How to be Successful in Tough Times

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Have you set your goals for 2015 yet? If you have, how are you progressing with them?

It’s pretty easy to set goals when the sun is shining and you’re on holiday, basking in the memories of drunken Christmas parties and the gourmet food and wine that you had on Christmas day and beyond. The crux comes when you return to the hard yakka of work.

Even more so when things go seriously wrong and that holiday glow that felt alive and real and beautiful one week ago vanishes overnight. It is if it was never there in the first place. And life feels HARD and crappy just like it used to and you think ‘stuff it! ‘

The great news is, It IS possible to be successful when life is hard and challenging.

This week I interviewed my good friend Anton to find  out how he successfully achieved one of his major goals last year even though life in 2014 was really tough.

Anton, what was the goal you wanted to achieve?

To complete a Masters degree and have my research accepted for
publication in an international health journal.

Why was it important for you to achieve this goal?

In order to progress my career in public health, and to achieve
credibility in my field, I made it a goal to become a published author
by the end of the year.

What were the things you put in place to ensure you reached your goal?

Many goal setting seminars and books talk about writing your goals down. So I did that. Not once, but many times, using my diary to plan out my time.

Because of my passion for my field of interest, I also constantly talked about my goal with everyone I met, until I found that people were relating to me as a published author. Friends would ask, “so how’s your publication going?”

What was the biggest challenges you faced in accomplishing your goal?

I experienced many unforeseen personal challenges, as my elderly mother was diagnosed with cancer and became terminally ill during this period. This introduced a significant degree of stress into my daily life, as I became a prime carer in addition to working in a full time
job, and continuing my writing on the side.

How did you overcome those challenges? Were there specific people that you turned to or books that you read?

Well, I reached a point where I “hit the wall” and couldn’t think clearly, even when I had allocated blocks of time to write without distractions. I felt like I was getting behind in my work, and decided that I needed help.

My circle of friends were a great support during this time. Also, I recognised that I needed some new strategies, especially in regard to time management. I found encouragement and practical ideas in a great little book called “Eat that frog” by Brian Tracy. For example, rather than writing a list of 20 things to do in one day, I took up the challenge of writing down just 6 things of greatest priority to do that day. Even if I only managed to finish four or five items I felt great. It was fantastic to be able to tick off things as I accomplished them.

What was the biggest thing that your mother taught you?

She faced her illness as she faced her life.  Getting on with the job and not complaining.

How does feel to know that you exceeded the expectations of the people around you and that you pushed through the tough times and reached your goal?

Since my article was accepted and published, the online version has received over 2000 independent views in a very short time. This is way more than I expected. Many of my friends who witnessed me get the job done have expressed their acknowledgement of the effort required to get published, let alone with added personal stress and family responsibilities.

How has going through these tough times changed you?

It has made me tough as nails. It didn’t last forever, and now that I’m through that period of my life, I definitely feel equipped to handle any other challenge that comes my way.

What advice would you give to a someone going through a tough time?

As I’ve heard it said, “If you’re going through hell, then
don’t stop there, keep going.”

What’s  next for Anton in 2015?

I aim to build on the success of my first article, and increase my
list of publications to my name.

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