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How to Attain Your Goals
by Creating Your Life’s Opus

By Douglas Vermeeren

Most people want to live a fulfilling and rewarding life. That’s why there’s no shortage of self-help materials on how to set goals and design an ideal life. However, even with the plethora of information available on how to create the life of your dreams, many people still feel dissatisfied and unable to reach key goals they’ve outlined for themselves. What are these people missing?

The key is to know how to turn your goals into performance. A great analogy is to think in terms of creating your own life’s Opus. Why an Opus? Because that’s what you are capable of. Some dictionaries define an Opus as the most brilliant composition a music composer creates in a lifetime. You are your own instrument and you create your personal symphony by what you do in your life. Realize that you have unlimited potential and that anything is possible. Your personal symphony can be grand. It can be colorful. It can be inspiring. You can choose it to be anything you like. Therefore, your personal Opus is really about taking your life and creating the most incredible and awesome legacy that is within you—that’s how your goals become reality.

So how exactly do you create an Opus or long-lasting legacy? While many people may believe that creating an Opus is about reaching big and monumental milestones and goals, it’s really nothing more than a combination of small and great achievements along the way. When you consistently do little things that advance you toward your goals, you are working from an achievement process and are creating your own personal Opus.

Unfortunately, after outlining what they want in life, people often feel stuck. They know what they want to achieve, but they lack the insight on what to do next—on how to create real performance. The following steps will help you past this stumbling block.

1. Start with a vision of where you want to go: Your vision of your goal needs to be clear and precise. You also need to understand why you want it. Why is this goal important to you? These motivating factors in terms of the value you attach to your goals will help you in your pursuit of them. Part of this vision is to make a definite and committed decision that you’re ultimately going to achieve what you’ve outlined for yourself. You must believe that your goals are not just whimsical dreams—they’re determined decisions that you’re going to contribute your efforts toward to ultimately create your Opus.

2. Have a belief in yourself that you can really do it: If you don’t truly believe you can achieve your goals, you’ll prove yourself right—you won’t achieve them. That’s why your belief in your ability to achieve your goals has to resonate throughout the entire goal achievement process. Never let go of your belief in your ability to create an Opus. Stay committed and always know that you are on your way there.

3. Build a solid plan: Your goal achievement plan begins with surrounding yourself with people who have been where you want to go or who are currently going there right now. These people could be mentors or coaches, or just people you feel comfortable asking questions of. As you talk with these people and get their insights, remember that this is your personal journey. There are things that your mentors, coaches or other people may have experienced that will not be important or applicable to you. Therefore, you need to personalize the information they give you and analyze the answers to see how they fit into what you’re doing. You don’t want to simply repeat what they’ve done; you want to create your own unique Opus.

4. Take notice of everything: As you start with small steps, your probability of success will increase. All of sudden, steps will appear that you’ll have to accomplish, work will come in that you’ll have to complete, and actions will become evident that you’ll have to take. You’ll feel as if you’re being “pointed” toward the path of goal attainment. As you go through the tasks and steps, you’ll be able to see if your actions are successfully contributing toward your goals or if they need to be fine tuned. For example, sometimes you’ll take an action, and by doing so you’ll better understand something you need to know to complete the process, although the action itself didn’t contribute to your goals in the originally planned way. That’s OK. Everything is important as long as you learn from it. Sometimes a part of your plan is just learning what the next best steps are.

5. Take the correct actions that will yield the best results: Many people say that the final step to achieving any goal is to simply take action and do it. In reality, you need performance, not action, to create a real Opus. Many people today think they’re taking action but they’re not really getting anywhere. For example, you may know a business person who is always on the phone or at the office working hard, yet the person never advances. He or she is taking action, but it’s not the right action—the action isn’t contributing to the person’s overall goals. Real performance is calculated action to a particular end. That’s why the last step is to take the correct actions that will get you to that final destination in the most effective way. This doesn’t always mean the quickest way, because sometimes taking the longer route will give you a bigger payoff at the end. And that’s what creating your Opus is all about—the biggest payoff for yourself and others.

A Symphony of One : Remember, your Opus is not just what you do; it will be the legacy of what you become. That’s why a substantial part of creating your Opus is to focus on the legacy you’re leaving, not just individual goal achievements. You also need to focus on your contributions—what you give back to society, to your family, or to the people around you. Why is this important? Because your legacy and your success are your marks on the world, and your Opus will be filled with contributions of whom you became.

The next time you think of a goal for yourself, think beyond the actual event or task. Remember that any goal is really just a small step along the way toward your life’s Opus. Having this mindset from the beginning makes it possible for you to attain bigger and better things, and to create an Opus the world will want to know about.

Read other articles and learn more about Douglas Vermeeren.

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