Achieving Your Life Goals

At the beginning of each year, many people enthusiastically set New Year resolutions. However come end of the year, they find that nothing much has been achieved. Year after year, history repeats itself. Why is this so?

Throughout our lives, we have dreams. A teenager dreams about becoming a movie star, a young adult dreams about making his first million by 26, a middle-aged lady dreams about setting up her own business, an elderly person dreams about getting a degree. However, it is a sad fact that many dreams remain unfulfilled, many goals remain unaccomplished. How can we change that?

In this article, let's return to basics and discuss the ABCs (in reverse sequence) of achieving your goals.

CLARITY (5Ws & 1H)

First of all, you have to know exactly what you really want to achieve. You must be very clear about your goal. A friend of mine said she would like to make a lot of money, so I asked how much a lot is; she couldn't give a figure. Another friend said he aspires to be a successful businessman, so I asked what type of business he would like to go into; he couldn't specify one.

Here's a question:

If you do not tell the taxi driver where exactly your destination is, can he drive you there? The same goes for goals. If you do not know specifically what you really want to achieve, you will not achieve, you will not know how to achieve, and nobody can help you to achieve.

Be as detailed and as specific about your goal as you can. Use the 5Ws and 1H concept that journalists use to help them write their news stories. Ask yourself the following questions:

• What: 
o What exactly do I want to achieve?
o What are my interests, talent, and area of expertise?
o What is important to me in life?

• Who: 
o Who can help or mentor me?
o Who are my potential customers and competitors?
o Who am I pursuing my goal for?

• Where: 
o Where should I start my business?
o Where can I pursue my degree or learn the skill?
o Where can I showcase and sell my talent?

• When 
o When must I start pursuing my goal?
o When must I achieve my goal?

• Why 
o Why do I want to achieve this goal? (A compelling reason will see you through obstacles and adversity)

• How 
o How can I achieve my goal?
o How can I become the person I want to be?
o How can I attract more customers and outperform my competitors?

The clearer you are about your goals and the more compelling the reasons for wanting to achieve them, the more likely you are going to succeed.


Ask any child what his ambition is and you are likely to hear similar answers like "I want to be: an Astronaut like Neil Armstrong, a Scientist like Albert Einstein, a Billionaire like Bill Gates, or a Superstar like Britney Spears etc."

When a child makes a statement like this, through his eyes, you can only see enthusiasm. He does not doubt his ability in achieving his ambition, he does not ask "what if I can't", and he does not think that his ambition is impossible to achieve. He has only a pure thought, "I want to be (fill in the blank)".

Why is it that children dare to dream big while many adults don't? Why is it that children say "I want to..." while many adults say "I like to but..."? Why is it that children think "I M Possible" while many adults think "IMPossible"? The answer lies in our environment and experiences, from which we have been conditioned to believe what we can and cannot do.

Get back to being a child in this regard. Be as bold as a child, be positive in your thoughts, believe that you can, and behave as if you have already achieved.

A child who wants to be a pilot will imagine that he is at the cockpit and "fly" around the house. A child who wants to be a singer will imagine that he is standing in front of a huge audience and sing and dance on his bed. If you want to be the CEO of your company, you need to behave like a CEO. This includes dressing, walking and speaking like a CEO.

When you believe that you can, you behave like you can. When you behave like you can, others will see that you can. Opportunities and resources will then come your way and you will be on your way to success.


It is often said that a good attitude (mindset) is more important than good aptitude (skills and ability). Many employers favour and hire individuals with good attitudes even though these people do not possess the best aptitude.

Do you possess the desired attitude for achieving your goal? This includes being willing to go the extra mile, working harder and longer hours if necessary, learning the required skills, sacrificing personal leisure time, and even working for free etc.? Are you prepared and determined to pay the necessary price in advance to achieve your goal? You must be, only then will you succeed.

Taking action is the next step. Without action, there will be no results. Taking action requires you to plan your work and work your plan. Be committed and dedicated towards your plan and your goal. Put it into your action plan to affirm your self-belief everyday. Put your goal and its reason on your computer desktop, in your car, on your mobile phone, in your wallet, and on the mirror to constantly remind and drive yourself.

Along the way, set sub-targets and reward yourself when you achieve them. For example, if you set a goal to achieve $1million in sales in one year, you can work on a quarterly target of $250,000 and reward yourself when it is achieved. Give yourself with a good holiday or buy yourself a good home entertainment system and enjoy your reward. Rewarding yourself will motivate you to continue on the challenging journey towards success.

Whether you are investing $200,000 in a business, leaving your $100,000-per-annum job to pursue your passion, or stepping on stage to perform for a 1,000-strong audience, taking the first step and moving out of your comfort zone usually requires much courage.

A crystal-clear goal, together with a constantly affirmed self-belief will help to strengthen your courage to pursue, to overcome, and to achieve.

(An article written in 2007)

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