4 Critical Steps
Champions Use to Set and Achieve Their Goals
What would your
life be like if failure was not an option? Would you like to perform at your
peak more often? What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
Four years after making a decision to begin training for the Olympics, I
made my dream come true. I competed in the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics in
the luge. I went on to compete in the 1992 Albertville Olympics and I just
competed in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics at the age of 39.
How does someone who did not even take up the sport of luge until he was 22
become a Three-Time Olympian? As I tell thousands of people in my speeches,
Iím not a big shot. Iím just a little shot that keeps on shooting. Iím proof
that ordinary people can aspire to achieve extraordinary things if they will
just follow a few simple steps.
Aspire to Achieve: Four Steps to Success
Step 1: Choose a goal
Step 2: See yourself succeeding at your goal.
Step 3: Choose a quality that will help you reach your goal.
Step 4: Create a new habit that will help you achieve your goal.
Step 1: Choose a goal
What changes would
you like to make in your life that excite you just by thinking about them?
What would you love to do? Where do you want to be 10 years from now? What
is your dream?
Ever since I was in the third grade I wanted to be an Olympic Athlete. I
respected the Olympians because they were an example of what I believed in -
they are willing to commit to a goal, willing to risk adversity in the
pursuit of it, willing to fail and at the same time keep trying until they
But it was not
until I was in college and saw Scott Hamilton compete in the Sarajevo games
that I actually made the decision to train for the Olympics.
But just thinking about your goal is not enough. If you want to reach your
goal, you need to make it real - write it down!. Donít worry how you will
make your dream come true at first. Magic happens when you put your goals
down on paper. Writing it down is the first step in turning a dream you
might achieve into a goal you will achieve.
People that Set and Regularly Review their Goals Accomplish 50-100 Times
More than People Who Donít
In 1960, Harvard
Business School did a study of their graduates 20 years after they had
graduated. They found the top 3% moneymakers made as much money as the other
97% put together. The only difference between the two groups was the top 3%
had always written and regularly read their goals. As a result, everything
they did on a day-to-day basis was focused on reaching their goals.
When Tiger Woods was a young boy, he wrote down on a 3x5 card that he
intended to break all of Jack Nicklausí records. Tiger read his card every
night. Jack Nicklaus agrees that Tiger in on track to make it happen.
The most effective way to write your goals down is to take a 3x5 card and on
one side write:
"I intend to (state
your goal) by (date)."
On the other side
of your card write why.
"I intend to
accomplish this because "(state your reasons)"
Write at least
three reasons why you will do it. The more reasons the more you increase
Read your card first thing in the morning EVERY DAY to stay focused on the
objective. Then read your card EVERY NIGHT before turning out the lights so
your subconscious can work all night on ways to make it happen.
Step 2: See yourself succeeding at your goal.
Several times a day
close your eyes and for a couple of minutes vividly imagine what itís going
to feel like when you achieve your goal. Really get into it. Feel it as if
it were really happening Ė right now! Get excited! Your subconscious does
not know the difference between imagining it and it really happening. By
doing this, you become passionate about your desire, your belief becomes
unshakeable and you become unstoppable.
I constantly imagined what it was going to be like when I walked into the
Olympic Stadium at the Opening Ceremonies. I imagined it in great detail. I
could see the crowds waving at me. I could see the flags and the balloons. I
could hear the roar of the crowd, the fireworks, the Olympic Hymn. I could
feel the cold wind blowing snow onto my cheeks. I could feel the tears of
joy streaming down my face. I could feel the goose bumps running up my back
and over my shoulders. I thought about it all the time, while jogging, while
lifting weights, even in the shower. It was my dream - but it became my
goal! And when I finally entered the Olympic arena, it was just the same
-only 100 times better.
Seeing yourself succeeding is an important step because imagining yourself
succeeding will keep you from quitting when the going gets tough Ė and it
Seeing yourself succeeding is fun! You can feel the excitement of reaching
your objective Ė before you get there. You will feel victorious. You will
feel great. But donít wait until you get there to practice feeling
successful Ė imagine being successful now!
Step 3: Choose a quality that will help you reach
Have you ever
looked at someone and wished you could be like them? Everyone has at one
time or another. The good news is that if you notice a quality in someone
else, you have some of that quality in yourself. You just need to develop it
further. "It takes one to know one". Any quality you admire in someone else
is a quality you have Ė you just need to practice it!
So step number three in reaching your goal is to choose the main quality you
think you will need to reach your goal. Is it Boldness? Creativity?
Enthusiasm? Patience? Leadership?.. ..
In my case it was Perseverance. To get good at the luge, I knew I was going
to have to endure many crashes and injuries and simply refuse to give up. So
I made a decision to become perseverant. To never quit. Someone has said,
"The main difference between a success and a failure is that the success
tried one more time." I decided to persevere in trying one more time.
Step 4: Create a new habit that will help you
achieve your goal.
Good habits usually
donít just happen. You need to develop a specific plan for creating a new
habit. Itís simply a matter of choosing an action that helps develop your
quality, deciding when to practice that habit, knowing that you are going to
have to repeat it many times and then give yourself a reminder.
was the most important quality I needed to have to reach my goal, I needed
to find ways to develop my perseverance. I had to get good at "not
quitting". So I decided to become an expert on perseverance. I read books
about people who had faced great challenges and refused to give up. I got
inspired that if they could Ė I could!
I made a decision that no matter how bad a crash I had, I would get back on
my sled. I had a picture of a luge athlete riding a sled. I used that
picture to remind me to get back on my sled.
My action step, my
habit, was going to be getting back on my sled, after every crash, no matter
what. I practiced getting on my sled more than most. I did it when I didnít
want to. I did it when it hurt. This was the habit I was going to develop.
Sometimes, after a painful crash, Iíd have to work at it. I would have to
walk up and down the track for a long time telling reminding myself things
like "Iím a winner. Iím going to the Olympics. I never quit. Iím getting
back on my sled. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. No matter
how bad it gets, Iím going to make it if I donít quit! I never give up!" I
thought of that picture of the Olympian on a luge sled. Eventually, I'd get
to the point where I could walk up to the coach and say "Coach, Iím ready to
get back on my sled."
And it worked! On the road to the Olympics, many athletes much faster than
me, much more talented than me, chose to quit along the way. How do you
think they felt when they watched the Olympics on TV? The price of getting
your dream is big but the pain of regret is hundreds of times bigger.
Create a habit, something you do every day, to develop that quality you need
to reach your goal.
You can do it. No matter what your dream is, you can make it happen if you
follow these four simple steps: 1) Choose a goal, 2) see yourself
succeeding, 3) choose a quality, and 4) create a habit to develop your
quality. Commit to these four steps.
The difference between people is there are those who are interested and
there are those who are committed. A key to success in life is going from
being just interested to being fully committed. Once you are committed you
will produce results. At the point of commitment, you mentally "burn all the
bridges" and you do whatever it takes to make it happen. THATíS when you
Commit to these four steps and you too will make your dreams come true!
What is your goal?
Close your eyes and
vividly imagine what it will feel like, taste like, smell like, look like
when you realize your goal. DO ITÖNOW!
What quality do you
need to develop to realize your goal?
What new habit will
you develop to reach your goal?