Recently, I published a post to ActusBlog, ‘Wants Don’t Get Met’, which referred to creating a new standard instead of setting goals. As simple as it seems, you can’t just say, “Here’s my new standard” and expect anything to change. It’s an important start, but from there, you need to set a course of actions to achieve that standard. Many of you reading this plan out your day, sometimes the night before. I’ve tried to do this throughout my career. Like anyone, I have days where my list of things to achieve looks very incomplete. Do this too often and you’re going to find yourself frustrated or even discouraged. With the ‘noise’ we all live with, such as too many e-mails, constant buzzing of our Blackberries or other mobile devices, Internet surfing and about a million other distractions, it sometimes makes it hard to stick to plans like this. I try to break my day into segments where I focus on certain tasks and try to avoid distractions. I have always been someone who tries to be responsive to everyone, but often being ‘too responsive’ can get in the way of other obligations. Therefore, it’s important to be as structured as you can to avoid starting a list of incomplete items.

When looking at standards and things you want to change, going beyond goal setting sometimes requires some major shifts in thinking. For me, I decided to identify the items I need to change to move closer to the new standards I identified. Simple is always better, if you really hope to implement change. I create a short bulleted list that I try adhere to daily. I also try to account for flexibility. For example, my goal is to start my day with working out. However, as an entrepreneur and business owner, as well as being a new father, my work day is far from a 9-5 situation. Many days, I stay up late and the next morning, I wake up early (this happens far too often), so it may not be realistic to work out in the morning. Therefore, I allow myself the flexibility to workout either in the morning or at night. I also let myself have one day off. Friday is my break day, but this week, I took Thursday night off and worked out Friday instead. My list of success strategies includes steps I take every day, all focused toward that new standard. A standard requires you to believe you’d accept nothing less for yourself. When you’re not quite there, it can create some interesting internal challenges. For me, when I divert from my plan, it causes some major guilt. I do what I can to avoid that feeling, which makes the plan easier to follow. When you establish a mind-set that you’ll accept nothing less for something, it can be very empowering.

For a success strategy plan, create your daily, weekly, or ongoing plan and simplify it to a few points. From there, print it off and keep it where you can see it. Mine is right by my monitor where I can see it every day. I also have it on my phone and laptop, so it is always available wherever I am.

Change is hard, but becoming the person you want to be is worth it. What standards are you setting and what steps are you taking to reach them? We’d love to hear about your success.

Photo Credit: Nelson Davis at MRA ISC 2014