Seven simple steps to achieving your goals

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Ian Usher and Richard Branson
by Ian Usher
14 August 2014

We all know that ‘goal setting’ is very important, but remember that setting your goal is only one of the steps on the journey to actually achieving it...

To set a goal you need to decide what it is that you want to accomplish and – this is the important bit – write it down. It’s as simple as that. You have set your goal by writing it down. Goal setting is easy.

But you want to achieve that goal, don’t you? Ah, now that takes a little more effort. That takes application and action.

Much has been written on the importance of goals and their relationship to success and happiness. As entrepreneurs, I am sure most, if not all of you already know the importance of taking action to achieve your goals.

But how many of us practice this on a daily basis?

To help keep me focused on achieving my goals, I follow a simple seven-step outline. Practice this and I believe it will help propel you towards the success to which you aspire:

1. Write down your goal

Get your goal out of your imagination and on to a piece of paper. This then becomes a statement of intent. The process of writing down your goal forces the subconscious to accept the commitment you have made to work towards your target.

It has been suggested that you should write your goal out not just once, but once every morning to keep you focused throughout each day.

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2. Set a deadline

Set a target date by which you will complete your goal.

If your goal is a larger, more complicated challenge, break it down into smaller steps and determine a deadline for each separate step. Put these important dates into your diary or computerised planner.

3. Work on your mindset

You can begin to work on your mindset long before you tackle your first goal. Develop a positive, “glass-half-full” approach to every aspect of your life, including your thoughts about how you will achieve your goals.

Read inspirational books, hang out with other motivated people, and believe in your own abilities. Work on your own attitude at every opportunity. This should remain a lifelong process.

4. Develop your skillset

It is very possible that a new goal will necessitate learning a new skill or will require some form of personal growth. Figure out what new knowledge you will need, or what new skills you will have to develop. Find the best source for gaining this knowledge and invest wisely to develop the assets you need.

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5. Take the first step

It is important not to procrastinate. The moment when real action is required is often when many goals fall by the wayside. You don’t need to wait until everything is just right. Get started now and make adjustments as you go along. Take that first step.

If you wait for the moment when everything is in perfect alignment you will never get started. This first step is always the hardest one to take. Once you have made a start the next step will be slightly easier, and the one after that easier again. Try to make your first step an easy one to commit to. This will encourage you to make it as soon as possible, so you quickly begin the journey towards achieving your goal.

6. Continue to completion

The path to the ultimate completion of your goal is unlikely to be a straight and simple one. Do not give up when you encounter the first or any subsequent obstacles.

Always keep the end result in focus, maintain your excitement and enthusiasm, and keep moving forward. See each difficulty you meet as an opportunity for learning and growth.

Commit to doing at least one thing every day that will move you a little closer towards your goal. Do not halt this forward progress until your end result has been achieved.

7. Reward yourself

When you complete your goal it is important to reward yourself for this achievement. Look back over your accomplishments and enjoy the satisfaction that success brings. This will train the subconscious mind to focus on activities that produce successful results.

Once you have enjoyed your reward, set your next goal, making it bigger and more challenging than the last.

We can all have goals, but to be a ‘top-achiever’ you must be focused. You must know, understand and follow these basic skills for setting and attaining your goals every time. I wish you good luck with whatever goals you set – may they be achieved in the finest of style.

Ian's book '7 Simple Steps to Goal Achieving Success' is available on Amazon.

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. This blog was originally published in 2014