As an experienced entrepreneur and avid business strategist, I enjoy bringing new ideas and creative concepts to life for aspiring business clients through step-by-step action plans and execution strategies. The gratification I receive from being able to contribute to the success of such innovative people is as rewarding as my personal success.

Ironically, I recently found myself contemplating the ingredients of my own ‘recipe for success’. I asked myself, “What did I do to get where I am today?” What began as an exercise in curiosity, resulting in my version of “How to achieve any goal”. The following five condensed steps have been the keys to my progress in life and business.

Don’t mistake a wish for a goal.

A wish floats for lack of foundation and substance…limitless and free, and most importantly, void of destination. To become a goal, a wish must take on purpose, definition, and clarity. Only then can it be measured, monitored, and ultimately achieved. If your wish is worthwhile, give it the purpose it deserves. In other words, be clear on what you want and exactly by when you need it. You also need to be clear about your motivation. If what you strongly desire has a strong, compelling reason why you want to achieve it, then you will reach your goal faster. Your motivation will promote accountability.

Plan the work and work the plan.

Learn the difference between strategy and tactics. To achieve any goal, you need to sit down and think it through; the strategy, the processes, the daily tasks and the repeated actions that must be carried out to push you toward that one big goal. You need to commit your plan to writing, then, prioritise your most important projects, break down projects into action plans, and be clear on the resources required to achieve them. Clarify who is accountable for delivering the actions, the step by step process for achieving the desired results and the deadline to complete each step that will culminate in the accomplishment of your goal. 

See the forest, but hug the trees.

While it’s critical to maintain a clear vision of your intended goal, it’s equally important that you embrace the individual challenges…the trees along your way.  Master the repetitions; they lead to consistency. They form useful habits and momentum that allow you to take future steps with clarity. The result, you’ll find, is that your journey begins to motivate you as much as your original goal did. Without the trees, there would be no forest. Keep your eyes on the big picture but learn to take tiny little steps every day.

Be a baker, not a cook.

Ask someone who knows their way around the kitchen, and they’ll tell you the difference. Cooking invites experimentation. A dash of this and a splash of that to suit a particular taste. The result can be very different from the original recipe, and yet be just as delicious. Baking, on the other hand, relies on exact measurements of specific ingredients, introduced in a particular sequence, at the right time, for the recipe to turn out well (sound like SMART goals?). To further clarify, I had two restaurants with many cooks and bakers. I found myself paying stricter and closer attention to my cooks every day because I wanted them to stick to the recipe to ensure consistency in our finished products. I had no problems with my bakers because they know that if they don’t follow the recipes, their pastries might not come out well. The same goes for our business goals. You need to develop a winning process, turn it into a system and stick to the system unless you come across a better system; don’t change what is already working.

Align, design and put in the time.

In other words, get with your program and stick to it! If you’ve made it to this step, you’ve come too far to let it all fall apart because of unnecessary clutter and lack of focus. Design your environment to put you in the best position to succeed. As much as possible focus on the one crucial thing that gets you closer to your goals, eliminate chaos and distractions. With a clear path, it’s much easier to prioritize and commit to your plan.

So, there you have it… my personal take on how to accomplish any goal in five steps. This won’t come as news, but there are thousands of other plans that have worked for millions of other people, just like you and me. All vary – some slightly, others significantly, but they ALL have at least one critical component in common – the commitment of individuals to success!