5 Critical Success Factors (Steps To Success)

by Kahlia Meeuwsen, Money Columnist

Published in Money on 22nd May, 2019

We're all looking for ways to succeed, but we might struggle with finding the right path. A large part of creating success for yourself comes with organizing your thoughts and simplifying your goals.

These 5 critical success factors can help you to get on the path towards meeting and exceeding the goals you set for yourself. As you follow them, you can find that obstacles become much less threatening and you'll feel more in control over yourself and your life.

steps to sucess

Step One: Look For The Largest Impact

The goals we have can range in size. You may have a goal to take out a bag of trash today. You may also have a goal to write a novel. It's important to consider not only the time frame, but the effect that meeting these goals will have on your life so that you can prioritize them accordingly.

What's Most Important To You?

Narrowing down your goals can simplify the process and help to point you in a direction. Keep in mind that this doesn't mean ignoring the goals that aren't most important to you. It simply means you are choosing to place more focus on certain goals first, whether that's due to necessity, desire or both.

Think about which goals will have the greatest impact on your life. For example, will you feel more free if you pay your debts off and then get a new car, or do you need a new car in order to get to work so that you can pay your debts?

Step Two: Use The SMART Technique

The way you set up your goals is going to be extremely important, as it can help you with finding a path to the ultimate goal that is more realistic and manageable. Here, we're going to teach you about creating SMART goals, and how you can use them to receive the best benefits.

What Is SMART?

Anyone can set a goal, but they aren't always goals that are realistic or easy to achieve. For example, anyone can say "My goal is to be an actor", but there are many more factors that need to be included in becoming an actor. Things like headshots, attending auditions, taking acting classes and more go into that end goal.

be smart

Instead, you want to create goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-limited. For instance, you might opt to attend three additions a week. You may even choose to separate that further based on what kind of audition it is.

Developing SMART Goals

Often, our goals are large and somewhat vague. They may include things like "I want to pay off my debt" or "I want to move". Much like with the acting example, these concepts need to be broken down into more specific intentions.

This will not only give you something more realistic to reach for, but it also breaks down the larger goal into chunks that won't overwhelm you as much. In time, these small goals will build up into achieving your larger goal, leaving you feeling like you can move onto the next goal.

Step Three: Write It All Down

Writing down your goals helps to clarify exactly what you want, and can make breaking down the tasks easier. Additionally, you'll be able to get a better view of the timeframe in which you want to complete your goals.

Long Term Goals

Long term goals are going to usually going to be goals that will take a year or longer to complete. However, this is something you can adjust depending on what you want to focus on the most. For some, focusing on the immediate future is going to be the most helpful.

Once you've written down your long term goals, you'll also want to begin breaking each of those goals down into smaller steps. Go as small as you need to in order to feel like you're actually creating progress. It can help to think about how quickly you want to start accomplishing tasks.

Short Term Goals

Short term goals may include things like cleaning your home, paying the bills, preparing for a party or other smaller tasks that may only take a few minutes, or a few months. Some of these may need to be broken down as well, but they generally won't take a much time of effort to complete.

buy a car

In some cases, they may be larger if you happen to be closer to achieving a given large goal. For example, you may be planning to purchase a car next week. Even these tasks can be broken down into things like researching the ideal car and finding out where you can get it.

Step Four: Consider What Might Go Wrong

While we are all seeking to achieve success, we also know that there are going to be obstacles along the way. The more you can plan ahead for such issues, the easier it will be to overcome them when they pop up. In addition, it will feel even better if those obstacles don't show up at all.

Aim For Success

Remember to stay optimistic. We're all aiming for success, and it's important to keep that view as you set up your goals. While setbacks may happen, remember that they are likely to be temporary.

The goal here is to reach as highly as you can while remembering that life is unpredictable. Don't beat yourself up if problems occur along the way and take breaks when you need to. You're only human, and it's okay to allow yourself to rest and take time for your self care when it is necessary.

Plan For Problems

We know problems are going to occur. Something always manages to pop up. However, those things don't have to be your downfall or set you back too far. Make sure to plan for anything you can and come up with solutions that you can use to your advantage.

It's entirely possible that you won't come up with every possible problem that could occur, and that's okay. As long as you have backup plans for those that are most likely to occur, you'll already be ahead of the game.

Step Five: Work Towards Your Goals Each Day

The final aspect to remember is that you're not going to meet your goals if you don't work towards them regularly. Ideally, if you can break your goals up into daily tasks then you can make progress in small amounts every day. In addition, you won't be as likely to overwhelm yourself. Even if it's just a tiny accomplishment, you'll feel great knowing that you're working towards goals on a daily basis.

Visualize Your Dreams

It can be helpful to really picture your goal in your mind. Imagine what your life would be like with your debt paid off, with a new car, or after having written a book. How does it feel? Odds are, you're going to feel fantastic having met that goal.

dream big

You can also do this for the smaller goals. When you're struggling with the motivation to take out the trash, imagine that empty, fresh garbage can. Think about your kitchen looking cleaner (and probably smelling nicer).

The Importance Of Self Discipline

While this can often be the most difficult part of reaching your goals, it's also the most important. You may not always be motivated to do the things you know you need to do. Motivation comes and goes. While it's a nice feeling when you have it, motivation is ultimately unreliable.

However, self discipline is a strong ally. When you get into the habit of using it, you can have an easier time completing your tasks even when you're not feeling it. It often helps to start small and build up your self discipline for as long as it takes to meet your goals.

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