keys to achieve goals

The 3 Fundamental Keys to Achieving Any Goals You Desire

Goal setting is no doubt one of the most powerful tools that anyone can use to achieve greatness in their lives. Too bad that most people don’t use it. And even if they did, they fail to produce the results they want and hence, fail to reach their goals. The main reason is that most people lack the 3 fundamentals that transform their behaviors to achieve their goals.

You see, setting goals or writing them down is easy. The difficult part is in the execution.

You can attend seminars, read hundreds of books, or learn as much as you can about success and reaching your goals, but if your behaviors don’t change, nothing will happen.

Reaching your goals is an inner game. You need to transform your behavior so that you will take the necessary and make progress on your goals.

Writing down your goal to make a million dollars a year will not materialize if you don’t act on the goal itself. The key is in execution.

And in order to execute, you need a behavioral change.

If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you will get the same results you have always got.

If you’re overweight and you decided to lose the extra fat on your body, you need to go through some behavioral changes. You need to change your inner values, how you see yourself, and you need to change your belief about yourself.

If you don’t, guess what, you will never stick to your plan. You will make excuses and procrastinate and don’t take action.

But when you alter your self-image and you see yourself as someone thin and not someone fat; when you change your belief to think that you can easily lose the extra pounds; when you value health more than anything else; you become a different person.

And this is when the magic happens. Suddenly, you become 100% committed to your goal. You don’t make excuses anymore and you put in all your energy and focus on your target, which is to lose weight and become slim and fit again.

As a result, you will willingly and automatically work on your goals. You hit the gym 3 times a day and you start to eat healthily. You become conscious about your diet and what you put into your mouth.

This is the behavioral change that I’m talking about.

And when you change your behavior, you can certainly achieve any goal that you set.

Therefore, if you want to reach your goals, produce extraordinary results and be successful in life, learn to alter your behaviors.

And to do so, you need these 3 fundamentals:

1. Vision

Do you know why most people don’t have the motivation and the drive to stick to their goals and take consistent action over the long-term? Well, Steve Jobs has the answer:


“If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.”

I bet you have heard about the story where John F. Kennedy visited NASA, he saw a janitor mopping the floor. And so Kennedy approached the janitor and asked what was he doing. To Kennedy’s surprise, the janitor said, “I’m helping to land a man on the moon.”

This is the kind of vision you need to have.

See yourself working for something meaningful. When you are laying bricks to build a wall for a house, you don’t want to see your work as laying bricks nor building a wall, you want to see yourself building a beautiful home for a good family.

When you see yourself working for a bigger purpose than yourself, your vision becomes meaningful. And when your vision is meaningful and impactful, the vision will pull you forward.

Create a Meaningful and Impactful Vision

In his best-selling book, Give and Take, Adam Grant conducted a study about a fund-raising activity for scholarships in a university.

Grant divided the participants into 3 groups and discovered that the participants who are required to read stories from scholarship recipients about how the scholarships have changed their lives, tend to work harder with improved performance.

The participants saw a 155% increase in the weekly pledges and successfully raised 143% more fund for scholarships.

Not only that, Grant also found that swimming pool lifeguards who read stories about saving drowning swimmers before they started their job were 21% more active at their job.

In other words, when you are working toward an impactful cause, you are more likely to work harder and stick to your plan rather than feeling lazy to act on your goals.

Let me give you my own example. As you know, I’m a blogger and I write publish articles to this blog every week, without fail.

And one thing that impacts me the most and that continues to drive me forward is receiving positive comments and feedback from my readers.

When someone emails me and let me know how much my content has inspired them and helped them, I feel empowered. I feel inspired and become even more motivated to work harder to build a better blog with even better content.

This is what I mean by creating a meaningful and impactful vision.

Like what Adam Grant has discovered, when you are working for a bigger purpose than yourself, when you know your work is impacting other lives, you are more willing to work harder for your vision.

Therefore, if you want to improve your work performance and be consistently pulled by your vision, make it meaningful and impactful. Do it now.

If you want to learn more about finding your vision in life, read this:

Vision: Why It Is Important For Success and How to Find Your Vision

2. Belief

The second fundamental you must master is your belief system. You see, a lot of people set their goals to earn a million dollars or to become a millionaire. I know that we all want to be rich, but the problem is that do you truly believe you can be rich? Do you really believe you can become a millionaire?

Most people don’t. They just want it on the outside, but deep inside them, they don’t really believe they can become a millionaire, or even want it.

When you don’t believe in whatever goals you set, you will never reach them.

The reason is simple, will you go all out and do your best if you don’t believe in something? The answer is obvious – you won’t.

It is only when you truly believe that you can achieve it and that you want it, you are willing to go all out and become 100% committed to achieving it.

Think about it, why do people buy lotteries? Why do people take part in lucky draws to win prizes?

Well, because they believe that they stand a chance to win. If they don’t believe that they have a chance to win, they will never bother buying the lotteries or taking part in any lucky draw.

You’re not going to win the prize, so why bother taking part in the lucky draw, right?

Develop a Concrete Belief System for Your Goals

Before 1954, nobody has ever run a mile in 4 minutes. Doctors and physicists believed that it is physically impossible to finish a mile under 4 minutes.

And because nobody believed that it is possible, no one even tries. It is humanly impossible, so why try, right?

One day, a guy named Roger Bannister came along with the goal to break the record. And he believed he could do it. And so he did. He finished a mile in 3:59.4, just under 4 minutes.

But what is even more interesting is not that Roger has broken the record, for centuries, no one has ever run a mile within 4 minutes, yet, after Roger broke the record, within 3 years, there were 20 other runners also broke the record. They completed the mile even faster than Roger’s time.

Such is the power of your belief system.

Notice the excuses you used each day. Ask yourself, “why are you not successful?” or “why you still don’t hit your goals yet?” What answers do you give yourself?

  • “It is too difficult.”
  • “The economy is too slow.”
  • “I’m waiting for the capital to start my own business.”
  • “The market is too competitive.”
  • “Too many people are doing it.”
  • Etc.

Whatever ‘reasons’ you give yourself, those are the excuses. And if you believe in your own ‘reasons’, you will never achieve your goals.

You need to change your belief and get rid of those that dis-empower you.

For instance, if you think that the market is too competitive and that is why you’re not making many sales, think again. Are there any other businesses or people who are doing much better than you in the same industry? Do people still succeed despite a weak economy and strong competition?

Remember this powerful quote from Jack Canfield:

jack canfield quote

“For every reason it’s not possible, there are hundreds of people who have faced the same circumstances and succeeded.”

It’s not about the market, the competition, the economy, or your friends, your spouse, your capital, etc., it’s about what you choose to believe.

Thus, get rid of beliefs that don’t help you and adopt those that empower you.

I strongly suggest you read my previous article to learn more about how to get rid of limiting beliefs and build empowering ones:

Mental Conditioning: How Most People Get Trapped By Limiting Beliefs

3. Purpose

Why do you think some people are so committed to their goals that they’re willing to do whatever it takes to achieve them? On the other hand, some are totally not committed to their goals at all. They make excuses and they choose not to take action.

The answer is – purpose.

We all have a different purpose in doing what we do. When a purpose is strong enough, we’ll do it no matter what. On the contrary, if the purpose is weak, we choose to procrastinate whenever we face some difficulties.

Take blogging as an example. Do you know that there are hundreds of blogs created each day and thousands of them are inactive? The blogger started their blogs with high hopes and goals, but their purpose is not strong enough to drive them through all the challenges.

As a result, most bloggers abandon their blogs and they don’t update them anymore. Only those with a strong and empowering purpose continue to work hard for their blogs.

It’s the same everywhere. Look at Facebook pages and YouTube channels. A lot of them are being abandoned by their creators and they are not active anymore.

The same goes for your goals. You need to have a strong and empower purpose to drive you. Without a strong purpose, you will never work through the difficulties and persist until you succeed.

Having a vision and believing you can do it is not enough, you need to have a clear purpose to support you too.

This is what Napoleon Hill said:

napoleon hill quote

“There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.”

It is your definiteness of purpose and your burning desire that will determine your success.

Without a strong purpose for the things you want, you will never have the desire to achieve it. This is why most people give up on their goals. They fail to persist through hard times.

Build a Strong and Empowering Purpose

So why do you do what you do? Why do you want to achieve your goals? Your “why” says a lot about your desire.

If your purpose is weak, highly likely, you’re going to quit when the storm hits. So how do you build a strong and empowering purpose?

I believe there are 2 ways of building a strong purpose:

1. Your purpose must be emotional

Let me ask you this, can you remember what you had for dinner on 19th February last year? Or even what you had for dinner last Tuesday?

Chances are, you don’t remember it. You can’t recall what you had for dinner. Unless 19th February happens to be your birthday, you will never remember your meal or how your day went like.

The point is this – when something is emotional to you, you will connect with you better. Do you remember September 11th? This is an emotional day for most Americans.

You see, you must make your purpose emotional. When your why is emotional, you will connect to it better, tend to remember it better, and hence, create a more powerful purpose.

So, write down your why for your goals and then make them emotional.

2. Your purpose must be exciting

Are you looking forward to work on your goals? Do wake up with enthusiasm or do you prefer to sleep more? How do you feel when you think about your goals? Do you feel exciting or do you feel lazy and boring?

When your goal is exciting, you will be more looking forward to achieving it.

Unfortunately, most people’s goals are not exciting at all. They don’t feel the enthusiasm when they talk about their goals. They don’t look forward to achieving them too.

And then they wonder why they fail to find the motivation to work on their goals.

If this is describing you, you need to inject excitement to your goals. Make them exciting that you will want to jump out of bed and work on them.

Here’s what Tony Robbins says about goals:

Tony Robbins quote

“People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals – that is, goals that do not inspire them.”

Hence, make your goals and your purpose of achieving them exciting. Let the excitement drives you and motivates along the journey.

Master Yourself to Master Your Goals and Succeed in Life

Before you win your goals, you must win your inner game. You must align your goals with your vision, your belief system, and your purpose.

Remember what I said earlier? To reach your goal, you must commit to taking consistent action even when you don’t feel like it. In other words, you need a behavioral change.

And to initiate your behavioral change, you must alter your inner values, self-image, and your beliefs.

This is why you must create a meaningful and impactful vision, develop a concrete belief system that works for you and your goals, and build empowering purpose to drive you forward, day-in and day-out.

Success Starts with You

I hope this article will enlighten you and help you think about why your goals are not working for you. In fact, it is not that your goals are not working, but rather, you are not working for your goals.

To achieve something that you have never achieved before, you need to become someone you have never become before.

This explains the importance of changing and transforming yourself in order to reach the goals you desire.

I would like to end this post with one of my favorite and meaningful quotes from Lao Tzu:

lao tzu quote

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.”

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8 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Great article. I have written goals but I don’t achieve them because I don’t really change my behavior to ensure I get things done properly.
    Read books like but recently stunned by 2books viz.’Measure what Matters’ by John Doerr and now reading ‘ The 4 Principles not Execution’ by Chris McChesney &Sean Covey. Changing with immediate effect.
    Seen my mistakes

  2. this really amazing
    because simple issues are the ones that makes us fail to make it in life.
    such as mindset, behavior change, believe in yourself, inspiring goals set, prejudice over something.
    thank you shawn lim for motivation

    1. I’m happy to hear this. You’re right, success starts with you. Change your mindset, your behavior, etc, and things will change. 🙂

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