You’ve developed some goals- serious, life-changing goals. You’re feeling pretty bad-ass about the future. When you think about making these things happen, you feel exhilarated and energized.
But, perhaps, you are a little intimidated, too.
If that is the case, you could read another self-help book and listen to yet another podcast to get motivated. Or you could try something a bit different by time-traveling to the past to gain wisdom and plan your next move.
Dwelling in the past? Isn’t that super backward and negative?
The good news is that you can use the “how” of past success to move towards future success. Past success provides important clues about how you operate when you’re moving in a positive direction.
How do you usually overcome obstacles? How do you cope when things get rough?
Even if your previous achievements are very different from what you want to do next, they can still provide important clues as to how you can best tackle the next phase. Plus, it can be inspiring to remind yourself that you have and you can accomplish great things.
Here’s how you can do this amazing success strategy.
1Write Down Past Successes
Take a moment to revel in previous triumphs. Relive the glorious days and be shameless.
Write down all your earlier accomplishments, even the tiny ones you think don’t matter. Think about milestones completed, bad habits broken and times when you truly shone.
My personal example is quitting smoking. I used to smoke a packet of Peter Stuyvesant cigarettes a day, wasting brain power and dollars trying to get my next fix. I am proud to say that in 2005, I stopped smoking for good. I didn’t think I ever could do it, but it’s been twelve years!
2Analyze How You Made Past Goals Successful
Get analytical and deconstruct these past achievements. What did you actually do to make those things happen? What did you have to not do to make things happen?
Be as specific as possible.
What did you tell yourself in order to meet the goal? How did you manage setbacks? What environment(s) helped you to become successful? Who inspired and supported you?
Also, if you are feeling brave, write down all the things that didn’t work.
For example, when I quit smoking, I found the following strategies helpful: reading books about the science of addiction, staying away from “triggering” scenarios and tracking daily progress. What didn’t work: feeling guilty and ashamed, nicotine gum, acupuncture and reading about ill-effects of smoking cigarettes. And watching those anti-smoking ads only made me want to smoke more (go figure!).
3Develop Strategies Based on Previous Successes To Accomplish Future Goals
You now have a picture of what has worked for you in the past, so similar tactics are likely to work in the future. This is the premise of “Solutions-Focused Counseling”, a technique whereby you identify “the differences that make a difference”. You recognize what you have been doing right, rather than dwelling on seemingly insurmountable problems and obstacles.
With that in mind, write a list of strategies that will provide the best chance of future success. Here are some ideas:
- Proximity: What environment(s) will help you thrive? What needs to change in your daily life?
- Self-Talk: What phrases and stories do you need to tell yourself on a regular basis?
- Tools and props: What types of gadgets, if any, will help you meet your goal? What apps/newsletters will keep you on track?
- Support: Who will you ask to check on your progress? What will you require of your groups/social circles? How can family and friends best demonstrate their support?
- Heroes: Who do you find inspiring? What lessons can you learn from their success?
- Inspiration and motivation: What resources will keep you motivated during setbacks? What types of books, podcasts or CD’s seem to get you going on bad days?
By now, you will have a list of future goals, past achievements, past goal strategies that did and didn’t work and potential goal strategies for future success. You will also have a greater sense of what makes you tick and what things will make you more likely to be successful.
So, go start doing these things today!