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4 Ways to Stretch Yourself and Achieve Your Goals

One of life’s greatest challenges is to effectively manage ourselves and our emotions to achieve what we want to accomplish in life.

The ability to stretch yourself past your comfort zone, and learn to understand your weaknesses is challenging.

For me, I know my biggest weakness is to stay the course. I have to be honest with you, it’s a struggle.

Acknowledging that you struggle with the goals and standards you set for yourself is perfectly fine, as long as you don’t inundate yourself with the mistakes you make or the slip-ups.

Everyone has those lapses in judgment, the key is to accept, let go, and be consistent in moving forward.

This alone allows you to be honest with yourself and allows you to gain strength in knowing who you are.

Remember, it’s not about the accomplishment of a goal but the process of what we become as we strive towards achieving a goal.

In my many years of coaching and consulting others, I’ve learned something very important. People seldom see themselves realistically.

As humans, we size everyone up in the world except ourselves and when we do attempt to be honest with ourselves we are actually harder on others than we are ourselves.

Even when we do something wrong, we believe and try to justify, that our motives were good. We do this in an attempt to let ourselves off the hook.

Many people will use this same justification process over and over before allowing the change that is needed in our life.

So, to be successful in any endeavor we need to learn how to get out of our own way. By using these four tips, you will become more effective in stretching yourself to achieve your goals.

Learn followership if you want to stretch yourself to be successful

Success leaves clues. Everyone that has been successful in life has first learned from someone, understanding that they didn’t know everything.

Successful people surround themselves around others with the same ambitions and goals. Connecting with like-minded people makes everything possible because they have walked where you are going, allows you to learn from their failures, and gives you a better sense of your direction.

The knowledge you will gain from following others who are achieving what you want is essential if you want to stretch yourself and grow.

Growing up with four sisters, it was easy for me to learn how to ask for help and more importantly, to learn humility, and understand that I need help to steer me in the right direction.

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Remember success cannot be achieved unless you take someone or something with you.

Stretch yourself and develop self-discipline

Each one of us is the captain of our ship as it sails through the waves of destiny in our lives. So, we are responsible for our own actions and decisions.

To consistently make good decisions and the right actions, and to refrain from the wrong actions requires self-discipline.

To do or say things we regret, or to miss opportunities that have presented themselves to us without taking action requires massive self-discipline to keep moving forward despite the fear.

One thing I always say to myself when I feel fear creeping into my mind space is, “If it has to be, it’s up to me”.

Meaning no one is going to help me move forward but me. I have to do this, it’s up to me. From there I take one massive step and move forward.

What I’ve learned is once you take that step, everything from that step is easier. With time everything you create builds your self-discipline to push forward despite the fear. You can stretch yourself past the things that make you afraid.

Now, I say this to tell you that fear never leaves you. However, the fear you feel will prepare instead of paralyzing you to move forward. The key here is to develop that self-discipline to do what you should do no matter how you feel about it.

Practice patience 

I know I tend to be impatient. When I get started I am always looking ahead and wanting to move further ahead. Now, that can be a good thing.

Being one step ahead keeps you anticipating and allows you to effectively manage yourself by preparing for the next step.

However, that can also be bad. Being too far ahead of yourself allows you to make mistakes and not be as efficient and effective.

Sometimes, your impatience could be the thing that leads to failure. Practicing patience allows you to fully engage in the moment.

I love to tell my clients to approach every project with “no perceptions, no expectations.” Ensure that you do everything in focus and in the moment and don’t worry about the next step until it is time to take the next step.

Very few worthwhile things in life come quickly. There is no such thing as instant greatness or instant maturity.

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Society has programmed us that we should be getting things done in an instant, and it’s expressed in commercials claiming you can cook an entire meal in five minutes, instant oatmeal, and microwave popcorn.

In today’s society, no one wants to wait for anything, everything has to be faster. Yet, becoming successful doesn’t happen overnight.

Achieving your goals and dreams doesn’t happen like popping something into the microwave. Success is more of a crock pot proposition.

It takes time, but when it comes it is definitely worth the wait. So, what am I saying here? I’m saying that in order to be successful you must first learn to be patient with the process.

It’s not about the fastest, quickest, way to do it. It’s about being honest with yourself, being deliberate in gaining the knowledge and applying what you know.

Success is about enlisting others to keep you on course to fulfill your intentions. You can’t do that by simply reading an article like this.

You have to apply it, make it a habit, and be consistent. It’s kind of like working out. Stretch yourself past what you conceptualize, and take action.

Once you’ve achieved the weight loss or the muscle you want, it’s about maintenance in order to keep the weight off or keep your muscle tone. What you’ll find is that practicing patience will allow everything to happen on time.

Be accountable

Managing yourself teaches you to be honest with yourself. You know your ups and downs and whether or not you can trust yourself to take the next step or process to achieve your goals.

Over the years I’ve read about many people that failed because they thought something would never happen to them, and it did.

They built a false sense of security thinking that they were incapable of making a mistake or losing something. There are two things that you will need to decide right now in order for you to stretch yourself.

  1. I will not trust myself
  2. I will find an accountability partner to allow me to be accountable to someone other than myself

Lack of accountability in your life will lead to problems that will not only manifest themselves in your personal life. They will filter into every aspect of your life as well.

There is an old Chinese proverb stating, “When you see a good man, think of emulating him. When you see a bad man, examine your heart”

Being accountable is a willingness to explain your actions and starts way before taking action. Accountable people welcome advice.

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When we are not being accountable we send out a variety of messages:

  • We don’t want advice
  • Everything is someone else’s fault
  • We are not willing to stretch ourselves and take responsibility

Questions to help you become more effective at stretching yourself

How clearly do you see yourself? List your major goals and objectives. Then, mark them achieved or not achieved. Now, talk to someone you know and respect.

This could be a coach or a mentor and tell them that you are evaluating yourself. Show them the list and ask them what they think based on your achievements and failures.

Where do you need to grow? In which of the above areas we discuss do you need to grow? Self-discipline, followership, or patience. What new book or practice can you take on to develop it? Set up a goal that will require you to use one of the traits or all three.

Lastly, how well do you follow advice? Do you ask for advice and then defend your opinion in order to justify why you decided to do something?

Ask a combination of 5 – 10 friends, colleagues, or family members to evaluate you using the levels we mentioned in this article with each of the following worth the number beside it.

  1. You don’t want advice
  2. You don’t object advice, you listen but don’t apply
  3. You welcome advice
  4. You often follow the advice given.

How to use this to move forward

Average your score and if your average is below 4 you need to improve in this area. Begin enlisting others in your information-gathering process before you make decisions and take action.

Remember the willingness to seek and accept advice is a great indicator of accountability. If you see it early – before you take action – you are less likely to lose focus, get off track, and get discouraged. Most wrong actions come about because people are not being held accountable early enough.

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps you stretch yourself to achieve your goals by managing yourself with these effective tips.

Now it’s your turn…What helps you persevere and bounce back from setbacks? How do you motivate yourself and maintain your focus through difficult situations on a daily basis?

Leave a comment below and share your thoughts and insights. I look forward to connecting with you soon.

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  1. Olanrewaju Olawale

    October 14, 2018 at 10:27 AM

    Thanks for sharing this insight, i have my dream board and my goals are always with me. Keeping track is always a good way of going forward. CHeck and Adjust. Like now. I use to use Calendar to keep my appointments but for the past 3 days, I did not update my calendar. Something is wrong, I am trusting my brain and that’s killing. I have to do my schedules again. Motivating myself start from imaginary. I love to buy stuff but if i don’t have money to buy them, I will say. ‘Hold on, I will buy you soon’ I believe motivation comes from within. I laugh at my sorrows because i know its temporary. Thanks for sharing this piece. I will share it.

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