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Touching the stars

Jeffrey Benjamin

Maybe you have goals of taking an exotic vacation, buying a new car or house. Saving for retirement, growing a business or starting a new career. You might want to gain weight, lose weight, run a marathon or just get in better shape. You might want to provide an incredible education for your children or develop more meaningful relationships with friends and family members.

What ever you want to achieve you are more than capable of doing it, or making it happen! Here are 21 ways to help you achieve your goals in 2013.

1. Put it in writing. Written goals produce better results than if goals are vaguely floating through your mind. Define what you want, in writing, giving thought and attention to all aspects of life such as health, business, relationship and recreational.

2. Learn to deal with criticism. People may say or write things about you that are not very pleasant to hear. All accomplished people have had to endure criticism. When someone tells you that what you are doing is impossible, or they criticize unfairly, use it to fuel your fire.

3. Use timelines for your goals and action steps. While developing your list of goals make sure to attach timelines for their achievement. Transfer your goals into action steps that can be placed onto your daily task list based on priority. Small steps done over a period of time will lead to the achievement of huge goals.

4. Believe you can make it happen. If you have a goal to get fit, but you believe exercise takes time away from your family, what is the probability you will exercise? Little to none! If you believe exercise means more quality time with family, you’re more likely to exercise. Whatever you believe influences your actions.

5. Avoid self-punishment. Constantly beating yourself up over mistakes and misfortunes will destroy you. Telling yourself that you are no good, or that you are not worthy or that you are stupid, will only reinforce that type of behavior. If you didn’t achieve a goal on time, don’t crack yourself over the head. Make the proper adjustments and move on.

6. Consistently ask for what you want. The only way to get what you want out of life is by asking! This naturally begins at birth and follows us to the grave. As life progresses, it seems most people tend to decrease their initiative to ask for what they want. The result is getting less than what they want.

7. Elicit the help of others by showing your commitment. Would you help someone if you thought that your time and energy would be wasted? If you want help from others, you must be prepared to show them, through action, that you are committed to doing whatever it takes to succeed. Henry Ford had it right, “You can’t build a reputation of what you are going to do.”

8. Review goals daily. We get out of life what we most think about. That’s why it is crucial to post your goals where you can view them on a regular basis. It reminds you of what is really important to you in life. Emmet Fox shared, “Whatever you give your attention to, is the thing that governs your life.”

9. Write a list of reasons why you want your goal. Understanding the benefits you will receive from attaining your goal helps motivate you toward its fulfillment. Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said it best, “If you have enough whys, you will most certainly find a way how.”

10. Embrace rejection. If you are unable to deal with being rejected, it is going to be very difficult to achieve any worthwhile goal. Every time you get rejected you inch closer to your goal. If you are not being rejected then you are not serious about getting what you want.

11. Reward yourself upon the completion of a goal. The most powerful reinforcement is self-reinforcement. Big or small, whenever you do something right, praise yourself, reward yourself.

12. Break goals into small action steps. The only way to climb a mountain is one step a time. A great question to ask is, “What can I achieve in five minutes that will help me achieve my goal?” Search for small pockets of time you can use to accomplish your goals.

13. Define obstacles that keep you from your goal. See obstacles and challenges as part of life and they will lose their power over you. Write out a list of obstacles that you might face when working on the completion of a goal. Next to the obstacle, write a few possible solutions to overcome it. Use these premeditated solutions when you come face-to-face with your dragon.

14. Treat every area of your life like an appointment. Schedule your fitness time, family time, work time, spiritual time, and leisure time. Strictly adhere to the allotted time schedules knowing you are giving attention to each area of life.

15. Emulate your role models. We learn to smile, walk, and talk by watching people. The key is to consciously choose people you would like to model. Write a list of people you admire or that you want to emulate. Choose the top three and begin to adopt the characteristics you appreciate.

16. Use an accountability partner. Set yourself up to follow through. Have a workout partner, hire a financial planner, get a weight loss buddy, or hire a business coach. Develop a partnership with someone who wants to achieve a similar goal or someone that has a vested interest in seeing you succeed.

17. Eliminate the negative; accentuate the positive. We must learn to identify, challenge, remove and replace negative messages. A fantastic way to do this is to replace negative messages with positive ones. Marcus Aurelius had it right, “All that is needed to make a happy life is within yourself, in your way of thinking.”

18. Visualize the achievement of your goals. Every great achiever will testify that they saw their goal in their mind’s eye before accomplishing it. Program your brain with visual imagery. Create a picture in your mind of you achieving the goal.

19. Use the power of measurement. Be sure to measure and get specific about your goals. Don’t be general in your approach. In other words, avoid having a goal of losing weight. Instead, have a goal of weighing a certain amount. Saving money is not measurable and specific enough either. Exactly how much money do you want to save?

20. Use your body. Ever notice how you feel when embracing a hug, receiving a high-five, smiling? Or how you feel when you do a victory dance? Feels great, doesn’t it? Come up with the body movement that supports the achievement of your goal. Some additional powerful body movements are: deep breathing, arm pump, firm hand shake, two arms in the air, hands clasped in prayer, or clapping.

21. Stretch your comfort zone. We like to do the same things over and over because we can predict the outcome; we can remain comfortable. However, attaining any worthwhile goal requires expanding your current comfort zone. Today, challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone by doing something that makes you uncomfortable.

The power to achieve your goals is within your reach. Practice these habits for success and witness first-hand your ability to get what you want out of life. Best of success to you!

Jeffrey Benjamin is the co-author of “Real Life Habits for Success,” contributing author in the book “The Sleeping Giant: The Awakening of the Self Employed Entrepreneur,” and the founder of Breakthrough Training. Contact him through http://www.breakthroughtraining.com.