Happy 2017 everyone! A new year is upon us and I figured I’d start off this year by sharing some tips and ideas on how we can all make this year more successful than the last.
Many people struggle with how to become more successful. Whether our goals are to start our own business, live a healthy lifestyle or develop better relationships, success is difficult for most people.
But as each year passes, we should strive to make the changes so that the future will be better than the past.
If you feel stuck and are looking for change, here are a few tips to help you succeed.
1. Set aside at least an hour each week to pursue your goal
Most people don’t achieve their goals because they don’t spend any time pursuing them. I’ve met many people who tell me about their ideas for starting their own business, but spend no time learning about business or taking any kind of action.
The same is true for relationships. I know some pretty awesome people that are still single because they’re passive and don’t put much effort into developing new relationships with people or initiating activities.
To become more successful, the most fundamental thing you need to do is spend time and effort pursuing your goal.
Make a point to spend at least one hour each week doing something that will move you towards your goal. Increasing the amount of time you spend will only help you reach your goals faster.
2. Always be learning and adapting
Many people slow down or stop learning once school is over, but really successful people know that they need to keep learning to succeed beyond everyone else.
In fact, the most important lessons in business and in life are learned outside of school. Unlike school, no one is going to spoon feed you everything… you’ll have to be self motivated to learn on your own.
The Internet provides a lot of free information, but we can also learn from books, courses and other people. If you want to be successful at something, one important step is to learn as much as you can about it.
I was on Google Plus last year and a blogger complained that he wasn’t getting good results with his blog even though he had been blogging for over a year or two. It’s also important to adapt, improve and change your tactics as you go along.
Success is often hard at the beginning. But if you are willing to invest the time and effort into it, it will accelerate as you adapt and grow.
3. Identify and minimize distractions
One of the most common pieces of advice I hear is to “follow your passion”. But what if you don’t have a “passion”?
Everyone has interests that would improve their well being, but we often spend time on short term distractions instead. Distractions can create short term happiness, but have little long term benefit.
Such activities include watching movies, playing games, surfing the web, etc.
Spending some time on such activities is fine, but most people spend too much time on recreational activities and too little time on productive activities with long term benefit.
To be more productive, identify some of your distractions and use the time saved on more productive activities. Even if you spend just one hour a week doing something productive, you should see some positive results.
4. Network and spend time with like-minded people
Entrepreneurs see themselves as independent thinkers, but success is much easier if you are surrounded by like-minded people. A common mistake new entrepreneurs make is trying to do and figure out everything by themselves.
Spending time with others that have similar interests and goals will increase your chances of success. If you’ve ever had a workout partner, been on a sports team that practices regularly or worked on a group project in school or at work, you’ll know that working with a group can be very helpful.
Look for Meetup groups and associations in your area so that you can find and connect with others who have the same goals as you. You can also network online through social media (like Facebook groups) and forums, although it’s not a substitute for in person networking.
5. Find a mentor or a coach
If you are really serious about success, get a mentor or a coach. Imagine how difficult it would have been to go through school if you didn’t have a teacher to tell you what books to read, give you homework assignments to make sure you learned it and answer your questions.
You probably would have failed the final exam.
Yet most people try to start a business, find a meaningful relationship or find success without any kind of guidance. It’s no wonder why the failure rate is so high in these areas.
The fact is that most people need some kind of coaching and mentorship to succeed and that many very successful people actually do have coaches that help them behind the scenes.
Coaches may not know everything, but they keep you accountable and help you stay productive. Clarity.fm and coach.me are a couple of places worth checking out if you are looking for coaches or consultants.
6. Identify activities that cause fear or drain you of energy
I’ve found that people often fail because they are unwilling to do certain things to become successful.
For example, many people I’ve met have an interest in starting their own business. But they don’t have any interest in learning the sales or marketing side of things.
Those things are boring to them and because they aren’t willing to learn and do them, they will never be successful.
Step 1 – Identify activities that cause you fear or drain you of energy. Being aware of what is holding you back is the first step, but you will also need to either make yourself do these things or outsource them to become successful.
Step 2 – Break the activity down into easy to follow steps. Once you come up with a plan of attack, you may find that it is easier to pursue a course of action.
Step 3 – Try it out for awhile. You may actually discover that you enjoy the activity as you become better at it.
Step 4 – Outsource it. If you can’t do something yourself or if you find that it is too stressful or draining, then outsource it to someone else.
In short, make sure what needs to get done, gets done whether it’s by you or someone else.
7. Be prepared to sacrifice in the short term for long term benefit
One of the reasons that success is so hard is that most tactics only show a positive return over the long term.
College is one example. It takes four years of college to get a bachelors degree and only after that are you able to get a job.
Business can be like that too. Sales may be slow when you start, but as you grow your reputation and presence, your business will also become more successful.
Most people who want to get into business are looking for instant results. While it is possible to grow quickly if you know what you are doing, it’s important to note that it might be harder, cost more money and take longer than you originally expect.
But over the long term, it will be worth it.
8. Take calculated risks
If you want to be successful, then you will have to take risks. But the good news is that with the many options available, you don’t have to risk a ton of money to start a business.
I’ve heard about people risking their life saving to open a new business or losing their life savings on a bad investment. Those aren’t smart risks and aren’t necessary.
Always look for ways to minimize risk, but be prepared to take some risks. There are people who started their own businesses with under $100.
When pursuing opportunities, analyze the risk and take risks that you can easily recover from if the worst case scenario happens.
9. Prioritize and focus on one thing
Asides from lack of productivity, another reason that people fail is lack of focus. If you try to focus on too many things at one time, then you won’t accomplish much of anything.
Instead, make a list of things that are important to you, prioritize the item and focus only on one thing. Resist the temptation to hop between different ideas. Choose a path and stay the course.
And pay attention to and eliminate activities that are distracting you from your goal.
10. Develop a positive mindset
Positivity is important and it’s hard to be successful if you don’t believe it’s possible. While it’s important to evaluate the situation realistically, make sure you are not sabotaging yourself with negative thoughts.
I’ve met people that think that everyone selling info-products is a scammer. Those people will never invest in courses.
However, books and courses were an important tool that got me started in business. I sold on Ebay for 2 years after reading an eBook about the topic and launched my e-commerce site after purchasing an SEO course.
Of course, there are a lot of bad products out there, so you have to be careful and do you due diligence before purchasing. But you have to believe that success is possible if you want to become successful.
Find a community of supportive people and stay inspired.
11. Spend time building relationships
Relationships are important, but most people spend very little time growing existing relationships or developing new ones. Other people keep our lives interesting and sometimes lead to new opportunities.
In fact, many business owners will say that relationships were critical to their success.
In school, we have the luxury of being surrounded by our peers and forming relationships is much easier. After school, people need to put a lot more effort into forming relationships and building a network.
12. Map our your path to success, step-by-step
Success can often be overwhelming, particularly when it comes to starting a business. To remove the overwhelm, figure out the individual steps you will need to take to succeed and write them down.
Break everything into an easy to follow step-by-step system and schedule. Once you have the steps down, just focus on completing each step one at a time.
Remember that the plan doesn’t have to be perfect and that you can always change your process later.
But get something down as a starting point and then…
13. Take action
The most important and sometimes scariest step is to take action. But if you don’t take action, then nothing will happen.
Take action towards your goals, even if it’s scary at first. Eventually, if you keep taking positive action, you will get use to it.
Just do it.
*Bonus Tip* – Be consistent
Finally, perhaps the most important step is to be consistent. Most people will give in to the temptation to quit and many successful people win by just being consistent.
The thing that separates successful people from everyone else is simply successful habits.
My e-commerce Pinterest account got 1.7 million views in 2015 simply because I continued to post daily. If you are experiencing a positive result, even if it seems small, be consistent and that result will grow.
Remember that many successful people were once like you. Turn action into successful habits by repeating them over and over again.
To Sum It Up
I’ll admit that even I struggle with some of the above items. I’m hoping that posting this will help me remember what to focus on.
If you’re struggling with success, then I’m betting that you probably aren’t doing at least one of the above items.
What’s holding you back from success?