All that man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts.
– James Allen, As A Man Thinketh
Sometimes, if feels like it’s impossible to achieve your goals.
Whether it’s the busyness of life or the difficulty of the goals — there’s always a reason why we aren’t accomplishing what we wish we were.
That’s why I came up with a process process that can help you change this pattern and create a system that works for achieving goals.
How I Learned To Accomplish Anything (My Story)
Before I get into how you can adopt a mindset for achieving goals, I want to share with you how I do it.
It’s actually very difficult for me to achieve my goals and it always has been.
But even though achieving goals is typically hard for me and doesn’t come naturally, I almost always accomplish them.
The reason is because I believe I will accomplish my goals.
Growing up, my dad told me I could do and accomplish absolutely anything I wanted to, no matter what anyone told me. He told me this over and over as a child and growing up. Whether it was when I wanted to become an actress or a Supreme Court justice — it didn’t matter. I was always encouraged to pursue whatever I put my mind to.
This sounds simple, but it’s actually very powerful.
That’s why I wrote this post – to show you how you can do it, too.
It’s only because of my will power, commitment, and mindset that I ever accomplish anything. It’s not skill or talent. I know some people have the skill and talent, but for me, it’s my mindset.
And in case you’re not convinced, here are four examples of when it’s been a huge struggle for me to accomplish my goals but because of my will power and persistence, I did achieve them.
Example #1 (College): I scored really low on the ACT exam and only got into a few colleges, none of which were my top choices except for the one I went to, which was where my dad went – Wittenberg University. People make jokes about other people not getting into the schools I didn’t get into. The most frustrating part for me was knowing that I would do well, yet not being given a chance. So, I went to Wittenberg.
Example #2 (Law School): I didn’t get into the law school I wanted to. In fact, I only got into one law school – Dayton University School of Law. I even had an undergrad professor tell me “maybe that was a sign I wasn’t cut out for law school.” I was so committed to going to law school and knew that I would do well that her comment actually made me laugh. I never believed her. No one could tell me I couldn’t accomplish this – not even hard evidence like an LSAT score or rejection letters. So, what did I do? Bust my butt and rank in the top of my class at Dayton. Then, I transferred to the law school I wanted to go to – The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law (a top tier law school). Never once did it cross my mind that I “wasn’t cut out for law school” because I always had the mindset that I could succeed.
Example #3 (Getting a job): I didn’t have a job lined up out of law school, which is a very big problem if you’re a law student (it’s not like undergrad – in law school you usually get a job from an internship or prior job during school). At first, I wanted to be in public service. For a number of reasons, I changed my mind, and I wanted to be in private practice. But I didn’t have the experience or connections. Yet, I busted my butt and knew no matter what that I would land a job at a big law firm. And after a few months, I did. It was an entry level attorney position, but it was at a great firm. And after a few years, I managed to get a job at another law firm, which was a huge promotion. It’s very difficult to make the jump I did from staff attorney (first job) to associate (second job). I’m telling you it has nothing to do with my skills – it had everything to do with my persistence and belief that I could make the jump.
Example #4 (CFP® Examination): I failed the CFP® Examination the first time I took it. This happened despite studying for months on end, and despite having passed the Ohio bar exam the first time around. I actually have a pretty difficult time memorizing things and with working full time while studying, I just couldn’t get it down. Although I didn’t pass the first time, I put in extra effort and passed the second time around. I believed whole-heartedly that I would pass, eventually, but I was not surprised it took me more than one try.
My point: The experiences I listed above are all examples of how my mindset was the critical factor in achieving my goals. When my test scores were bad, when people doubted me, and when I had no evidence to think I could achieve my goals, I still believed in myself and persisted. The result was that I actually did achieve my goals. This is what kids need to hear, too. It breaks my heart when average or below average kids are not encouraged the way they’re intelligent peers are. It has little to do with intelligence at all. People just need to know in their hearts that they can succeed no matter what.
So, now I want to convince you that you can do this, too.
How To Adopt A Mindset For Achieving Goals
If you adopt a mindset for achieving goals, you can accomplish anything.
Below, is a list of steps you can start with.
1. Decide on a goal
The first thing you need to do is choose a goal to get started with. I recommend following my step by step guide to learn how to set goals to walk you through the process.
Once you decide what your goal is, use the SMART method from my post above, you are ready to move on.
Pro tip: Always write your goals down and keep them out in front of you. This will help you with step 2. I use the Productivity Planner.
2. Make this goal your sole focus
Step two requires you to make your goal the sole focus and top priority in your life. Your goal should be on your mind all the time.
Pro tip: Take the piece of paper with your goals written on it and carry it with you at all times. Put it on your nightstand and in your pocket. Keep it in view so you can constantly focus on it.
3. Pursue your goal with passion and commitment until you succeed or fail
Follow through with your goal. Either you will succeed or fail. Whatever you do, don’t quit.
This will give you practice pursuing a goal wholeheartedly. This will change your mindset.
Even when you fail, you will gain what Allen calls “strength of character”, which will be the true measure of your success. This will be your new starting point when you repeat the process.
Pro tip: Don’t let other people influence your mindset. Stay committed and passionate about your goals. If you need constant reminders, use podcasts or books to help you stay focused on your true goals. Don’t let distractions steal your destiny.
Once you have accomplished your goal, start the process over again.
The more you practice this, the more success you’ll have.
You will begin to adopt a mindset for achieving goals if you keep doing this.
That’s it. Just those 4 steps.
The steps aren’t hard. The hard part is following through But if you do, you can change your entire life.
10 Quotes From “As A Man Thinketh” To Adopt A Mindset For Achieving Goals
Because this way of thinking to achieve your goals is so important, I want to give you a list of quotes from As A Man Thinketh that portray this way of thinking.
Here are my favorite quotes about adopting a mindset for achieving goals from As A Man Thinketh.
- “He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice highly.”
- “As the reaper of his own harvest, man learns both by suffering and bliss.”
- “Not what he wishes and prays for does a man get, but what he justly earns. His wishes and prayers and only gratified and answered when they harmonize with his thoughts and actions.”
- “Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.”
- “A man cannot directly choose his circumstances, but he can choose his thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely, shape his circumstances.”
- “As [man] alters his thoughts towards things and other people, things and other people will alter towards him.”
- “Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are.”
- “Men imagine that thought can be kept secret, but it cannot; it rapidly crystallizes into habit, and habit solidifies into circumstance.”
- “He who has conquered doubt and fear has conquered failure.”
- “Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become.”
A Final Note!
There’s no doubt in my mind that the reason I continue to achieve my goals is because I believe in my heart that I can. With that belief, I commit and focus on my goals, making sacrifices in other areas.
This has been my secret to getting so far given pretty average or low circumstances. It’s always been my will power.
The good news is that with the 4 steps I list above, you can adopt a mindset for achieving goals and achieve anything you want. The bad news is that you have to actually do the work to make this work for you.
Once you do this stuff, anything is possible!
Like Allen said, “Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become.”
For more on designing your dream life, check out Grow You, my virtual life coaching program.