Success is something that rarely happens with one lucky break in life, one great decision or one fantastic opportunity seized. Although we occasionally hear about ‘breakout stars’ in Hollywood, and Tinseltown certainly loves to perpetuate that myth, it’s not the norm. But the stories keep us watching movies and hooked into the fantasy that if we could only achieve Kardashian good looks that we would be saved, rescued or plucked out of obscurity as well.
Sorry to burst that beautiful bubble, but success is really a succession of small steps. Even Keeping Up with the Kardashians, at the time of this writing, is in Season 15 – go back to Season 1 to see the transformations! If you want to be more successful in any area of your life start laying the foundation with these 5 simple steps below.
- Clean up your incompletes. Zelda Fitzgerald once said something to the effect of “Loose ends are the strings by which men hang themselves.” I have always found this to be true! Nothing can sidetrack you faster than having way too much on your plate, and a pile of incompletes. As human beings, we like order and closure, so every little thing begins competing for your attention and ultimately draining your mental energy. Start by cleaning up your physical space; clear away clutter and any mess in your home or workspace. Then start working your way through the things that are nagging you: unpaid bills, car repairs, dental work or check-up, unanswered emails – whatever it is. (and you can skip the list here – you already know what they are! Don’t use the list to nag yourself as well 🙂 Start to get these off the table and you’ll free up time and mental energy for what’s really important.
- Start with one goal at a time, or better yet, one habit. Don’t try to overhaul your entire life at once; pick one or two areas that most needs your attention. This will probably be the areas that are dragging everything else down. It may be money, relationships, health, fitness or your career. Whatever it is for you, set a clear target (and numbers work best – days, dollars etc.) and create a plan and a new habit to make it happen. Once you have some serious traction here, you can add in the next big change.
- Track your progress. “What gets measured gets managed.” – that’s a keeper. Track. Everything. If you’re writing a book, commit to a certain number of pages per day or per week. Getting more fit: track your workouts, miles run, or classes attended. Money: definitely track this daily – spending, saving, investing and goals. A career goal: set milestones with steps to achieve those. There are tons of great apps out there that can help you with this, and we always have our phones with us so it is certainly the most effective way to keep track. Find something that works for you and track the numbers daily.
- Acknowledge your successes. We seldom take the time to really acknowledge what we’ve accomplished. That can leave you feeling worn out, exhausted and under appreciated. Need help acknowledging yourself? Use a Success Journal or an app or better yet an Accountability Partner or Group to keep track of accomplishments or achievements daily or weekly. Some weeks you may have to dig deep, so count the small stuff too. And if you can’t come up with at least 3 things, you’re being way too hard on yourself. A fun little adaptation is to also write down any temptations resisted i.e. the temptation to impulse buy and blow your budget, or the temptation to veg on the couch instead of hitting the gym. We all like to be patted on the back, and no one else will do it if you don’t start with yourself.
- Always be growing. If you’re not growing, you’re dying. Don’t believe me? Make it simple and look at a plant. Take courses, hire a coach or mentor to keep you on track, read books, listen to podcasts, travel, visit art galleries and step outside of your own community. Whatever you do, keep expanding your horizons. Even a small step forward is better than a small slip back.
Remember, success is a process, not an event. This isn’t necessarily going to happen overnight, but using these simple, practical steps will make it not only easier but inevitable. The bonus: it boosts your self-confidence and self-esteem along the way.