How to Visualize Success and Achieve Your Goals

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Success Principles" by Jack Canfield. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you constantly seek ways to learn new things and develop yourself? What areas of your life do you want to improve in?

Working to develop yourself and become successful means that you don’t stop once you’ve achieved one goal—you’re constantly improving yourself or your work. 

To develop yourself, try the following tips to implement improvements in your life.

The Importance of Personal Growth

The world is changing rapidly. Working to improve and grow is a necessity for successful people. But if you let the fast pace of the world dictate the pace at which you improve yourself, you may feel like you’re barely keeping up; creating changes in yourself takes time. Working systematically on small changes can help develop yourself and improve your work.

Even Slight Improvements Make a Difference

In The Slight Edge, author Jeff Olson discusses the outsized impact that making small changes can have on your life. For example, doing slightly more of something, like substituting a glass of water for your daily soda, can save you hundreds of dollars a year and spare you thousands of calories. Similarly, watching one hour less of TV each day adds up to 365 hours that you could use another way, like improving your cross-stitch skills. 

Decide How You’ll Improve and Track Your Progress

Try the following steps to implement improvements in your life:

1. Decide What You Want” and pick one to work on. For example, you may want to improve your strength and flexibility and commit to practicing yoga twice per week. Whatever your interest, decide what you want, and make a plan to reach it.

2. Use a scoring system to track your progress. Scoring yourself allows you to evaluate whether you’re improving or have succeeded. For example, to deal with his hectic schedule, Vinod Khosla, the founder of Sun Microsystems, made a goal of getting home to eat dinner with his children at least 25 nights per month. 

Keeping score can work for your company, too. Some companies use scoring metrics called “critical drivers”—specific, positive outcomes—to work toward important benchmarks and improvements. If a critical driver reaches or exceeds a certain threshold, it results in increased revenue and profits for the company. For example, a critical driver for an insurance company might be the number of customers who are insured with more than one type of insurance. Learning to identify these drivers and develop a plan to improve them increases your company’s success.

Surround Yourself With Nurturing, Successful People

In Part 4, you’ll learn to prime yourself for success by finding people who can support your endeavors and developing new ways of thinking about yourself and your efforts.

Who You Spend Time With Matters

If you spend a lot of time with people who stress you out, aren’t successful, or aren’t supportive, you’re less likely to achieve success. Aim to spend time with people who uplift you, support and nurture your dreams, have a positive attitude, and are successful.

Identify the Negative People in Your Life

To start surrounding yourself with supportive people, identify those who are negative and holding you back. Here’s how:

  1. Write down all of the people you spend time with regularly. Consider family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, people in your church, and so on.
  2. Write a (+) next to people if they’re positive and support you or a (-) if they’re negative and don’t support you. Besides not being supportive, negative people like to complain, and they see themselves as perpetual victims. You might notice that most of the negative people belong to one group. For example, maybe your coworkers have toxic attitudes.
  3. Spend less time with the negative people. Instead, surround yourself with positive people.

Find Successful People

You can find supportive, successful people in many places. Try the following:

  • Volunteer for leadership roles in an organization you care about.
  • Join civic groups like Rotary International.
  • Join a country club.
  • Attend conferences in your field.
  • Join professional clubs or societies in your field.

Learning at the Sauna: John Assaraf’s Story

John Assaraf is an entrepreneur of many trades, from real estate to virtual tour software. But before he became successful, he learned a lot from spending time in the men’s sauna at the local health club where he worked. There, successful men talked about successes and failures with their companies, as well as with their families and health. Assaraf learned that obstacles are part of life and running a business, but with perseverance, it’s possible to find solutions. He also learned that it was possible to build a successful life whatever your race, ethnicity, or educational history.

Develop Yourself: The Importance of Personal Growth

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  • The 67 principles to help anyone achieve their goals and dreams
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Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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