Photo Courtesy Will Folsom

Photo Courtesy Will Folsom

There is a mountain (or two) of advice out there on how you can most effectively reach your goals. Unfortunately, much of it will make it less likely that you will be successful. Here are 5 tips that have been proven to improve your odds.

Richard Wiseman, in his excellent book “59 Seconds,” details the results of several studies he conducted around motivation. What his studies (and those of others show) is that much motivational “wisdom” is just flat out wrong and counter-productive. The studies also show exactly what techniques will increase your chances of successfully reaching your goal. The more of these you employ, the better your chances:

1) Create a Step-by-Step Plan

Although this may seem obvious, I’m always surprised in my work with clients how many people don’t have a detailed, step-by-step plan and are paralyzed in the face of their goal. A step-by-step plan forces you to break your big goal into smaller pieces that you can accomplish today or this week. Those small goal accomplishments help build momentum, confidence, and belief.

2) Collaborate

Collaborating with others also improves your chances. Studies show that goals and obstacles don’t appear to be as big to us when we have a partner to work with. Even just telling others about your goal will make it more likely that you will succeed. I don’t know about you, but I’m much more comfortable breaking promises to myself than I am breaking promises I’ve made to others. Telling others about your goal and commitment will significantly improve your motivation and overall success.

3) Review the Benefits

Reviewing the benefits of reaching your goal on a daily, or at the very least, weekly, basis will regularly remind you why you set the goal in the first place. It will remind you why it is important and how your life will change in a positive way. This is different than imagining that you’ve already achieved your goal, which tends to trick your brain into thinking you have already arrived at your destination and don’t need to work as hard.

4) Reward Yourself

Acknowledging your accomplishments and rewarding yourself as you reach your milestones reminds you that you are making progress – that you are getting closer to your goal. It helps to silence the voices in your head that tell you that you can’t do it, and it helps to increase your motivation, momentum and confidence.

5) Tracking

Tracking is essential and ties in directly to creating a plan (#1), and rewarding yourself (#4). It also helps to keep you focused on your goal, and keeps it firmly set in your subconscious. Keeping your goal programmed into your subconscious activates what Dr. Maxwell Maltz called “your goal-seeking missile.” Activating your “goal-seeking missile” tells the brain that this goal is important and will cause it to keep working behind the scenes to find ways to help you reach your goal 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

These powerful goal achievement techniques work. The science shows it, and I have repeatedly proven them to myself as well. That is why I use them extensively (in addition to other effective techniques) in my goal achievement programs to help clients reach their personal and professional goals.

What other techniques do you use to help you reach your goals? Let me know!