How to set yourself up for success

Why are some people more successful than others in achieving their goals? You might think they just work harder, are naturally smarter or even, perhaps, just set themselves less ambitious goals to ensure success. But is it really that simple?

Increase the chances of achieving your professional development goals by following this strategy

There can often be a fine line between hitting a target or missing the mark. The reasons why a person is successful in achieving one goal (but less successful in achieving another) are not always obvious.

Research indicates that people who are more successful in achieving their goals do some (important) things that set them up for success.  

Our guide to successful goal setting

1. Adopt a Growth Mindset

People who believe they can learn new skills (through commitment to practice over time) are more likely to achieve success than those who believe their abilities are fixed. It seems self-evident, but how many times have you undermined the likelihood of achieving a goal by creating self-imposed limitations on your ability? Perhaps we need to focus more on what we can do, rather than what we can’t do?

2. Be Solutions Focused

By concentrating on solutions (rather than barriers) we are more likely to set ourselves (and others) up for success. A solutions focused approach creates the intent to deliver positive outcomes (despite inevitable challenges) and avoids using barriers as an excuse.

3. Visualise the achievement of your goal

A goal is more likely to be achieved when it is salient, resonant and tangible. Visualising the achievement of a goal activates neural pathways and stimulates senses to make the goal real or evident – you can virtually see it, hear it and feel it. Visualisation is used by athletes as an effective method of improving performance.

4. Document and share your goal

Documenting and sharing a goal with family, friends and/or colleagues creates accountability and increases commitment. It makes the goal “sticky” and hard to avoid or ignore. The person setting the goal becomes accountable not only to themselves, but the people with whom they have shared their goal.

5. Plan to achieve your goal

Yes, it sounds too logical to be true, but goals are rarely achieved without an effective plan. The plan should identify appropriate strategies and resources that promote goal achievement and (along with the goal) should be documented.

6. Do what you say and say what you do

Goal planning will only get you so far – you need to enact your plan, or walk the talk. This includes committing to actions and embedding routines that move you towards the achieving your goal.

7. Demonstrate resilience

At times, things are going to get tough if you want to achieve goals that are truly worthwhile. This is when you need to demonstrate resilience, or “grit”. It will assist in building character and self-confidence.

Have you tried applying these simple (and effective) strategies to your professional development? What are your tips?