People who achieve their goals share some common personality traits.
Setting and working toward goals give us a sense of direction and fulfillment. A few skills and traits can set you up to achieve your goals.
After being an entrepreneur, practicing Getting Things Done (GTD), and coaching individuals on their goals in life and work, I can share what I have learned.
Let’s look at the personality traits of people who achieve their goals.
1) They know what they want
People who achieve their goals know what they want.
Setting an attainable goal includes having a vision or purpose and clarifying specific outcomes you want to achieve. While the purpose and vision (or definition of wild success) matter, they are not goals.
In addition to the big picture, you need to know what you are working toward. For example, it is not clear enough to say you want to make more money. Generally, there is a plan to achieve the desired outcome or result. If making more money requires booking appointments, which requires calls or emails, then you know that when you sit down to work, you will make calls or do whatever you need to do next.
Some people brainstorm or engage in a reflective process to refine and clarify goals. It is okay to take time and dive deep to set relevant and motivating goals.
People who achieve their goals tend to write them down. Those who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them.
There are apps to track outcomes and priorities, or you can make a list on a piece of paper or in a text file.
Finally, to achieve our goals, we have to break the goals down into actionable steps. We need one action per goal. The main thing is to define new actions as soon as you complete one to know what to do to achieve a goal.
What matters is that you have this clarity, refer to it, and regularly update it.
2) They persist
People achieve their goals with persistence and determination. Most people did not achieve their goals in one day on the first try.
It could take weeks, months, or years to achieve some goals like starting a business, completing a degree, or buying a home. If you have to learn new skills, it takes time to achieve goals.
One time it took me about five years to join the company that I had in mind for my next career move. I even had to create a bridge career in the meantime. This required long-term persistence.
With the bigger picture in mind, those who achieve their goals are persistent and work hard to make these dreams a reality.
People who achieve their goals do not give up easily, as they are resourceful and adapt as needed.
3) They prioritize
People who achieve their goals prioritize well.
Though the bigger picture and reasons why we are working toward a goal are important, they are not enough to help us achieve it. There are competing commitments, other interests, and needs of those around us. So we have to be able to focus and prioritize.
Making time to prioritize may require using an office, leaving the house to work, or setting some office hours in your home office. You may have to work after the kids go to bed. It is okay to close your office door. Let everyone know you are working and would like to not be disturbed for one hour if possible.
There are many tools for prioritization, including the Eisenhower matrix (also known as the urgent-important matrix), a point ranking system, or your gut feeling based on all the work you have on your plate. At a minimum, reflect each week and each day on what is important and what is urgent.
We develop our individual ways of prioritizing and knowing what is truly important to us and how to accomplish it. I like to know the one thing that I want to get done today, and I organize everything around it.
It may work to schedule time to work on the goal if it is something outside of your routine. Prioritizing goals goes a long way to getting results.
4) They are lifelong learners
People who achieve their goals are curious and motivated to learn anything they need to on the way to achieve their goals.
You may need to learn something about the goal to decide to work toward it. Or you may dive in headfirst and find you need to learn a new skill to work toward your goal. Learning helps with our goals, and it also helps with our health by keeping us on our toes and helping our brains work.
We may need to learn more about the field of business we have started. Or we may just be learning a new skill or something for fun. Recently, I have been learning how to help my dog rehabilitate from a cruciate ligament surgery. This has required learning about exercises, nutrition, and more to support her.
A few years ago, I set a goal of doing a triathlon, so I needed to run, ride a road bike, and swim 50 meters safely as fast as I could. I had to train a lot. And I had to learn to do them right after another, swimming, bicycling, and running. That was an achievement in itself. It was a very short triathlon — called a Try a Tri, but I still did it!
Learning usually comes along with working towards goals.
5) They share their goals with others
People who achieve their goals know how to ask for help. They are resourceful. This may mean talking to others about your goals.
Talking to others about our goals keeps them top of mind. It also creates an understanding of what you are trying to do. People may be more supportive if they understand. They can even directly help if you explain what you are doing and what you need.
Talk to the person who serves you coffee, your colleagues, family, and close friends. Sharing goals with people helps us achieve them and hold each other accountable.
Successful people seek help from a coach, friend, mentor, or peer.
People who achieve their goals keep visible reminders of the goals and the progress they make. A reminder could be a picture of a role model, a post-it, or some other way of reminding you and anyone else around you what you are focusing on in your life.
6) They take care of themselves
People who achieve their goals know how to take care of themselves. It can be easy to neglect your health or develop burnout while throwing yourself into a passion. Working to protect your health is one of the best things you can do to help achieve your goals.
This includes physical health, mental and emotional health, and any other aspects of our lives that are important to us, like relationships.
When we take good care of ourselves, we have the energy, mental power, and enthusiasm to work toward our life goals. Taking care could involve lifting weights, cooking meals, cleaning up, or spending time with loved ones.
It takes a lot of effort to create a routine, stay healthy and able, and make time to work on what matters. Working on what matters requires effort for our physical and mental health and mindset.
By taking care of ourselves, we keep in our best shape. This allows us to get up in the morning and start working immediately on our goals. When we start early and organize our day around our priorities, we have time to achieve our goals.
7) They work on their goals every day
People who achieve their goals tend to have an action-oriented mindset. They are disciplined. People who achieve their goals work on them every day. There is at least one thing you will do to achieve your goals today. There may be more than one thing. That is okay.
When we work on our goals daily, we make sure we move closer to completing them.
If we aren’t focused every day, then a day, a week, months, or even a year could go by, and we do not progress toward our dream.
Something outside of our control may take our attention away. If we work toward our goals each day, if we do not get to spend time that one day, we are still in good shape from all the many other days we have taken steps forward.
8) They believe in their goals
Not only do people who achieve their goals know what they want, but they also really care about their goals.
We have to believe in ourselves. The goal might not make sense to anyone else, though it is helpful to have a support system.
The main thing that people who achieve their goals possess is a belief that something more is possible. It may sound crazy, out of the ordinary, or just different to some.
You, in your heart, know this is the right goal and the right thing to focus on.
Sometimes it takes going down one path a few steps before you realize that this is not the path you want to continue down.
When you achieve your goals, you are really motivated.
This means you have a vision, a purpose, or a bigger picture in mind. We all need something that gets us out of bed every day.
It could be building your business, improving your community, or providing a life for your family.
This bigger picture means we care about our goals and are likely to achieve them or something good along the way.
9) They are positive
One of the traits of people who achieve their goals is a positive attitude.
They may have a growth mindset, which helps to achieve goals.
Goal setters think big and stay hopeful about the progress and the chosen goal. A positive mindset bolsters us on hard days to keep working toward our goals.
The positive mindset starts with creating a vision or purpose and continues with following the self-care routine and priorities each morning.
This is a virtuous circle allowing motivation to set and achieve more goals. As we progress toward our goals, we gain more positive energy.
10) They are creative
Achieving goals can require out-of-the-box thinking and getting creative.
Setting goals is really just the beginning. It can be helpful to think of all the aspects of our goals, including potential challenges and resources. We think about what we want, why, how, and what resources we have.
There is a simple process for this called the Natural Planning Model.
Setting goals requires passion and thoughtfulness. To set goals, we project or imagine a desired future state. This may be near or far from what our life looks like now. We can also reassess and reorient as needed.
If you already have a full-time job, a side gig, a passion, or a family, it will require great creativity to make the time, energy, and resources to achieve your goals.
We may have limited time, energy, and money. Yet it is a big dream to open a new business, go to school, or buy a new home.
Whatever the big dream is, we need to get creative and figure out what resources we have and the options for moving toward this goal.
You may wonder how to achieve the goals you have in mind. What if you fail? What if you change your mind?
How about another question – how will I feel if I succeed?
Take some time to think about this, and write it down.
Set aside time every day.
And you will be a person who achieves your goals.
You have already made it this far, so the odds are good that you can achieve even more.