Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.

-Thomas Jefferson

This world is rife with pitfalls just waiting to devour you whole. College, finances, family and friends, fitting in…The list is endless.

One thing that seems to stay consistent no matter what life throws at us is that everyone has a goal. Everyone wants to “live” for something. Despite that, people are finding it harder to achieve their goals. They flounder, panic, and then shut down.

Today, you’re going to find out how to mitigate that problem.

Who Are You?

Before you decide you have a goal, first you have to think to yourself: Do I even know or acknowledge who I am?

One problem I had while I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do was acknowledging the person I actually was. I tried to be so many faces: A professional woman, a cute little stay at home mommy, a weird but cool nerd through and through. I realized I was none of those things, but all of them at once at the same time. I was just Chibi.

Many people are afraid to be themselves. We are constantly hiding who we are so much from others that the mentality begins to pollute our actual goal. If your goal is to be an artist, but you’re afraid to appear up in the clouds, or not serious enough for your friends and family, what are the chances that you’re going to ACTUALLY become an artist? Instead, you’re going to try to appear totally serious (even though you can be a serious artist with serious goals), and then you might become a nurse, or a welder, or an office manager when in reality you absolutely hate it. Then you hate your life.

So before we even look at how to stick to a goal, make one affirmation to yourself now: I’m going to be exactly who I want to be, and nothing else. 

Now that you’ve been given permission to be who you really are at heart, let’s examine what your real goal is, and teach you how to stay strong through the process.

Reaching Your Goals Requires Personal Sacrifice

It’s no easy journey reaching a goal. After all, nothing worth having comes easy. You may have to make a sacrifice financially, relationship-wise, or even time wise. It could also be a combination of these things, as it was for me.

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable…Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Regardless, you have to be OKAY with that. For instance, let’s continue on that artist goal as our example. Your friends have said to you that it’s cool and all, but you’re not going to make it. Your family refuses to finance your college education unless you go for something “more practical.” Your peers assume you’re going to be the screw-up out of you all who ends up resorting to drugs to make it through a day. In this scenario, I have personally seen friends of mine go down this path of darkness. They let everyone else derail them, even though they had amazing talents. One friend/family member became a gang member. Another struggles in the reserves while they raise their two children alone, and the final one is in an unhappy relationship and struggling to make ends meet financially. ALL of these people were artists! All of these people were let down by their families, friends, and peers. I saw the downfall. The people around them literally snuffed out their flame.

But you don’t have to be an artist to experience this sort of let down. You could have any goal, and someone isn’t going to agree with it. Most likely, it’s your so-called friends and family members who will put negative thoughts in your head. I’ve been told countless times being a writer wasn’t going to land me a good living.

I don’t care anymore. When I did care, I failed.

You will have to put relationships secondary if you want to reach your goal. I don’t mean supportive friends and family, but people who don’t mean you any good. They will have to exit stage right from your life at that point, or be put on hold.

Financially you may experience some strain too. Whether it’s cutting back on spending money on a nicer place, paying more money out of your pocket to take care of a huge debt instead of going on an anticipated vacation, or not buying a home for several more years while you put everything into your budding business, you will have to re-examine how you think about your money sometimes.

For me, I have gone completely monk style to make things work while I grow my freelance writing business. I don’t buy new clothes, except for my children. Their clothes come from places like Walmart because 1. They’re kids and ruin clothes quickly and 2. It’s affordable. My kids still look both beautiful and handsome each day regardless of the brand on their back. They’re happy, and don’t care where their clothes come from. I COULD buy them Carters, Gap, or Gymboree…I don’t because I wouldn’t be giving them the future they deserve.

Our grocery lists are usually plain and simple. We bought what furniture we needed, took donations from kind people who offered, and work with what we have. I quite like how my home looks however, but you won’t catch me at a Crate and Barrel.

The thing to remember here is that this won’t last forever. Eventually, you’ll be in a place where you can go out and buy nice things again, or spend money on lavish trips and dinners out. But while you work on your goals, if it requires you to cut back, you should do it if you actually care to reach your goal.

By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination.

-Christopher Columbus

Time is another big thing you may have to put on hold.

Your friends want to go on a weekend trip? You’re not going. You have to study.

Your family wants you over for dinner Friday night? You can’t. You’ve got a scheduled workout and can’t cheat on your diet.

Your co-worker wants to chat after work? You aren’t available. You have to work on your next freelance gig.

There are a lot of time-suckers out there in the world, and it can be difficult to recognize what they are. You don’t have to go to happy hour with your co-workers each time they ask. You have to know when to say no.

My friends didn’t always respect my time when I was working as a freelancer the first time I attempted. This resulted in them calling me to talk about stuff that was *frankly* unimportant in light of the task at hand. Not to mention I was working with the wee bit of time I had before a baby got up from a nap, or a toddler got bored of what they were watching on tv. What did silly old me do? I answered the phone, let them suck up my time, guilt me into hanging out with them as opposed to finishing projects, resulting in some ugly results in my professional life. I’m not afraid to admit it because it’s the truth, and if I can help you avoid it, I’m doing a good job.

Put. Everything. Else. On. Hold.

If you find you do have a moment to engage in something else for a hot second, take it! You will need time to detox and enjoy yourself. But if something is planned and a random opportunity to screw up presents itself, say no. I repeat. Say no. Saying yes once will lead to many yeses later, and a whole lot of disappointment and self loathing down the road.

Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal- a commitment to excellence- that will enable you to attain the success you seek.

-Mario Andretti

Staying On Track

Now you’ve learned that people, money, and time should no longer ruin your dreams. So what do we do now? We stay focused on the goal.

To do that, you need to develop a plan. This ensures you can track your progress, and continue to thrive. Whether this is keeping a journal, having a buddy hold you accountable, or even making a business plan, find something to keep you on track.

I use a combination of resources to keep me focused. My husband is my biggest fan, long-time supporter, and most like-minded friend. He holds me accountable and I do the same for him. In addition, I make sure to read things that keep me in the right mindset. I recommend finding a blog (like this one 😉 ) That resonates with you and making frequent visits to it to keep your mind pumped.

Make sure to surround yourself by like-minded individuals too. Don’t just go it alone. Introvert or not, you need to socialize and have someone you can talk to for support. If finding them in real life posses a problem, then the internet is the next best option. You can connect with plenty of people who are just like you.

If your goal is to be an artist, perhaps you start off by creating and framing a list of steps to that goal. Hang it over your work space, or set it on your nightstand. Then think about the things you want once you’ve achieved that goal, or how life will look.

Find inspirational things and hang onto them somewhere accessible. Change your phone background to something that inspires you to keep pushing, and your desktop too. For instance, if after you become an iconic artist you decide you want to live in Paris, find images of Paris, create a tumblr or free blog where you post images of beautiful homes or flats from Paris, find a pen pal from there and connect with them often, or post pictures of attractions in Paris you want to visit.

Keep your goal in your face at all times to stay focused. The more you start desiring to be in that picture, meet that penpal in person, or live in that beautiful flat, the more you’ll want to get stuff done.

So what are you waiting for? Get started. Your goals are within reach and you’ve been armed with the beginnings for the mindset to do it.

Do you have any suggestions on how to stay on track to your goals or a success story to share? Please comment and let’s have a conversation.

Until next time,