Meeting the goals we set for ourselves is not easy. It takes a tremendous amount of energy, focus, and discipline. If you are like me, you probably have your purpose and priorities all laid out. However, you may often find yourself off track at times. It is easy to become overwhelmed by obstacles and distractions that get in the way. So what is the best way for us to achieve your goals?
45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, yet only 8% are successful in achieving them! Goals can easily be put on the wayside as we get discouraged or struggle to meet them. It may seem difficult, but you can overcome them with this one simple skill.
It is learning is to dust yourself off and pick yourself back up. It is learning to develop resilience. Resilience is the ability to cope, adapt, overcome, and withstand challenges, failure, or crisis.
Sylvester Stallone in the last Rocky movie (for those of you that don’t follow the Rocky series, it was the 6th one) gave some fatherly advice to his son,
“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you’re hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”
I am sure he was talking to himself too in trying to recover from Rocky 5.
The famous football coach Vince Lombardi said the same thing, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”
Resilience is the ability to bounce back stronger and better each time. It is understanding that failure is actually an opportunity to succeed. Resilient people know the difference between failing and being a failure. The former may be inevitable in life, but that doesn’t mean we are the latter. One lesson I have learned is that tough times don’t last, it is tough people who do. It isn’t about life getting easier, but us getting stronger and more resilient.
This is obviously easier said than done. How do you maximize the chances of picking yourself back up? There are two main strategies to follow.
1. Develop High Self-Awareness.
Life happens and it can be unfair. How you respond however is much more important than what happens. It is important to first understand why you do things, your passions, and your values. This will help put things in perspective and give you the motivation you need to get back on your feet. If you know your why, you can endure any how!
Self-awareness is knowing your desires, motives, and character. It is also being honest with yourself on your strengths and weaknesses. You want to understand what energizes and feeds you. What gets you excited? What is something you look forward to everyday? If your goals and resolutions don’t align with your rue purpose, then it may not be worth pursuing.
Developing high self-awareness also helps you understand your weaknesses so you can overcome them, and also your strengths so you can reinforce them. This takes personal reflection and constantly recommitting to your purpose. The best organizations are great not because of one strong charismatic leader, but because of a team that is well rounded with the right people. In order to be well rounded it takes self-awareness to know who should be off the bus, who should be on the bus, and more importantly which seat people need to be in.
2. Be Accountable to Others.
You want to spend time with people who build you up and can encourage you when you fail. They pull with you, pull for you, and pull against you if need be. Studies have shown that having a workout partner greatly increases your chances of working out. Why? Because both can hold each other accountable in helping to make sure that they stay disciplined.
There is a famous proverb that states “As iron sharpens iron, so one sharpens another.” This involves humbling yourself and submitting to others’ advice and mentorship. In addition, you are who you hang out with. One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received is that you are the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with.
One study found that the rich are very careful who they spend time with. They want to be with people that are positive, help them grow, and be a better person. If you are with negative and toxic people all the time, then eventually that will become you! Dave Ramsey, a best-selling author and radio show host, referenced research that shows most people will earn a salary comparable (within +/- 10%) to their closest friends.
If you want to become successful in a certain area of life, such as money, then why would we allow ourselves to be continually influenced by people who haven’t been successful? Get to know and become influenced by successful people, especially those that have overcome difficult times that can encourage and hold you accountable. Everyone wants to be successful and meet their goals. You should never give up and always recommit them. It requires persistent personal reflection to be self-aware, and have the support group to help you stay accountable. This will help you get through the tough times and constantly pick yourself back up. With this skill, it is a only a matter of time before you become part of the 8%!
David S. Chang is an award-winning serial entrepreneur, wealth manager, and author of The Art of Thinking SMART. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and combat veteran. He is an East-West Graduate Degree Fellow and has an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.