This is the question I've been looking at for the last few days:
"What will it take to get from where you are, to where you want to be?"
The interesting thing is, someone is already there. And someone is closer to being there than you are. And someone is not near as close to making it there as you are.
We are all at a different place in our goals, and working toward them in different ways and at different paces.
Kinda puts things in perspective, doesn't it?
I usually advise people to only compare their success or failure against their own progress. Not against the progress (or success) of others. That said, it pays to get to know people who have gone before you on the same path and learn about their "steps to success". How did they get there? What did it take, and how long did it take? The answer will likely be different in every success story, but there is always something to learn from those who have achieved what we hope to achieve ourselves...
Analyze Your Own History of Success & Failure
In addition to learning from others, one of the things that has worked best for me is to learn from my own mistakes & achievements. What have I accomplished in my life, and how did I do that? What have I failed miserably at - and why?
Our own "steps to success" often lie right there in those answers.
Where I Am -vs- Where I Want To Be
I'm in a unique position. Unique to me anyway. As I was analyzing this question I realized that I can easily achieve ALL of my current goals in 12-18 months, tops.
It wasn't always that way, of course. I can remember a time when my goals and ideas seemed IMPOSSIBLE from where I was sitting. Unrealistic, even.
And gosh, I remember it well...
I won't bore you with the gory details of my house being a wreck, bouncing checks, having zero credit, struggling to put food on the table, etc, etc, etc. But I will tell you that it was HARD. I can remember sitting in in the middle of all that - with two young children, even - wondering how in the world I would ever get out of the hole (much less get ahead), have a home of my own - or just get my life together, period.
It seemed to me that most people had it so much easier than I did.
Part of that was true. SOME people did have it easier than I did. Some had it much harder. And as I examined those who seemed to have it so easy, I began to realize they had their own troubles.
No one is exactly where they want to be at any given time. We are all moving, sometimes forward and sometimes not. We all want more, better, bigger... We are all at our own place on those steps to success.
How I Got From There To Here
As I was giving this question some thought, I looked back over my own path. Getting from there, to where I am in my life now, seems like it took an eternity.
Admittedly it did take me longer than it may have for others, given certain circumstances in my life (that I wouldn't take back for anything). Being a single mother, for example, or taking care of my grandmother for two years.
But really, it wasn't that long. And it wasn't that bad. And I DID do it.
I now have a successful business, financial security, a great credit score, my own beautiful home, wonderful friends, and two incredible children who are practically raised. I travel as much as I please, have a flexible schedule, and can afford all the simple luxuries I had to do without for so much of my life.
What more could I ask for? ...
Simple Steps to Success
As I said above, no one is exactly where they want to be. And that includes me. There are several things I would like to achieve. Many of which I wish I had already done by now. But hey - we are where we are, and that's where we have to start.
I mentioned being in a great position - where I can easily achieve all of my current goals in as little as 12-18 months. That realization alone was HUGE. My goals no longer seemed so far out, or near impossible.
And I didn't happen into that position by accident, or by luck. I got myself here - every single (grueling, doubting) step of the way.
As I continued pondering this question, I was forced to answer the obvious: exactly where do I want to be, and what do I want to achieve - specifically? It's easy to say I want to make more money, be less stressed, travel more, yada yada yada.
Most of the things we say we want are entirely too general, with no "HOW" tied in and no specific milestones to work toward. And without milestones or specific goals, how in the world will you even know that you achieved your success??
Earlier this morning I was reading Leo Babauta's ZenHabits blog. In the last 6 years he has quit smoking, lost 70 pounds, quit his job and become a successful blogger and author. By the way, he has six children and a wife.
I'm not sure exactly how long it took him to achieve each of those goals (and many more I didn't mention), but in my opinion that's an awesome accomplishment in such a short time! Leo seriously inspires me...
Six months, six years - how long it takes doesn't really matter. The truth is, you can do absolutely nothing and stay exactly where you are (or just let life happen and end up wherever you do). Trust me, I've tested that. LOL.
Whatever your goal, if it matters enough to you, the timeline is irrelevant. If HERE is not a happy place, then THERE should be your ultimate all-consuming goal.
Maybe you want to be thinner or healthier. One year from now you can be just that, or you can still be wanting it. Maybe you want to be a published author, or a successful blogger. Again, one year from now you can find yourself exactly there. Or you can find yourself sitting in the exact same place, wanting the exact same thing.
Ask yourself: where do I want to be one year from now? What do I want my life to look like, specifically?
The difference between people who achieve goals, and people who don't, is simple: people who achieve goals are taking consistent and intentional steps toward them. They made their goals (or desires) a priority.
Obvious, right? Sure. We've all heard it before. And while it sounds great on paper (or on the screen), it's "easier said than done". Or is it?
How hard is it really to set aside a specific amount of time to work toward your greatest desires? We set aside time for all sorts of things, intentionally or unintentionally. Getting intentional is the key. Once you know *exactly* what you want to do, you have to make it a point to just DO it.
I took a long hard look at my schedule and my task list yesterday. There were plenty of things throughout my day that did not have a direct impact on my highest priorities. I made the decision to ditch two of them and do a high impact cardio workout instead. Those two things were important, mind you - but they didn't trump my desire to get in shape inside of the next year.
Nothing is going to happen overnight. Even if it did, you would miss out on the journey - and every single step to success (slow as it seems sometimes) is important in preparing you for that success. Looking back at myself 10 years ago, had you dropped everything I have now in my lap then... I wouldn't have even known what to do with it. I would have screwed it all up royally - I'm sure of it.
Make a decision today about what you want, get committed to it, and start taking the steps toward that goal. One step at a time. One day at a time. No matter how far away it seems from "HERE". (We're all "here". You're not alone.)
5 Simple Steps to Success
- Decide exactly what you want to achieve.
- Determine how long it will take you to achieve it.
- Note what steps you need to take to get there.
- Figure out what you can replace or let go of to make time for these steps.
- DO the steps.
Everything you need to achieve your goals, is already inside of you. You have what it takes to do anything, and change anything you please. Decide what you want to change, what you want to achieve, and get out there and do it! One day at a time.
Go be a success story!