Many of the books and cassette tapes (yes, we are old, we have cassette tapes) of the likes of Earl Nightingale, Bryan Tracy, Deepak Chopra and Brendon Burchard still line the shelves of our office. After years of study, we have concluded that their messages are, in essence, all the same, just packaged in different ways.
These experts use different analogies, different acronyms and tell different stories, but at the end of the day, they are saying the same thing. It all boils down to these four points:
1. Decide what you want.
Too many people wander through life aimlessly—moving from job to job and/or relationship to relationship with no plan and no direction. They bounce from thing to thing, just doing what comes next, never intentionally changing the direction of their lives. In the end, they often become angry and bitter because they haven’t accomplished what others have. The fact is that they have accomplished exactly what they planned to accomplish—nothing, and they have no one to blame but themselves.
The first step on the path to success is to decide exactly what success means for you. Write your goals down.
2. Develop a plan to achieve your goals.
If you have decided what you want and written it down, you are ahead of 90% of the population, but how are you going to get there? Goals, without a plan, are just dreams. Develop a detailed plan that includes each step on your path to success. Spell out exactly what you are going to do, by when you will do it and the resources you will use.
Identify the obstacles you will have to overcome. Develop a plan to get around, over or through them. There are always obstacles that stand between you and your goals. If not, why haven’t you achieved the goal already?
3. Execute your plan.
To achieve any meaningful goal, you have got to take action. Knowing your goals and developing a plan to achieve them is important, but without action, you’ll go nowhere. There is no substitute for hard, hard work. There never has been and there never will be. At the counter of success, there are no discounts. The price has to be paid, in full and in advance, every time. No exceptions.
4. Periodically reassess.
At least once a year, step back and reassess your goals and your plan to achieve them. Are your goals still the same? Do you still want the same things you wanted earlier? Are your goals achievable or do you need to adjust them? Is your plan working? Is it going to get you where you want to go? Make necessary adjustments. Recommit fully and get on with the execution.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editor.