I’m Dr. Hassan, a Board-Certified Physiatrist and Independent Practice Owner. I help physiatrists start and grow their own profitable practices so they can achieve financial independence and live without limits.

Goal setting is the real secret to success in any area of your life. Although setting a goal may sound simple, achieving it is usually another question altogether. Why is that? You will never achieve your goals unless you know exactly what you want, are passionate about your destination, and have a solid, realistic plan of action. This is what makes the difference between nebulous dreams and wishes and truly achievable goals. Many obstacles and challenges will fly right at your face when you’re going after a goal, however. So you’ll need strategies and tools to overcome and beat the odds.

Here are five time-tested methods that will help you achieve the goal-setting success you deserve:

1. Know precisely what your goal is.

Your success will be a measure of your clarity, so the first job is to discover precisely what your goal is. What will achieving that goal look like? Be as specific as possible. After all, an achievable plan cannot be created around a nebulous dream. If your goal is to create a more successful practice, what will that look like? (Here are 8 questions to ask before launching your practice.) Are you thinking in terms of hiring someone else to give you more free time? A particular monthly profit? A specific lifestyle? Regardless of what you want, the best way to get it is to clarify what you want in as much detail as possible. This can be hard work, but you’ll never have the focus required to achieve your goal without a clear mental picture.

2. Be willing to pay the entry fee.

Success takes dedicated planning and effort. In a way, it’s like building a house. In the beginning, all you have is a rough concept, then you develop a complete set of plans, and you’re immediately closer to success. The same is true of creating a better lifestyle or a more successful practice. But there’s always an entry fee to be paid for success. The entry fee of creating more success in your practice may mean less recreational time. Writing your book may require less TV. Being closer to your children may require adjusting your work or social activities. It’s the full glass deal. If your life, your time, is already filled to the top, there’s no room for something new. The entry fee is carving out the time to create that something new.

3. Focus on your goal every day.

I’m sure you probably want to achieve your goal as fast as possible. That’s why a clear mental focus is so critical. Consistent daily focus is necessary to burn in the new neural pathways you need to create your new goal. Without daily focus, the old mental habits that have kept you from your goal will continue to take over. This happens automatically since these old habits replay 24/7, deep in your subconscious mind. The only way to override subconscious anti-success messages is to consciously focus on what you want and build new neural networks. That’s why success is an everyday event. Recommit to your goal every day. Don’t let it take a backseat to the daily tasks and distractions that will try to take over. Life will try to get in your way. Just get and stay on course every day. Focus on your goal and your success.

4. Get passionate.

One of the most powerful tools in your success toolbox is having a real passion for your goal. Why passion? Intense passion and desire for your goal will help you burn in those new neural pathways even faster. Many scientific studies have shown that intense emotion (i.e., passion) is a critical success tool. Plus, intense passion will also help you rapidly override any inappropriate old failure messages stored in your subconscious mind, be more creative in generating ideas and solutions, and find plenty of satisfaction (and even happiness) along the way.

5. Take consistent action.

In many ways, taking action can be the most challenging step. Successful goal achievement is built by taking one small action after another. The word is action. If you commit to taking at least one small step each day, your efforts will add up and make a difference. So avoid sitting back, waiting for that big second when everything will magically happen.

You can create whatever you want in life. The secret is to determine precisely what it is you want, then pursue it passionately. In the end, though, only action counts. You can’t just dream about it. You have to do it. We all have the ability to adapt and achieve our expectations. Through these five steps of successful goal setting, you raise the bar concerning your potential and push yourself to accomplish what you once only wished for.

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I’m Dr. Hassan, a Board-Certified Physiatrist and Independent Practice Owner. I help physiatrists start and grow their own profitable practices so they can achieve financial independence and live without limits. Follow me on social media @DrHassanRehab.