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Three Ingredients You Need to Achieve Any Goal

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Be it a career switch, passing the CFA exams or targeting a job promotion - we all have career and life goals that we want to achieve. So why is it so difficult for some? 

From observations of my personal experiences and other peers, I hope to share with you some collective wisdom that I think forms the recipe for success.

Why is it difficult to achieve goals? What can I do about it?

1. Unrealistic expectations

It's completely normal to feel overwhelmed at the task at hand, getting from where you are now to where you wanna be. But what's completely wrong to assume is that the change will happen instantly, overnight. This is how you get stuck in the right camp below, paralysed, get nothing done and give up on your goals.

I partly blame the media for this perception. All the inspiring success stories you read about sounds awesome and immediate, not revealing the years of blood, sweat and tears taken, just because it's boring. A 30-second ad, or 1,000-word article can hardly do justice to summarize the hard work and effort taken so far. 

What you need to do is acknowledge that success is a gradual process. Take baby steps now, it's risk free and you'll eventually reach your goal! Be the guy in the left hand side camp, keep experimenting and move things along - you'll start seeing things happen your way.

2. Procrastination

Probably the largest reason for failure, as it's just human nature to stay in our own comfort zone. I've learned tough and expensive lessons for just being in the status quo and let the world of opportunities pass me by. Don't let that happen to you.

Embrace the uncertainty, get used to feeling slightly uncomfortable. In fact, trying to do things that scare me a little each day has been my modus operandi - it probably means you're trying something new and taking action towards your goal! So, just ask an industry expert out for coffee, start (and stick to) your fitness regimen or join courses to sharpen your skills today.

Just start, just do, no excuses. And you'll get there eventually.

3. Lack of Drive

Once you start taking baby steps towards your goal, the only thing stopping you from achieving them eventually is if you give up. Unless it's for a good reason - e.g., a conscious decision to attain a related but different goal - the commitment to follow through is all that separates the winner from the losers. Life's a marathon after all, those who persevere will eventually cross the line! 

I hope you found this useful. I'd love to hear more about your goals and how you plan to achieve them. Announcing your goals publicly to the friendly community is one way of creating accountability and sticking to your goals. So let's hear it! 

–300 Hours

This article was reposted with permission from 300 Hours, a site dedicated to CFA candidates and charterholders.

As an impartial, nonprofit forum for the finance and banking industries NYSSA encourages discussion and debate among its member and other professionals. Commentaries, however, should be taken as the sole opinion of the author(s) and not of NYSSA. If you would like to submit a commentary to the Finance Professional's Post, send your article to the editor.

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