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5 Steps to Achieve Your Goals

Some months ago while out for a run, I realized that the achievement of any goal could be 'simplified' into five steps or words that begin with the letter “D.” I call this formula “The 5 Ds of Success.” These five steps are related primarily to the 'mindset' of success.

1. DESIRE: Desire is the starting place. In the early 1900’s, Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich” was commissioned by Andrew Carnegie to study the most successful people in the world and identify what attributes and characteristics they had in common. Hill noted that having a “Burning Desire” was central to their success.

You must have the desire for a better future. It starts with hope, faith and a desire to create your ideal future AND a belief it’s possible to achieve this vision.

2. DEFINE: It is vital that you define WHAT you want to accomplish. Clarity is power.

Most people go through life like a leaf in the windstorm. Zig Ziglar called it “being a wandering generality.” You’re not going to get the results you want if you don’t define specifically what you want to achieve. Unfortunately, this is one of the great challenges I see as I travel and give speeches. As I’m signing books or conversing, people will say to me, “What you’ve said has inspired me, but I’m 55 years old (or 62… or 25… or 17 years old) and I don’t have any idea what I really want to do.”

Here’s my suggestion: Start by defining ONE of your goals. Get specific. Be careful not to choose too many goals at once can limit our effectiveness.

3. DECIDE: Once you have defined your goal, you must dedicate yourself to achieving it. This requires that you make a “true” decision. No more sitting on the fence. No more doubting and dithering. Decide to commit tenaciously, with your entire being, so success is the only option.

Seventeen years ago, I wasn’t sure whether to continue building the business I helped form or step aggressively into the unknown and begin moving toward my long-term goals and dreams of becoming a motivational speaker and bestselling author.

Then one night at the height of my confusion, I by chance called the offices of author Charlie “Tremendous” Jones when to my surprise he answered the phone. We spent 45 minutes visiting. In the midst of our conversation, and after explaining my dilemma, I asked, “What should I do, Mr. Jones?” He responded: “TJ, you weren’t born to make right or wrong decisions. You were born to make decisions and then make them right.”

Wow. That was a breakthrough moment for me. Mr. Jones wasn’t saying there was no such thing as a right or wrong decision. Rather he was suggesting that, because of fear, many people become paralyzed and don’t make a decision at all.

He helped me realize that the most important thing was to make the best decision I could, then give myself over entirely to pursuing that goal. Once you’ve defined your goal, you must decide to become laser focused on achieving that outcome with no option for retreat.

I learned early on, “Everything affects everything else.” The beautiful thing is when you make a committed decision, doors and opportunities will open that will lead you closer to your goals.

4. DWELL: Once you’re clear about what you want, then you must begin dwelling on the attainment of the goal. This means you fill your mind and internal reality with thoughts, images, and ideas about the achievement your goal "as if" you have already accomplished it.

The purpose of the subconscious mind is, in part, “to make you act like you.” Whatever the goal, whatever the dream, whatever the higher performance you want to achieve, if you dwell on images of achievement in the present tense, research shows, you drastically increase your chances of making the goal a reality. Eventually, your internal reality will creatively reflect itself in your external world.

5. DRIVE: Once you have applied the previous four Success “Ds” you must “drive” forward. This implies that you first create a plan, and then you must execute. Without focused and purposeful action, nothing happens. Additionally, “drive” has a direct impact on desire. If you don’t take action, there’s no feedback. When you begin taking action, even if it’s small, each action provides feedback, which reinforces the original desire. Ongoing feedback is critical.

Watch the video for 2 BONUS “Ds.”

A year from now, you’re going to arrive. The question is where? Clarify your goals and start taking action with the expectation of achieving them like never before!


About TJ Hoisington:

TJ Hoisington is the bestselling author of If You Think You Can!, The Secret of the Slight Edge, and Return to Robinson Island. He has authored several high-performance training programs focused on personal development, leadership, customer service, sales, and creating thriving cultures. TJ's insights and workshops have been shared with many organizations around the world. (client list) Whether he speaks to audiences of 10 or 15,000 people, his mission is the same: to provide inspiration and tools that help people and organizations unleash their greatness within.

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