Another key factor is successful people know exactly how far they have left to go. Someone is constantly checking their progress. When we go back to the example of the person who was trying to lose 5 pounds in 30 days, that’s something that they can track over a period of time and they can project forward to know whether or not they’re either on track or off-track and maybe there needs to be some kind of course correction to help them reach their goal.

If your goal isn’t specific enough, you’re not going to know whether or not you’ve reached it and you’re not going to be able to evaluate whether or not you are on track to reach that point. So in terms of trying to encourage a safer behavior or for someone wearing a personal protective equipment on the farm, you’re going to want to start tracking that and ensuring that if someone is not wearing their PPE, that you’re reminding them and that you’re tracking that to ensure that that is improving. Because what you want to do is you want to get to the point where everyone is wearing their required equipment. A key factor in doing that is tracking how successful you are with what you are currently doing. If you’re not setting a specific goal that you can track and maintain on feedback, then you won’t be able know where you are. So a good example of this is just a simple checklist or writing names down in a book of people successfully doing the behavior so you can see over time that that’s improving.


Setting goals is the first step in turning the invinsible into the visible.  Photo credit:

This is something that I found extremely surprising and it goes in contrast with a lot of material that is out there that focuses on just thinking happy positive thoughts and that this whole idea will draw in success towards you. From Heidi’s research and her insight with interviewing people and looking at the results, what it actually is a more realistic set of ideas is to be a realistic optimist. You realize that it’s going to be hard but you think in terms of that it is possible for you to achieve it. When you are more realistic, what you’re going to do is you are going to take more steps to ensure that it’s going to require some effort on your part. It’s not enough for you to just purely think positive thoughts and have something drift down from the sky and have a positive experience or that it’s going to turn out exactly the way you expect it. It’s going to be a challenge and the bigger your goal, the more challenging it is. You are going to need to take steps to ensure that you are going to be as successful as possible. If someone is trying to lose weight and they have a goal of losing 5 pounds in 30 days, they have the idea that they are extremely enthusiastic and positive that they are going to succeed this time and they are so positive they feel that that will be enough to outweigh everything else that’s going to happen in their life that can potentially try to sidetrack that goal. Unfortunately, what happens is things come up, things happen. Your goal can get sidetracked. There can be a lot of things going on that will prevent you from completing that goal.

Someone who is more of a realistic optimist will think in terms of instead of ‘I’m going to that party and I’m just not going to eat any cake’, they are going to go to the party and bring some of their own treats. They are going to bring substitutions because they can’t know for sure whether or not someone else is going to provide healthy alternatives that they would be willing to eat. If they go to the party and the only thing there is junk and they are surrounded by all of the other people eating junk, all of those triggers becomes extremely overwhelming and positive thinking alone will not just be enough to ensure that you’re going to have success. Bring your own snacks. Bring alternatives. Have a backup plan. Plan A is not always going to work out exactly the way you expect it regardless of how positive you think you are. So have a Plan B, have a Plan C, have a Plan D. The bigger your goal, the more of your backup plans you’re going to need to have in place when things happen that you don’t anticipate and then it will only ensure that you have a better chance of meeting your goal.


Plan A is not always going to work out, Have a backup plan. Photo credit:

Also Read : Heidi’s Book on Nine Things Successful People Do Differently Part 3

Going back to the other previous example. You need to believe that the goal is achievable. You have to be optimistic that it is something that you can do. If you personally do not believe that you will be able to do it, guess what? You won’t be able to do it whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. That was a quote from Henry Ford and it is still valid today. You need to believe that your goal is achievable and part of that is having a goal that is realistic and something that you believe is attainable.

If you have been not exercising and eating poorly and suddenly you set yourself a goal that you’re going to lose a massive amount of weight in 30 days instead of having 5 pounds, you set the goal that you’re going to lose to 50 pounds. What you’re doing is you’re potentially setting yourself up for failure because deep down you might question whether or not that’s actually realistic. 50 pounds over that period of time can be detrimental for your health. There is a whole bunch of other factors going on. It’s probably not a really good idea for you to set yourself that high goal. Plus if you’re tracking that over time and you step on the scale after a week and you have lost 1 pound. Now you’ve lost one week of time and now you are down to 23 days left and you still have to lose 49 pounds. Now it only compounds itself and becomes further more unbelievable that you’re not going to be able to meet your goal.

Caucasian woman's feet standing on scale

Set a realistic goal in losing weight. Photo credit:

In terms of encouraging someone’s behavior, the person that is trying to change their behavior needs to believe that they can actually do it. If someone has the idea that they can never change, that this what they’ve always done and it’s impossible for them to learn something new, it’s going to be extremely challenging for that individual to adopt better behaviors.

So one of things you can do is you can target that belief to ensure and reinforce for that person and for yourself that this is something that’s achievable and it’s something that they can do.