Expert advice on goal setting and achieving your goals.

Achieving Goals Isn’t Just About Hard Work

When it comes to achieving goals, common advice that is given is to work hard. If you read motivational quotes and books, you’ll discover that many of them related to success basically say that if you work hard enough on a goal, you will eventually achieve it. I would say this is true for most goals but for the big ones, hard work alone isn’t enough.

You could be smart and work hard your entire life and still not achieve the things that you desire. Many people have realized this and even advise others to set realistic goals believing that it’s better to aim lower rather than higher. The problem with this thinking is you will be chasing something you think you can get rather than something you actually want.

Here’s the main reason why smart, hard working people can still fail to achieve their goals: They work hard on the wrong things.

Being smart can mean a lot of different things. You could get good grades in school and be considered smart. You could have a great memory and be considered smart. You could be a quick learner and be considered smart. Because there are different ways to be smart, you could be smart at the wrong things and as a result, end up failing to achieve your goals.

We all know people who may not be considered smart in the traditional sense and yet end up very successful in life. When it comes to achieving big goals, the smart ones are the people who can figure out what works and what doesn’t work and put their time into what works. In other words, instead of just working hard, you need to also work smart.

Just because you put in long hours at the office doesn’t mean you’ll go far. Depending on your goal, you may have to find people who are successful at what you want to do, interview them, and find out what the crucial elements in achieving the goals you want to achieve are. You may have to hire a coach or become analytic and measure everything you do. You may have to become an expert at networking in order to get your foot into doors that you would never get into with just hard work alone.

If you know people who are smart and hard working but still fail at achieving their goals, it’s a pretty safe bet that the reason for their failure is that they’re doing it wrong. If you fail at achieving a goal other people are able to achieve, then it’s very likely that they’re doing something you’re not. The smart person is the one who will realize what’s missing in their plan of action and get it fixed instead of just merely working harder like most people do.

In order to increase your chances of success at achieving your goals, take notice of the results you’re getting from your hard work. Hard work is the foundation of success but you’ll need to always be looking for more efficient ways to do things. You will also need to be open to completely changing your original strategy if necessary.

Here’s the bottom line: Focus on results. More specifically, focus on how you can produce better results with less work. This will mean testing out ideas and measuring the results and changing what’s necessary. To speed things up, find people who are further down the road than you are, study what they’re doing, ask them directly if possible, and apply what you pick up to your current strategy.

Given enough time, even an inefficient plan will eventually produce the results you want but if you want to achieve your big goals in this lifetime, hard work plus correct and efficient strategy is the way to go.
Kevin Ngo is the author of, “Let’s Do This!” and the founder of, a site full of motivational tools such as articles, songs, quotes, stories, and videos to help people get motivated.

-What advice would you add to the ideas above?