I made a point in 2019 to take control of my business. I had a great 2018 but I know I can do more — and do better — to reach a higher level of success. Whether it is for your professional life too or for your personal one, these next five tips will help you reach your goals faster, and in a very satisfying way!

1) Have a clear goal in mind

If it’s money-related, write how much money you want to have instead of “I want more money.” For example, you could write “In February, I want to have an income of X amount.” Writing “I want to lose weight” won’t make it. Instead, create a statement that sounds like ” I want to lose 20 pounds.” It is something clear that is measurable.

What’s the deadline? We have to be realistic. Losing 20 pounds in a week would be neither realistic or healthy! What can I do today — and the next day — to get back in shape? Maybe eat healthier, sleep more, go out for a run or go to the gym. We now have tangible to get us working toward our goal and a sense of time — because we don’t want it to take a lifetime!

2) Break it down

A bigger goal can often feel overwhelming. If you’re just like me, I tend to freeze and procrastinate the heck out of it when a task seems too big to accomplish. By writing down our end goal AND all the little steps we can do every day to get to it, things are much more encouraging. Instead of feeling discouraged by what seems to be a mountain, I get small victories by taking concrete small steps toward the top every day.

And by the way, I LOVE writing to-do lists. Checking each and every task off throughout the day is very satisfying and makes me feel proud or every little achievement. As it has already been said: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!”

3) Write it where you can see it often

I’ve been chasing a professional goal regarding my standing in a group of fellow photographers for the last three months. I wrote my goal on my bathroom’s mirror in November and it stayed there until I reached the deadline (January 31). Every time I went to the bathroom (which is at least three times a day …) it was always a reminder of what I wanted to achieve and stayed in the back of my mind, even if I wasn’t working on it at that moment. My brain was always in an unconscious What-can-I do-to-achieve-this-goal mode. And it worked! I wanted to make it into the top eight of the group — to earn an award — and not only did I achieved it, but I made it into one of the top four. From now on, I always write my next goals on my bathroom’s mirror, even the ones that seem a little too far of a stretch. As the days go on, the more I look at it and the more I start to believe it might actually be attainable.

4) Take action

All of this sounds pretty cool but nothing will work unless we do. Once we know what we want to get, when we want to get it and how we’re going to get it, we have to take action. That is perhaps the most important point of all. I used to make great plans on paper … and never did anything in order to realize it. It takes time, responsibility, discipline and a sense of urgency to take action. And that ain’t easy. We could do so many other things. So many. To take action is a choice that we have consciously to make for ourselves every day.

5) Become accountable

It might be a coincidence (probably not). My friend and Photofocus editor Kevin Ames called me yesterday to catch up. We talked for several minutes. I told him I had a goal to write a certain amount of articles this month (it was already written on my mirror). I became instantly accountable to him because I told him that goal and I knew he was now expecting it from me. The conversation went on. He gave me ideas, encouraged and inspired me about new topics — as he always does.

I also plan on hiring marketing professionals to help me grow my business. Investing money is also a powerful way to get ourselves accountable. Obviously, we’ll want our investment to be profitable. We will be more likely to do whatever they ask from us — and in a much faster way — than if we did it by ourselves.

The not-so-secret secret

Let’s get it straight, I didn’t reinvent the wheel. Those principles have been used and thought for ages all around the world. The only difference for me has been to DO IT. Instead of saying “I’ll take care or it tomorrow” or even better “It’ll take care of itself” (yeah right!) I started to assume my responsibilities. As Tony Robbins once said: “The path to success is to take massive, determined action.” So, are you ready to do the same?