An excerpt from The Power of Discipline
by Brian Tracy
THE SEVEN-STEP FORMULA FOR ACHIEVING GOALS:
There are seven simple steps you can follow to set and achieve goals. There are more complex and detailed goal-achieving methodologies, but the Seven Step Method will enable you to accomplish ten times more than you have ever accomplished before, and far faster than you can imagine.
(1) Decide exactly what you want. Be specific. If you want to increase your income, decide upon a specific amount of money rather than just “make more money.”
(2) Write it down. A goal that is not in writing is like smoke; it drifts away and disappears. It is unsubstantial and useless. It has no force, effect or power. But a written goal becomes something that you can touch, read and modify if necessary.
(3) Set a deadline for your goal. Pick a reasonable time period and write down the rate at which you want to achieve it. If it is a big goal, set a final deadline and then set sub-deadlines or interim steps between where you are today and where you want to be in the future.
A deadline serves as a “forcing system.” Just as you often get more done when you are under the pressure of a specific deadline, your subconscious mind works faster and more efficiently when you have decided that you want to achieve a goal by a specific time.
The rule is: “There are no unrealistic goals; there are only unrealistic deadlines.”
What do you do if you don’t achieve your goal by your deadline? Simple. You set another deadline. A deadline is a “guestimate.” Sometimes you will achieve your goal before the deadline, sometimes on the deadline, and sometimes after the deadline.
(4) Make a list of everything you can think of that you could possibly do to achieve your goal. Henry Ford said, “The biggest goal can be accomplished if you break it down into enough small steps.” Make a list of the obstacles and difficulties you will have to overcome, both external and internal, to achieve your goal.
Make a list of the additional knowledge and skills you will require to achieve your goal.
Make a list of the people whose cooperation and support you will require to achieve your goal.
Make a list of everything you can think of that you will have to do, and then add to this list as new tasks and responsibilities occur. Keep writing until your list is complete.
Napoleon Hill once said, “The most common reason that people fail to achieve their goals is because they do not make new plans to replace the old ones when the situation changes.”
(5) Organize the list by both sequence and priority.
A list of activities organized by sequence requires that you determine what you need to do first, what you need to do second, and what you need to do later on.
A list organized by priority enables you to determine what is more important and what is less important.
Sometimes sequence and priority are the same, but often they are not. For example, if you want to start a particular kind of business, the first item in order of sequence might be purchasing a book or enrolling in a course on the type of business.
But what is most important is your ability to develop a business plan based on complete market research. This will provide the information needed to gather the appropriate resources to launch the business.
(6) Take action on your plan immediately. The difference between winners and losers in life is simply that winners take the first step. They are action-oriented. They’re willing to take action with no guarantee of success. They’re willing to face failure and disappointment. But they’re always willing to take action.
(7) Do something every day that moves you in the direction of your major goal. This is the key behavior that will guarantee your success. Seven days a week, 365 days a year, do something, do anything that moves you at least one step closer to the goal that is most important to you at the time.
When you do something every day toward the direction of your goal, you develop momentum. This momentum, this sense of forward motion, motivates you, inspires you and energizes you. As you gain momentum, it is easier to take even more steps toward your goal. In no time at all, you will have developed the discipline of setting and achieving your goals. It soon becomes easy and automatic. You develop the habit and the discipline of working towards your goals all the time.

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