Work + Goals = Success

Setting goals means that at some point you’re going to have to employ the dreaded “w” word – work. Goals don’t just happen. The best thing to do is change your attitude toward work. When work ceases to be “work,” we love it. The other side of this coin is that when laziness ceases to be enjoyable, we come to avoid it.
We humans are pleasure-seeking organisms. We always want to have the reward without the work. Unfortunately this is a very strong emotional impulse! It’s easy to give in today – but suffer regret tomorrow by being right where you were yesterday. It’s easy to justify laziness (we can talk ourselves into practically anything!), but if you want great results, you’re going to have to get tough with yourself.

Always remember it’s just as easy to cultivate good habits as it is to cultivate bad habits. The good habits are the ones that move you in the right direction. We (the pleasure seekers) tend to associated good habits with work, and bad habits with pleasure. But I hope you can see how destructive this is.

Think about your goals and get fired up again. Feel the passion. And then, give your goals a whole-assed approach! A half-assed approach means you’re “working” toward your goals by: doing the work that’s easy and fun, but only until you don’t feel like it any more; by justifying putting off certain tasks because you think they’re hard or unpleasant. Well, of course you know I’m going to say this – a half-assed approach is going to get you half-assed results! Engage both cheeks for best results!

  1. Set your standards high. Have some pride in what you do and really rise to your potential. Don’t waste your energy on busywork! Work in short bursts of intense focus rather than slogging through an entire day full of daydreaming, distractions and half-assed efforts.
  2. Do the work that showcases your talents and skills. Delegate the rest and don’t waste time doing things you’re not good at. If you’re a photographer who hates sitting at the computer editing and manipulating images and you think you have to do it all… why? In the long run it’s cheaper to hire someone who loves that sort of thing, so that you can focus your energies on what you love and what you’re good at – taking incredible photographs.
  3. Which brings us to point 3. As much as humanly possible, do what you love. Do a little more of what you love this week than you did last week. And next week, do a little more than you did this week. Ever notice that doing what you love doesn’t feel like work, even if it’s mentally or physically extremely demanding? It’s fun, right?
  4. Keep raising the bar. Don’t get complacent when you learn a skill. Improve on it. Set even higher standards for yourself as you progress.
  5. Commit to your high standards. Be selective about the company you keep, the situations you’re in, the work you do – if they’re not aligned with your goals, set them free.
  6. Embrace “kaizen” – the principle of continuous improvement. Work smarter, not just harder. “What can I do this time to improve on what I did last time?” Even small improvements add up. Do your best, and keep improving on that.
  7. Keep motivation and self-esteem high by delivering high value, and don’t be a martyr by giving more than you receive. The ideal is a fair exchange of value and compensation. Put yourself – your highest self – into your work and don’t reject receiving. This may require some digging into deeply-seated beliefs about scarcity, lack and self-worth. The easiest way to feel good about receiving fair compensation is to respect your work. Ask yourself, “would I buy this?” If you know you’re not doing your best, subconsciously you will reject abundance because of our hard-wired standards of fairness.
  8. Make a bigger contribution today than you did yesterday; and make tomorrow’s contribution bigger than today’s.
  9. Steve Pavlina said it best: “On the surface it may appear that hard work is in conflict with freedom. But the truth is that in order to extract real value from your freedom, you must make a serious effort. Freedom is a blank canvas. Hard work makes it a masterpiece.”

Working toward what you want, and doing work you love, does not feel like work. It feels like PURPOSE. That is the mind-set that will allow you to achieve great things.

Inspired by Steve Pavlina’s blog at

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