If you are convinced that your mind is set on success and nothing else, then I want to offer you an actionable tactic to help you move even closer towards it. It is completely practical and will depend entirely on whether or not you are really determined to make significant progress in your life.
It will help greatly if you had a journal (digital or physical) to record your progress. The aim is be aware of how your thoughts change or develop over time. There’s no better way to do this, than to keep records of what you said, when you said it. If you persist for a long time doing this, when you later look back at these records, you will be surprised and just how much you have changed.
If you want to be sure of whether or not you are making significant progress in your life, ask yourself these 4 questions at the end of each day.
1. Did I set a goal today? – What was it?
Think back to the time between when you woke up and just before you get to bed. Did you think of a task that you wanted to accomplish that day? Write it down. However, make sure that this task was a self-initiated one. That no one else told you to do it.
If you didn’t think of a self-initiated task to do, end here. Close your journal and go to bed. Let’s talk to tomorrow. Your loss.
But if you did, ask yourself this next question.
2. Did I accomplish it? – How?
Were you able to successfully complete that task? What made it possible? What exactly did you do to complete the task? Write it down. The aim of this to be mentally aware of your every actions. If you persist, you will eventually appreciate that long term success, is a result of small actions done over time.
If however, you did not accomplish the task. Close the journal. But ensure that next time, you break down the task into something that can be completed in a day. You probably took on a task that was “too big to chew on”.
Don’t dismiss the idea of breaking a huge project down into tasks you could complete daily. If you can only work on building your dream for only 2 hours a day, that’s perfectly fine. Just ensure that you have set a task that you are capable of completing in those 2 hours.
3. Was it relevant to the dream I’m chasing? – Why?
I should have put this at number 2, but the reason why it’s at number three is so that I can highlight a problem that could lead to years of frustration:
Being busy, for the sake of being busy, does NOT translate into making progress towards your personal goals. If you are busy working on tasks that have absolutely no relation to your ultimate dream… why are you letting them occupy most of your time?
Aim to have every decision and action that you make focus on what you ultimately want to accomplish. Otherwise you risk being unhappy over time. Have you not seen people who work extremely long and hard but don’t feel very satisfied with how things are going with their current situation? So many people wake up with only the desire to go back to bed. and many of them have no clue why they have to be up so very early in the morning.
Always ensure that you take at least 2 hours of every day of yours to work on your personal goals. Those 2 hours will be enough reason for you to get up excited every morning at crack of dawn.
So if you haven’t worked on a task that’s related to your dream, close the journal. Hope to see you again tomorrow. Your loss.
If you did, proceed to the final question.
4. Did you learn anything new from what you did? – What?
This is where true progress is measured. Now, let me just say that this doesn’t have to be every single night. However, try to discipline yourself to evaluate this as often as you possibly can.
Learning something new illustrates growth. And growth is always an indicator of progress. To become the person you know you should be, you have to NOT be the person you are now. And unless you are learning something new, you are bound to be the same person to the very end.
If you are asking yourself if it’s possible to learn every day, it really is. It all depends on the size of the goal, your determination to achieve it and the amount of effort you put into working on it.
Putting it all together
Let’s say that your ultimate dream is to become a really talented graphic designer. Based on the routine described above, here’s an example of what progress could look like you.
Day 1 – Learn about what graphics and graphic design is all about (just get an idea, nothing too deep).
Day 2 – Find out the types of tools today’s experts use to create graphics.
Day 3 – Learn where and how to get Photoshop
Day 4 – Install and fiddle around in Photoshop
Day 5 – Get photos of your friends and family and just mess around in Photoshop to paint random things on them. Laugh a bit. Show them what you did to their pics. Laugh some more.
Day 6 – Get to YouTube and find tutorials on how to use Photoshop.
Day 7,8,9 – Follow those tutorials on how to do simple tasks in Photoshop.
Day 10,11,12 – Practice creating graphics based on what you have learned in the past couple of days.
Day 13 – Learn a new technique by searching google or going back to YouTube.
Day 14 – Join a graphic design community like deviantArt
Day 15 – Challenge yourself to do something you haven’t done already.
Now realistically, this won’t happen over 15 days. Life isn’t that perfect. It could be accomplished sooner or later, depending on how much time you can make available and effort you put into learning graphic design.
But just look at that list. Doesn’t it look practical? Is it really impossible to achieve the first 5 actions above? And let me tell you, once you get to 5, you will automatically start thinking of 6. Once you get to 6, you will automatically thinking of 7…
This is how I learned Graphics, Game Development, Android and Web Development.
Do this evaluation every week, month and year
You will ultimately realize that your everyday actions, translate to significant weekly accomplishments. Which also translate to even more significant monthly accomplishments. By the time someone asks you, what did you do last year, they will think that you never sleep and are super human.
But by then, you and I will both know the truth. That for you to make any large significant progress I life, you must begin to tackle practical, achievable goals on a daily basis.
Stop making excuses and start making progress.